25 people found this review helpful
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 6.0 hrs on record
Posted: Jun 14, 2019 @ 12:16pm
Product received for free

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SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech is a beautiful RPG with turn-based card battles that has a very linear plot. In addition, there seems to be no randomness at all here. Not much is left up to chance or player options, other than the restricted deck-building aspect of the game. Even the leveling-up of characters is completely restricted to the progression of the story. This completely linear formula is what will keep the player going forward from beginning to end, but definitely will be rather unappealing to some people.

The story is written well and is rather funny; the artwork is absolutely stunning, and the music is very well composed as well. The deck-building mechanics and battles are mostly resembling of what is already out there, though there are certain degrees of variability to make it stand out, and really shine. You may have to grind a bit in order to unlock all of the available cards for each character, as well as obtain the appropriate upgrades as allowed by the invisible bottlenecks found within the game, should you grind a bit too much.

It is so lovely to see the many in-game references to other games as well, likely those others that influenced certain story ideas, styles, or gameplay for this game. They do a pretty good job at giving credit to other outside sources.

Card Game Mechanics
Boiling down to the basics, your entire deck is made up of 8 cards from each character, and you typically would draw 6 cards for your hand and be able to play 3 cards per turn. The cards will either accumulate Steam for you or they will use up Steam, which is reset for each battle. This is a charge system that allows you to play some more powerful cards once you have the accumulation of credits. There are bonuses that you can do to be able to draw more cards or to play more cards.

The most dynamic nature is the deck-building, due to the severe restrictions of number of cards from each character, when they have so many more to choose from. You will be able to unlock more cards for each character in the game as you progress, because you will find them in chests or you will craft them in the shop. The grinding happens usually when you are short on certain materials or money needed to craft cards, or when you need more money to purchase equipment. In addition, you will be able to upgrade cards like you craft new ones as well.

RPG Elements
At the foreground, there is a storybook linear progression with heroes, villains, and advancements. Your heroes will keep moving forward in pursuit of justice, or just a whim, and in their adventures, they will become stronger. They will accumulate more battle scars that harden into experience, levels, more HP, Strength, Magic, etc. They will come across equipment through looting chests or purchasing from shops, and the cards available will become more dynamic. They will have individualized special abilities for themselves and to help each other out. There are elemental strengths and weaknesses that allow the players to better choose the gear and cards to take into specific battles.

Even though you can skip story parts at any time, I definitely recommend that you actually pay attention.

At the end of each chapter, you will get a percentage completion rating for that chapter, so if you do not accomplish 100%, that means you left something behind. You can always return to an earlier chapter and replay the chapter and try to find whatever it had been that you missed. You will find that the dialogue skipping functionality to be rather useful in this case.

Difficulty
Everything is so regimented, that if you were to learn the cards, your enemies, and your own characters, nothing is really all that tough. There's the grinding as previously mentioned in order to complete your crafting/upgrading/purchasing, but you are not really grinding out any levels, because there is a soft level cap in each chapter that make subsequent battles worth little to no experience for your party.

The balance is there, and the game is made to be rather interesting. I think of the 3 difficulties, the middle difficulty labeled as "Knight" is designed to suitable for most players and I will agree with that. There is an easier difficulty and one that's a bit more difficult. I imagine that the difficulties have to do with the degree of and percentage of "smart" decisions by enemy AI depending on the situations that they are in. I did not check this out extensively, but the middle/normal/Knight difficulty seems to be pretty good. You can always switch among the difficulty settings at any point in-game.

Controls
Mouse only is fine, keyboard works with plenty of shortcut keys that are not necessary. I started playing with the mouse but switched to the controller, which is the best way to play this game, IMHO.

Graphics
Absolutely stunning.

Instead of me telling you about it, you can look at some screenshots or you can look at one of the many videos out there. One of those is mine, as a first-look into the game, and can be found here:

https://youtu.be/Ukao-XgHGoc

Music
Really nice as well. Good sound effects. You can toggle off the non-speech dialogue sounds if they bother you.

Audience
I think this game will appeal to most people, as long as you do not have any preconceived notions of what this game entails. Please keep in mind that there is no open-world exploration, there is no randomness in the items/chapters/map layouts, everything is scripted and the story is very linear.

Pricing
Base price is $24.99 USD, I think it's worth it, given the quality of the game and how much attention and time that must have gone into making this game.

Conclusion
SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech is a lot of fun. Clearly a lot of sweat and effort went into its creation, and it really shows. It's not for everyone, because some people do not want to be led around an entire game, and want to do their own exploring and adventuring off the beaten path. That is just not an option here. What is here is good, is fun, and is worthwhile, though. So definitely look into it whenever you get a chance.

I received the product for free. I did not receive any compensation to write this review. The opinions represented here are entirely my own and were not influenced in any way.
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5 Comments
YQMaoski Jun 16, 2019 @ 7:45am 
Thank you very much!
ready2b Jun 16, 2019 @ 2:01am 
well written review, have a up vote
YQMaoski Jun 14, 2019 @ 4:31pm 
Thank you!
janner66 Jun 14, 2019 @ 4:03pm 
It's not really my type of game but nice review. Voted up.
missiloon Jun 14, 2019 @ 12:34pm 
Amazing game! I also switched to a controller and found that better than m+k or mouse only.