Hooo doggy has it been a great couple of months for ports of awesome games coming to mobile. Driving that point home even further, this week saw the surprise release of Image & Form’s strategy RPG SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech ($6.99) on iOS, and I just can’t get over how at home this title feels on mobile. You may be familiar with the SteamWorld series already by way of SteamWorld Dig 1 or 2, action platformers that (sadly) never made their way to mobile, or SteamWorld Heist, an extremely clever turn-based action game that did make its way to mobile in 2016 and we thought the world of it. Or if you’re really an old-school fan or into wildly obscure video games, maybe you know SteamWorld Tower Defense from the Nintendo DSi.
Well SteamWorld Quest is quite a departure from all those. This is a full blown RPG built in the similar style to the other SteamWorld games but taking place in an entirely new world with new characters, and it tells a story that isn’t directly related to any of the previous SteamWorld games. Like the other games in the series though, the story isn’t the focus. It’s humorous and entertaining to be sure, but the meat and potatoes of any SteamWorld game is its mechanics and game loop, and this is where SteamWorld Quest really shines.
The battle mechanics in SteamWorld Quest are card-based and are similar to something you’d find in Slay the Spire or Night of the Full Moon. Except here I feel like they’re even more polished and refined than any similar games. There’s just that special kind of sauce in the combat that makes you want to battle over and over and over again. And you get to battle a lot, and then collect and upgrade gear, progress your characters and the story, and more. It’s a full-blown RPG with oodles of charm filling in the gaps between some of the most exciting tactical battles you’ll ever have.
If you need a little more, you can read what Shaun thought about the Switch version of SteamWorld Quest in his full review from last year. Like always, Shaun’s thoughts mimic mine in that this certainly isn’t a perfect game, but you can feel the developer’s passion come through and the card-based combat is seriously strong enough to carry the entire game. For less than half the price of other platforms, and for a game that I feel is much better suited to the touchscreen, you can’t really go wrong with SteamWorld Quest on iOS.