SteamWorld Heist II Preview - Time to Plunder

More SteamWorld? Nice. Check out our thoughts on SteamWorld Heist II from Summer Game Fest!

Published: June 26, 2024 10:00 AM /

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Preview header image for SteamWorld Heist II

SteamWorld is host to a myriad of titles spanning across multiple genres. You have the base-building sim SteamWorld Build, or even the turn-based RPG SteamWorld Quest. As a tactics fan, my personal favorite of the ever-expanding series is SteamWorld Heist, and to see that it's getting an upcoming sequel? I'm all in.

We got a chance to check out SteamWorld Heist II during Summer Game Fest, as well as some extra hands-on time after the show. The early portion of SteamWorld Heist II should serve as a great sequel for fans of the first game, but also a fantastic starting point for anyone that likes tactics or pirates.

A cutscene from the beginning of SteamWorld Heist II.

A Pirates Life for SteamWorld Heist II

SteamWorld Heist II trades the science fiction, space pirate theme from the first game in for a high seas adventure. Rather than boarding space vessels and seizing loot, you have your very own submarine, the method by which you'll attack ships, plunder booty, and infiltrate strongholds and pirate dens.

The setting is a somewhat jarring departure from the first game, though the core gameplay loop should still be familiar for fans of the first game. SteamWorld Heist II is a tactical strategy game at its core, and maneuvering units and planning ahead is all part of the fun.

Missions usually task players with achieving a certain objective, like seizing all the loot at an outpost. To do so, you'll add members of your crew to missions and go forth. In SteamWorld Heist II, units have their own class, weapon types, and more. Those can later be mixed and matched to make optimal builds, so there's already some depth to the mechanics outside of combat.

A look at the gameplay from SteamWorld Heist II.

One of the ways in which this particular series has set itself apart is with the aiming system -- you're primarily using weapons to dispatch naval robots. The bullet ricochet system is back again, so you can defy physics by having bullets bounce in wild ways to hit enemies that might appear out of reach, but in fact are vulnerable to your guns.

It's been nearly 8 years since I played the original, but combat feels relatively unchanged. That's a good thing, since the core gameplay was very addicting and simple to get the hang of. Of course, pulling off insane shots with the ricochets never grew dull, and you'll find that's the case in SteamWorld Heist II as well.

A look at upgrades from SteamWorld Heist II.

Pilot Your Own Ship

Outside of combat, the most immediate difference between this and the original is the submarine. Players commandeer their own ship and use it to explore a rather vast open world. The world, comprising mostly water and islands scattered throughout, are infested with outposts and enemy vessels you can loot.

It's a simple vehicle to control, but very addicting to use. The submarine is equipped with various weapons like turrets and torpedoes. These weapons fire automatically in fixed directions, but you need to position your ship often when an armament needs to be reloaded.

A look at the overworld gameplay from SteamWorld Heist II.

You're able to collect any loot from these ships and use it to buy upgrades for a wide variety of things. There's also a system in place where players accrue bounty points based on what they achieve in a day. Those bounties can be exchanged for rewards at the end of the day, so you're constantly getting rewarded.

The whole overworld is seamless, and as I mentioned, the combat retains its old charm. SteamWorld's been a hallmark for quality indie games for over a decade now, and it's encouraging to see that SteamWorld Heist II is upholding that legacy thus far.

SteamWorld Heist II was previewed after about 30 minutes of gameplay at Summer Game Fest, and 4 hours with a key provided by the publisher - all screenshots were taken during the preview process.

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| Staff Writer

Austin cut his teeth writing various  fan-fiction stories on the RuneScape forums when he was in elementary school. Later on, he developed a deep love for… More about Austin