Indie Corner: SteamWorld Heist

The SteamWorld franchise could always count on a huge amount of fans and great reviews. The last one, SteamWorld Dig still is one of the highest rated and most downloaded games in the Nintendo 3DS eShop. Now, Image & Form comes with SteamWorld Heist, a game set in the same universe but with completely different rules. Nu time for digging this time, steady your guns and prepare for an epic adventure in space!

Welcome in space 

It must be said, a lot of things changed during the development of Heist, you were supposed to walk through space and complete several missions, that idea was eventually dropped in favor of a mission map. A lot of gamers were afraid for the outcome but that wasn’t necessary at all. Heist nails its setting and the mission map makes a lot of sense.

The Cowbots (deadly cowboy robots) had to flee earth and found refuge in space. Surviving isn’t that easy for the Cowbots since they need water to survive, water is hard to find of course. By entering the ships of the enemies, you’ll find the loot you’re looking for. Your ship, called Deja Ju attaches itself to other ships so you can eventually enter them. It’s a small thing but this attachment always got us wondering what we’ll find behind the first door. The maps are randomly created so you never really know what to expect. This in combination with a mission map works incredibly well. It offers enough surprises to keep you motivated on your journey.


Besides this, the robots really come to life once more. They all have different personalities. Your party can really change depending on your partner. You’ll meet silent but deadly robots and cheerful clumsy robots. Each robot you’ll face is different and affects the way you enjoy the story a lot. It must be said, Image & Form really nailed this new setting without a doubt.

Steady your guns

A change in setting also means a change in gameplay. Unlike SteamWorld Dig, you’ll get your hands on a lot of guns in Heist. The game plays as a 2D side-scrolling role playing game, if that’s actually a thing. You move your Cowbots with your D-pad and take down enemies with your guns. This sounds rather easy but nothing is as easy as it seems and every move has its consequences.

You’re able to sprint for cover but you’ll need some time to shoot your gun afterwards. If you like taking risks, the sprint option is great to collect some of the loot but be prepared for the enemies. Unlike other games, the AI of the enemies is genius. The enemies seem to adapt to the decisions of the player and have a counter-move in mind even before you can end your turn. The enemies will group together and take down your weakest link in the party without hesitation. You can play the game on several difficulty levels but Heist will remain challenging for rookies and veterans thanks to the smart AI of the enemies.


Taking them down will demand practice since the Cowbots tend to have trouble steadying their guns. You’ll really need to get used to the recoil and reach of your guns before you can successfully take down a squad of enemies. Also note that the game is packed with more than hundred guns and you know you’ll have a lot of fun learning to use them all. We personally favor guns with lasers since they show where our bullet will impact.

Collect gear and level your Cowbot

So combat works as it should and brings something new to the table thanks to the way you move your character and fire your guns. Besides this, it’s also necessary to level your characters. Higher levels mean better abilities and powers. Some powers will give you extra health after each turn while others could increase the damage of your guns. It’s a shame the skill trees aren’t as original as the rest of the game and this results in a rather straightforward skill system. It’s not bad since you meet a lot of different robots and will be able to create your dreamteam eventually, but a little more skills would have even been better.

Leveling your character isn’t the only deeper layer of the game, collecting hats is as well. It sounds crazy but collecting hats is extremely addictive. It doesn’t add anything to the game but it shows your skills. With more than hundred hats to collect, players will have something to keep them entertained for a long time. You gain hats by firing it off the head of an enemy. Most hats are rather common but pay attention for the rare ones since you’ll really want to have those after the match. It’s something small but we enjoyed collecting them anyway.

The good: The bad:
+ Great story and setting – Didn’t collect that rare hat
+ Unique, fun gameplay
+ A lot to collect

Image & Form did it again and created one of the best Nintendo 3DS eShop games in a while. Heist offers a completely different way of playing and it’s the most fun we’ve had with a game the last couple of month. The combination of guns, side scrolling and turn based combat works like a charm. This isn’t a game you need to consider getting, if you like to try something new and amazing, you simply need to try this one.

4.5 out of 5


Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.