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3DS  header logo

 3DS PREVIEW

GDC 2015: Hands-on with SteamWorld Heist - a turn-based tactics game, set 100s of years after SteamWorld Dig

I dig it

Product: SteamWorld Heist | Publisher: Image & Form | Genre: Adventure, Platform, Puzzle
For: 3DS   Also on: PS Vita
 
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SteamWorld Heist has very little in common with SteamWorld Dig.

The first game was an explorative platformer set in a dusty a Western outpost, inspired by games like Metroid and Dig Dug. This new 'un is set in space, and is a turn-based tactics game that looks to XCOM for influence.

See what I mean? Image & Form says that there are some connections - the game takes place a few hundred years after Dig, following some bad stuff that forced the Steambots into space - but for the most part this is completely new.

01

It's side-scrolling, which is a little odd for a tactics game. You move the left analogue stick to pick a new position for your current hero - you can move a certain distance and then stop to shoot - or walk a little further but yield your ability to enter combat

And when you go to shoot you have to physically aim your character's gun with the analogue stick which is, again, a little odd. But it works, as you try to go for head shots (or hat shots) and avoid obstacles like barrels and walls.

Some guns have laser sights which help you see the trajectory of your bullets - even as they bounce off of walls and floors - but those without scopes deal more damage.

02

The mission I played was a feisty, fast-paced assault where two characters - Piper and Sea Bass - try to charge through rooms of enemy grunts, snipers, turrets, and bosses. I succeeded by considering careful placement, flanking, and those good old fashioned explosive barrels.

Eventually I added a third member to my team - a big mechanical fish man with a wildly inaccurate Uzi - but he died. Image & Form says that Heist won't have permadeath like XCOM.

There are other types of missions to go on, and you'll also spend time recruiting other bots to join your squad between missions, by visiting intergalactic saloons. There are different classes with different weapons and abilities - like an engineer who can repair shortcuts in levels.

03

SteamWorld Heist might not look or play much like Dig, but it clearly shares that first game's high quality, and is another interesting twist on some familiar genres. It might not appeal to every Dig fan - this a slower, more cerebral game - but it's well worth checking out.

The game's coming to pretty much every platform - including 3DS, Vita, and mobile - in the summer. Nintendo platforms will likely get it first, as happened with SteamWorld Dig.
 

Reviewer photo
Mark Brown 5 March 2015
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