They’ve tackled the Metroidvania genre with the decent SteamWorld Dig, took things in a whole new direction with the excellent turn-based tactical shooter SteamWorld Heist, realised they could make an even better Metroidvania with the amazing SteamWorld Dig 2, and now the guys at Image & Form have a whole new Quest - this time, they've dealt a new deck with their first RPG.
Like previous games in the SteamWorld universe, it has a lot of charm and a variety of interesting looking witty characters. The RPG side of the game is pretty straightforward - explore, battle, acquire new items... The story is fairly linear and doesn’t have anything like side quests, which is slightly disappointing but keeps the game under 20 hours, which is a lot less off putting for newcomers.
Where the game shines is in its battle system. It's a similar take to a normal JRPG; a three person party-based battle system, pick a move for each character, execute said move, use potions etc. However, instead of just being able to pick any move, you’ve got a hand of cards that contains six moves. You have the option of discarding two back into your deck, on top of playing three. Some cards are special attacks that require enough cogs to be able to use them, which are obtained by playing more basic moves. Hit three cards in a row all from the same character and you’ll launch a special extra powerful fourth card.
Outside of the battles themselves, there’s enjoyment to be had in building your deck and obtaining new cards for it. The low deck limit of eight cards per character keeps deck-building accessible but, as you acquire more cards to choose from, there’s a lot of depth to planning out how your characters' abilities and their cards can best gel together
Battles can become repetitive, as really you’re just testing out your decks on lower level enemies and waiting for that next awesome boss fight. Holding down RZ speeds the action up though, making grinding levels less of a chore.
SteamWorld Quest is a very accessible card-based RPG - Image and Form have once again proved they are the masters of all trades. Even if you’ve previously been off put by the thought of a JRPG or card game, this might just change your mind on the genre entirely.
STEAMWORLD QUEST / DEVELOPER: IMAGE & FORM / PUBLISHER: THUNDERFUL PUBLISHING / PLATFORM: SWITCH / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW