Thanks to Thunderful for the review code
Title: Steamworld Quest: Hand of Gilgamesh
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 04/25/2019
In this entry in the Steamworld universe, you must take control of Armilly and her friends, who set out on a great quest to uncover a strange mystery behind missing heroes, a gang of evildoers, and a mysterious group. While the game is filled with lots of character and charm, not unlike Heist, it does go for a bit of a more open focus on the story, even though it won’t exactly blow you away in any earth-shaking manner. Rather, it’s a fun enjoyable tale!
Steamworld Quest follows more closely in the vein of Heist, in that it’s an RPG of sorts, but it looks way, way better than that game and even most of the franchise! The world here is much more colorful than before, and the game feels like something that could very well be found in an old-fashioned book with a fairy tale in it, with each chapter continuing to flesh out this fun world.
The music is also surprisingly good: at first I assumed it was nothing special, continuing to offer decent compositions that go along with the game just fine, ala the other Steamworld games, but then you end up hearing some super great battle themes, along with a few other songs in general: the main boss theme in particular has no right to be as godly as it is, but it really does a damn good job at being iPod worthy! They really upped the ante to give this OST an RPG feel, and they nailed it.
Steamworld Quest offers yet adds new genre to the universe, after dealing with metroidvanias, strategy RPGs, and tower defense games, for you now have a card battler RPG! Each character has their own assortment of cards that let them perform a wide range of attacks, and it’s up to you to guide Armilly and co through each chapter of this adventure.
This RPG takes place via side-view stages, each chapter being its own map with several rooms, filled with enemies, shops, treasure, and more, eventually expanding to include multiple floors to the point that these chapters feel like full-fledged dungeons from other RPGS!
You and your party can walk around the rooms, breaking destructables for materials, cards, and coins, and finding treasure chests and enemies as you make your way to the end of the chapter. Upon engaging with an enemy group, you’ll be drawn into battle, where your deck of cards is used to perform all the attacks and skills you need.
Each party member has their own pool of cards, shuffled into the main deck and drawn into hands. Each card has their own requirement for the amount of gears it’ll take to use it, and these gears will build up if you use cards that require none, such as basic attacks or skills, and the higher the gear count, the stronger the card. These cards are also color-coded to a respective character, and if you manage to pull off a turn with only one color of card, then a bonus effect depending on that character’s equipment will kick into gear, adding the potential for even more damage if you plan out ahead of time!
This ends up making the combat super fun and engaging, bring a bit of strategy to the mix not unlike real life TCG games. even if it isn’t exactly fast paced. Yeah, you can double the speed of the battles, (and you should) but even then I found that battles would take several minutes at a time, though for some odd reason, this didn’t bug me as it would in most other RPGs, mostly due to it feeling so much like an engaging card game that I didn’t care. After all, Yu-Gi-Oh matches can be super long but be engaging every second, and Steamworld Quest’s card combat did that for me in spades, and finding more cards and equipment with handy skills just added to that fun.
Really I couldn’t find much to gripe about besides the slow start and the bit it takes to get cards that’ll make battles more interesting: it isn’t too terribly long, as by ninety minutes in I got some great new equipment and other goodies that made me feel comfortable to give my deck actual variety, and even better, the game autosaves between every screen transition, making this an excellent pick up and play experience! Like with Dig 2, I really do feel bad about taking so long to get to this game in the review period, because it’s a really fun entry that feels like a natural sister game to Heist.
In conclusion, Steamworld Quest is yet another fun entry in the franchise, and while it sadly doesn’t reach the same exciting heights as Dig 2, it’s still a super solid entry in its own right, with a lot of fun combat, amusing dialogue, great characters and very addictive deckbuilding. It may seem a bit convoluted at first, or so far removed from the other steamworld games that it may feel completely alien at first glance, but once you give it a shot and stick by this tale, you’ll really be thankful you started the path to be the king of games!
This is definitely a game I plan to fully 100% complete to the extreme end of everything, like I did with Dig 2, and now I really wish I didn’t have life cripple me right when this game originally launched, as I would have absolutely loved it then just as much as I now do, if only I gave a harder push at that first try.
I give Steamworld Quest an 8 out of 10.