Steamworld Heist 2 First Impressions
Image: Thunderful Development

SteamWorld Heist 2 preview: Sea-faring skullduggery at its finest

A Steambot pirate adventure awaits.

Hot off of the hype for turn-based games, SteamWorld Heist 2 carries the torch of some fantastic strategic turn-based combat with touches of an intriguing comedic story and addictive gameplay. It’s simple enough for anyone new to the genre to understand it, but it’s still rich enough for RPG lovers to fall hard for it. I’ve only played an hour or so of SteamWorld Heist 2, but I can say for certain in this first impressions preview that I will be playing a lot more of it.

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A pirate’s life for me!

Steamworld Heist 2 First Impressions Combat
Screenshot: PC Invasion

SteamWorld Heist 2 offers dozens, if not hundreds, of unique combat scenarios that made me think carefully about every move. It’s not always as simple as aiming my gun directly at the enemy’s head. Ricocheting my bullet off of the surface and into a Steambot’s skull was a thrill.

This distinctive gunfight mechanic coupled with a deep job system that gives me a bevy of skills to play with makes the combat especially addictive. Combat doesn’t only happen between Steambots, but between ships as well. During the first hour, it wasn’t very advanced and I could take down a navy ship in half a second.

Naval Combat
Screenshot: PC Invasion

I’m assuming that naval combat becomes thicker as the game gets harder and I get a ton more ship accessories to attach. Just in the first hour, I got the sense of how things will pan out later in the game. I continuously learned about new jobs and how different playstyles worked. It eased me into its web of systems without making it feel overwhelming. As each level felt isolated from the rest, there was always something new brought to the table with every mission; a new hook to capture my attention.

There are a lot of small yet impactful systems at play here, and they all work in tandem. The gameplay loop hooked me right away: Uncover more ocean, complete a mission, earn swag, spend or use swag, then rest up to continue the cycle the next day. It has yet to get boring and I wonder if this cycle will change at all or if it’ll stay the same throughout the entirety of SteamWorld Heist 2.

A colorful steampunk style

Steamworld Heist 2 First Impressions Cutscene
Screenshot: PC Invasion

The visuals are what first grabbed me, as SteamWorld Heist 2 has an eccentric and vibrant look with a detailed and quirky art style. I adore the cartoony aesthetic, whether it’s the 2D platformer levels while engaging in gunfights or the 3D ship exploration in the overworld.

It’s not just the visuals. The audio was delightful as well. I would sometimes hear a song in the background with real vocals and it felt like a triumphant pirate tune. Each character also stands out on their own, and I was even compelled to talk to some of the people I recruited just to see how distinct each character was.

SteamWorld Heist 2 isn’t a hefty game to run, so my PC could easily run it without any framerate or visual issues. The graphics are sharp and I’ve yet to run into a single bug or issue, which feels rare for a new game release these days.

More ocean to explore

Steamworld Heist 2 First Impressions Jobs
Screenshot: PC Invasion

Although this preview only covers the first hour or so of my time with SteamWorld Heist 2, there’s so much more I want to dive into, both in this preview and in the game itself. With each mission I pass I learn more and more about new mechanics and features I’ve yet to touch, and this turn-based strategy game already hooked me in.

Still, there’s a lot that could happen between now and the end of the game that could change my opinion. Otherwise, I’ve had a great time playing SteamWorld Heist 2 and can’t wait to continue discovering more of the vast map and unlocking more difficult combat missions.

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Anyka Pettigrew
Anyka Pettigrew has been a Staff Writer for PC Invasion since November 2023 and a Contributing Writer since February 2023. She is a Canadian graduate of a Bachelor of Arts degree who has been writing in games journalism for four years. Anyka is an avid guides writer but also enjoys writing anything from news pieces, to reviews, and even opinion pieces. Having a never-ending passion for video games for as long as she can remember got her into a plethora of genres like action adventure, RPGs, horror, survival etc. Some of her favorite franchises are God of War, Persona, The Last of Us, Zelda, and Resident Evil. She also enjoys reading fantasy and sci-fi books, as well as drawing digital art. Anyka also regularly listens to podcasts on gaming news from 'Kinda Funny Games', and 'Play, Watch, Listen'.