Game review: SteamWorld Quest: Hand Of Gilgamech is a robotic RPG

Since the game uses a series of flip-screen 2D screens, not unlike Vanillaware games such as Odin Sphere, exploration is very straightforward and in truth rather dull. The graphics are excellent, and also reminiscent of Vanillaware’s work, with a more detailed, painterly style than previous SteamWorld games. But the layout of the dungeons is so simplistic that, no matter what they look like, trundling around them searching for secrets quickly becomes repetitive.

Card battle game are an acquired taste and if you haven’t enjoyed them in other role-playing games then you’re not likely to here either. Although if you’re new to the concept this is a good place to start… at least at first. There are some unfortunate difficulty spikes that lull you into a false sense of security with ordinary encounters and then suddenly throw much harder battles at you during key story moments.

The boss battles are the worst and it’s unclear whether this is a purposeful attempt to increase the sense of challenge or a failure to balance the difficultly properly, but it can be very dispiriting when up till that point you’ve been breezing through everything. It’s especially problematic because it appears as if the bosses aren’t using the same rules as you, and lesser enemies, when it comes to the more powerful cards – which is a cardinal sin in any game, especially one with a difficultly level as uneven as this.

The battle system is very well thought out and the variety in the characters and their abilities is excellent but SteamWorld never feels quite as refined as the previous games. That’s perhaps a good reason to hope for a sequel, but to be honest we’re happy for them to simply move on and tackle another genre. Having one franchise take on so many different styles of games is a fascinating thing and even when it’s not a complete success the end result is never less than interesting.

SteamWorld Quest: Hand Of Gilgamech

In Short: The weakest of the recent SteamWorld games but still an enjoyable, if rather unfair, mix of role-playing game and card-battler.

Pros: Well-designed and enjoyable combat system, with plenty of variety in abilities and characters. Excellent graphics and fun designs.

Cons: Exploration and dungeon design is very basic, and quickly repetitive. Numerous difficultly spikes and unfair boss battles. Unfunny dialogue.

Score: 6/10

Formats: Nintendo Switch
Price: £22.49
Publisher: Thunderful Publishing
Developer: Image & Form Games
Release Date: 25th April 2019
Age Rating: 12

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