Review: SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech (Switch) - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Review: SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech (Switch)

by James Charlton

All Questing, Zero Digging

You have to respect Image and Form Games for their output, SteamWorld Digs 1 and 2, Heist, and now Quest are all different genres of game threaded together with a unified visual style and shared universe.

On the face of it, this has been dubbed as the SteamWorld RPG, however you should know going in that this is not a Final Fantasy style game, in fact outside of levels that go up and weapons that need to be bought and equipped, there is almost no RPG-ness to it all. The closest modern equivalent is Miitopia (the simplified Mii-based adventure RPG game on 3DS), as this game progresses on pretty much a straight 2D line from start to finish.

This can be a blessing if you're someone like me who hates fetch quests and mindless wandering in search of where to go. You will never be stuck on what to do next because you didn't talk to the dog in the village six times with the red cape equipped at night time. No, you will fight enemies, chat with your crew, fight a boss, then move on to the next chapter never to return to the previous area again. You are always being moved forward and pushed into the next fight, right up until you see the end credits roll.

If you assumed the game design would then put a lot of weight on its combat mechanics and story, you'd be right, and it does both pretty well. The story is well written, and occasionally quite funny. The main character, Armilly, tends to narrate the story out loud, much to the annoyance of her teammates. Copernia, the mage of the group is the the more serious of the group, while Galleo is the chubby and adorable frog robot that just wants to go home and eat food.

Now onto the card-based combat, which you may assume to be very divisive and off-putting for many people. The thing is, it's not! As someone with very little history with RPGs and pretty much zero experience with card-based games in general, I really enjoyed the combat a great deal. You are given a selection of cards to choose from, and can take only eight with you into battle. Each of the characters has their own cards and can be anything from sword slashes to fire and ice magic.

Basically look at it as a typical turn-based RPG game, except you can switch out your attacks and magic before every battle. Don't like how a battle went? Remove that ability by switching out the card. Want to use a certain ability more? Add a couple more cards into your deck of the same attack and it'll show up more frequently during combat. It simultaneously streamlines and emphasises strategy, making combat satisfying and rarely monotonous.

If you were at all worried about that aspect, you need not be, it's pretty much the best part of the game and will keep you on your toes and thinking all the way to the end. Take that from a RPG-hater who usually dislikes deep/complex strategy too! One thing I do like about RPGs is the music however, and this game does not disappoint there either. There are great tunes throughout, and I guarantee you won't be turning it down despite hearing the same songs show up during combat.

The only major knock against SteamWorld Quest is that it is pretty much a straight line from start to finish, with only very minor bouts of exploration thrown in from time to time. As long as you're aware of that going in, you won't be disappointed and can just focus on the excellent battle mechanics

Overall SteamWorld Quest is a fantastic package with a lot of content to keep you busy for a while.

Final Score: 8.5

Review code provided by the publisher

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