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Hugh Likes Video Games: Steamworld Heist

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Steamworld Heist
Published by Image & Form
Played on PS4/PS VIta

SteamworldH

The Skinny: Take command of a ragtag crew of space pirates in this surprising strategy RPG.

‘Steamworld Heist’ is an unusual choice for a follow up to indie studio Image & Form’s well-received exploratory platformer ‘Steamworld DIg.’ In this installment, the developers take their lighthearted steampunk aesthetic into new directions: Space, and the tactics genre.
The plot centers around Captain Piper Faraday as she rebuilds her crew and goes for scores in The Outskirts. When a gang of outlaws called the Scrappers start menacing innocent bots, Piper steps in to steal from the bandits, and get to the bottom of the strange occurrences in the Outskirts.
The series maintains much of the humor and aesthetic from Dig, and keeps a side-on perspective that makes navigation easy. Each enemy ship is a level, and levels can be replayed for better loot and experience. The combat system actually works very well. Each bot gets a set amount of movement, and can attack or perform unique actions. Shooting requires a steady aim, which adds some skill into the mix. Failure costs gallons, but doesn’t throw off the pace of the game, and isn’t too penalizing. Players can always go back and level up or try for better gear and try again.
With plenty to do and collect, and a well-rounded roster that grows over the course of the game, ‘Steamworld Heist’ is a pleasant and addictive little tactical adventure that does everything right. The game has a good length of about 25 hours. The writing is charming and doesn’t outstay its welcome. It gets my full recommendation.
‘Steamworld Heist’ is available from Steam, or for most Nintendo and Sony consoles.

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Hugh Likes Video Games: Steamworld Dig

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SteamWorld Dig
Image and Form Games
Played on PS Vita
SteamWorldDig
SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt is a quirky indie platformer.  You play as Rusty, a young steam-powered robot called to a tiny frontier town by his miner uncle. The first thing he has to do, however, is solve his mysterious death.  He left Rusty his mine, so the plan is to dig it out, look for clues, and get upgrades from helpful towns-bots on the surface.
SWD is a fun and colorful game with controls that are very easy to pick up.  As you mine valuables and delve deeper, you come across tougher materials and enemies, but gain access to upgrades and better tools.  The balance is nicely tuned to provide a gently sloping difficulty curve.  There are also plenty of hidden areas and secrets to reach once you upgrade your abilities.
The designs are appealing and fun as well.  The post-human wild west setting is delightful and slightly off-putting at the same time, especially when you start running into irradiated survivors in the underground caves.The only major downside to the game is that it is rather short, even for a puzzle-platformer, and the physics puzzles themselves aren’t too taxing.  With only three main sections, The game can be fully cleared in only a few hours.  There have been further games teased in the “Steamworld” line, so hopefully this will only be a teaser of greater things to come.  As it is, “SteamWorld Dig: A fistful of Dirt” is a fantastic platformer for younger gamers, or a worthwhile afternoon distraction for veterans.

“Attack of the Airship Mutants”

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Orson Fractus is a travel writer, advance man, and airship pirate.  He is, of course, the entirely fictional character I am portraying in an ongoing game of Abney Park’s Airship Pirates.  As a globe-trotting journalist, imagine my surprise when he began turning in articles based on his adventures.  In an effort to put more of my writing online for free, I am posting it here.  Will we see more of Orson’s writing as the game goes on?  Only time will tell.
  Special thanks to Chris for serving as GM, and putting up with my shenanigans.

ATTACK OF THE AIRSHIP MUTANTS!

As seen by Orson Fractus

What ho, faithful readers, It is I, your humble narrator Orson Fractus, here with another dispatch from the wild places of the world! And what adventuresome times it has been! The Crimson Lady, having just played a command performance for the Prince of Mount Rain, had left port and were sailing the winds for our next exotic port of call. Our noble captain had retired to his cabin, the hot and damp climate of the city having disagreed with him most severely. The lovely ladies of the ship were likewise disengaged, having earned themselves a rest.

Thus it was that the ship lay in the command of sharp-eyed Percival Flynn, and the helm under the steady automata hand of Mr. Borealis. We were not a day out when we spied a vessel, much like our own (adjective) Tiger-fish, in dire need of our assistance! Gentle readers, I will go on to say that this ship was bearing Imperial markings, but the sailors aboard wore the uniforms of the Merchant Marine, not the air navy, and all good Skyfolk know that mercy trumps borders when it comes to vessels in distress, and we did our duty, and the law of the skies, in coming to the ship’s aid.

But it was, of course a devious Imperial trap! No sooner had approached the hobbled vessel than a dozen grapnels fired from the ship’s interior, and a hive of soldiers swarmed the decks! Oh, what shock and horror we felt when we saw the depths to which those wretched servants of red-handed Vick would stoop to!

But it gets worse, dear friends, for these were no ordinary rank and file air navy grunts, no! Our eagle eyed sniper and bard, Theo spotted that they were none other than the Emperor’s misbegotten slave troops, the Chuno Ggun! Who can say how the black-hearted ruler came to create these monstrous men? Were they born of the foul poison that passes for food and drink in the Change-Cage Cities? Or were they bred by the mad science of the cages themselves? Braver explorers than I, who have braved those high walls and shadowed streets, may know for certain, but I confess, gentle reader, that I do not.

What I can tell you is that an army of the most frightening monster-men I have ever had the misfortune to lay eyes on began to climb the cables out to our ship. Clever readers may remember I have written a bit about the folk that call themselves ‘Misbegotten’ before. They may recall soft-furred Mink, or our thick-skinned Engineer, Zom. But never have I seen such horrors as this. There were men who scuttled across the lines on crab claws. There were men that had the paws of monkeys for feet and hands. There were even misbegotten who clung to the ropes by means of prehensile tails. Each and every one of them was uglier, meaner, and nastier than the one before, and they were being driven, like animals with a lash, onto our decks to bring carnage and death.

Our noble commander quickly acted to repel boarders, while our pilot took the Lady up to try and shake them loose. Our sniper picked his targets, and the rest of us readied our rifles and mammoth guns to keep them away from our fair ladies. Many of them fell, but even we could not stem their cruel numbers as they poured over the gunwales. We were all soon caught up in hand to hand fighting, Flynn with his cutlass, I with my mighty fists, and even Doctor Chesapeake was attacked by a swarthy little gentlemen whose toxic breath left her gasping for several minutes.

I found myself fighting a giant of a man, nine feet tall if he was an inch, with a second head on his shoulders! Although the brute was prodigiously strong, in this case the old adage proved false, and two heads were not better than one. With a crack on the jaw from my trusty knuckles to each of them, I laid the giant out on the deck, and tossed him over the side. Although the monstrous Imperial Ggun had numbers, and eerie abilities, they were no match for our skill, and we soon had them scuttling back down their lines, more afraid of us than their cruel handlers.

The poorly provisioned and armed Imperials, no longer in control of their beastly troops did not last long, and soon the enemy ship was awash in blood. Soon, they had even dragged their cruel captain out, and rather than face justice at the hands of the mob, he took his one life using a handy supply of grenades.

I shall spare sensitive readers the result of that grisly scene, and the horrors we found below decks, but suffice to say that by the time we secured our own lines and got a team of aboard, there was little our Doctor and her sisters could do. We did manage to find one survivor, a pale, nearly starved boy that the Imperials had kept chained up like an animal. He couldn’t even tell us his own name. Perhaps they had never given him one. We’ve brought him over to the Crimson Lady, and our Rose has seen to fattening him up, maybe for the first time in his life. But what strange stories will our newest crew member be able to tell? Keep reading, dear friends, and maybe we’ll find out together!