Game Review: SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition (Switch)

Game Review: SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition (Switch)

The creators of the amazing SteamWorld series have cobbled together a strategy game with a few twists. That strategy game is none other than SteamWorld Heist, which has be revved up into an Ultimate Edition on Nintendo Switch.

Let’s take a look at how SteamWorld Heist is like!

If you’ve played strategy games such as Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, or even Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, SteamWorld Heist would immediately feel right at home. SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition is a turn based game where you maneuver space pirates in two dimensional spaceships to shoot the hell out of other pirates.

If you’ve played SteamWorld Dig 2, you’re in for a treat as the events in SteamWorld Heist take place around 100 years after what happened in SteamWorld Dig 2. There’s some continuity from SteamWorld Dig 2 but don’t expect any major characters to reappear except for one or two. Don’t expect any digging or mining either as SteamWorld Heist is a pure turn based strategy game.

The Ultimate Edition includes previously released “The Outsider DLC” in the full package, which adds extra missions, an extra playable character, and New Game Plus, carrying over the crew you’ve recruited and aesthetic hats unlocked to a tougher version of the game.

On Nintendo Switch, players get the best of both worlds as SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition supports both button controls and touchscreen controls. Both control schemes work well (touchscreen controls are the same as the mobile versions), but touchscreen controls provide extra accuracy for targeting enemies which button controls do not provide.

The game contains dozens of missions that last between 10 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the map and its difficulty. You can even adjust the difficulty of every mission to your liking. Each mission will pit your rag tag team of space pirates against a colorful range of enemies with the help of guns and pulling off melee punches. Defeating every single enemy isn’t the real goal of SteamWorld Heist though.

As the word “Heist” implies in the game’s very own title, to get the perfect ranking, water (the game’s currency) and other weapons you may need, you need to raid the ship of all of its treasures and get your team out to safety. You’ll have all the time in the world to plan how to move your crew into strategic positions.

If you move them into tiles highlighted in orange, you can proceed to attack another enemy, shoot mini nukes, or heal other team members. Need them to head to another location quickly? Move them into tiles highlighted in blue, but they couldn’t perform a second action in the same turn. Make sure they have some protection from incoming fire by using barriers and the floor as cover.

Unlike most strategy games, there’s no such thing as RNG or luck in SteamWorld Heist. You’ll be able to view the HP enemy units have, the firepower of your weapons, and aim in all directions. Leave nothing to luck but to skill. Certain weapons have laser sight, a way show where your projectiles will land. Having trouble figuring out where to fire enemies? In Handheld Mode, you can tap the location of the enemy to shoot with precision.

Similar to other strategy games, you’ll have a team at your disposal. As your reputation increases, you can recruit more space pirates to join the fight. Each character has their own class which gives them access to different weapon classes. At the end of a mission the characters that have successfully made it out alive will gain experience. Those that don’t will be reassembled, but as a penalty they won’t receive any experience.

By receiving experience, your crew of space pirates can level up and become stronger. They will receive an increase in their stats (speed, firepower, melee, defense, health, etc) or a new ability (gain an additional free action, invincibility for one turn, etc). Of course, you can always replay stages you’ve completed to grind your characters up to level 10.

What makes SteamWorld Heist stand out among the crowd is its 
procedurally generated levels. What that means is if you play the same mission three times, every single time the map’s layout, enemy placement, and other elements will change. As far as we can tell even though the levels are generated on the go, things flow really well and the gist of the mission remains the same (objectives, the type of enemies that appear, number of treasures, etc).

There are a few challenging boss fights in the game which really test the limits of what your team is able to endure. You’ll have to throw everything you have learned in the game at these bosses.

When it comes to the game’s art and graphics, you can expect the same SteamWorld aesthetic and style that has made the series what it is today. The game may be taking place in space but the different spaceships piloted by different groups will look lively, vibrant, and perhaps even cold. Characters, enemies, and other effects have fluid animations. No sign of frame rate drops or anything – the game looks beautiful on both handheld and TV.

The talented musicians at Steam Powered Giraffe have done the soundtrack for SteamWorld Heist, so your ears are guaranteed to have a fantastic time listening to how music should be like in space. That includes the robots representing Steam Powered Giraffe performing and singing in one of the many bars and rest stops in SteamWorld Heist.

Making the game’s atmosphere more cow-bot like are none other than the game’s immersive wild west style cutscenes, with its brown and grainy still frames and 19th century style narration.


SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition is the definitive version of the original SteamWorld Heist released in 2015. Players get every single DLC released to date, and touchscreen controls which aren’t included in past console versions. The Ultimate Edition still maintains its charm with its unique take on shooting and strategy, art style, and humor.

SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition is a gem that should be added to your library, whether or not you love strategy games. It’s a great way to end the year after an exciting year with Nintendo Switch. If you’ve played it before, it wouldn’t hurt to double dip and experience it again on Switch.

At the end of the 15 or so hours you would probably ask yourself, “Is that really it? I need more!” And now I’m really hungry for more.

The Good:

  • Fun to play strategy shooting game
  • Great soundtrack
  • Beautiful SteamWorld graphics
  • Touchscreen controls

The Bad:

  • Makes you hungry for more!

Soup Verdict: Best tasting soup in space!


A review code was provided by Image & Form for the purposes of this review.