SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech

SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech

July 10, 2019
by murks aka. Sir_Diealotalot

Linux Gaming - SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech
Photo by Image & Form Games
SteamWorld Quest is the fifth entry in the SteamWorld series by Image & Form Games from Gothenburg, Sweden. The last four games have been released for Linux, Mac and Windows on GOG and Steam.

I have tested the Linux version 1.7 from GOG. The SteamWorld games cover a large variety of genres, from tower defense to platformers to turn based tactics. And now there is also a deck-building JRPG.

What ties those games together is they all play in the SteamWorld universe, which is inhabited solely by quirky and lovable steam-powered robots.

In contrast to the previous games, which had a western or space setting, SteamWorld Quest is set in medieval times, including magic, dragons and knights. The story progresses through acts and chapters and is told lightheartedly through the dialogues of the five playable characters, which you pick up over time.

You can play with a party of up to three at a time and switch them out easily as long as you are not in battle. The card based battles are at the heart of the game, whether you like the game or not depends primarily on whether or not you enjoy those.

Each character has his own set of over 20 distinct cards, but you can find or craft more as you progress through the game. You can even upgrade cards to increase their effectiveness!

The deck consists of eight cards per character, you draw six punch cards (get it?) initially, draw three per turn and can redraw two per turn.

In that sense the game is very generous and reduces the impact of randomness. On the other hand, later on this generosity becomes necessary to make complicated combinations possible.

The complexity of the card combat starts low and gradually ramps up to a rather complex system of modifiers and interacting cards that you can try to master in order to build the most effective decks.

As an example, one of my favorites is Gallo's combination of "Chill Out", "Miracle Worker" and "Overcharge", which is not only a fantastic single target heal but also doubles as a devastating lightning attack, followed by his weapons special attack.

It took me about thirty hours of playing it on and off to finish the game, it is really easy to pick up and play for a few minutes. Finishing the optional arena or upgrading all the cards would have taken me another couple of hours, but I didn't see the point in that.

This leads me to one of the few issues of the game, the grind. You could call it a staple of JRPGs, which this game kind of is, but the game could have done with less of it. It is not a showstopper for me, for much of the game it wasn't necessary, but near the end of the game I needed to grind a little to be able to beat the final boss on "Knight" (medium or default) difficulty. Somewhat related, some early boss battles can drag out significantly and thus aren't much fun. But it gets better soon!

On a more technical side the game works well on my Arch Linux system and uses relatively few resources. The only issues I perceived are related to mouse input and I have reported those to the developers. The game switches seamlessly between game pad (tested with XBox 360 wired), keyboard and mouse controls.

Should you get it? If you are a fan of the SteamWorld games it is a no-brainer. Otherwise it primarily depends on whether you like a game centered around card-based combat.

SteamWorld Quest was released for the Nintendo Switch on 2019-04-25 and for Linux, Mac and Windows on GOG and Steam on 2019-05-31.

Official website: Steamworld Quest
Soundtrack: Steamworld Quest

About the Author - murks aka. Sir_Diealotalot

murks is a game developer who also streams on Twitch by the name Sir_Diealotalot. His fans adore his awesome games and charming personality. murks is also an active participant in game jams and often plays game jam games on Twitch. You may also catch him streaming game development or strategy and adventure games.

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