SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech is a fascinating game that draws on elements from the action and adventure, deck building, and RPG genres of gaming. This is the sixth installment in the SteamWorld series. The player will follow the story of Armilly, a hero in training that wants to prove herself to the Guild of Heroes. Armilly will meet several companions along her journey to unravel the mysteries of why this dark army, named the Void, captured all the heroes from the guild, and what an adventure it will become.
Following along with the game’s instruction and tutorial is a breeze. The initial attack cards are basic and easy to understand skills that give the player a chance to become comfortable with the process of drawing cards, redrawing, using items, and attacking in turn. As the story progresses and more complicated cards are introduced the information is provided in a way that only becomes a little overwhelming. An opportunity to practice the freshly acquired skill is immediately given, and application brings clarity. Setting up the party to best combine their unique abilities will be up to the player to decide for what fits their playstyle best. As is typical of many RPG games, always take the opportunity to gain more experience.
When choosing a card the player will also decide which ally or enemy to use the skill on. While it’s recommended to play any deck building game with a fair amount of strategy, even someone who prefers a straightforward approach can succeed at Hand of Gilgamech. The cards offer elemental and physical damage increase, boosts for the entire party’s attack or defense, and the ability to poison or weaken enemies. If using an attack and the enemy dies before that card comes up, the game will choose a different enemy to attack. Difficult to say if that choice is random or somehow calculated.
Character movement and combat are controlled with either mouse and/or keyboard. My personal style of playing video games often had me combining mouse and keyboard, but ultimately keyboard only was the most comfortable. WASD moves the character around and enter, or space, swings Armilly’s sword outside of combat. Taking a tactical swing while sneaking up behind enemies or from directly in front gives the player an advantage in the turn-based battle by decreasing each opponent’s health. Only one character can be seen while traversing the map and I discovered, by chance, that ‘Q’ changes which one is on screen. Finally, using the mouse to select cards during combat was easier than navigating with the keyboard.
Steamworld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech does not rely on impressive graphics and realism to be phenomenal. Rather than hi-definition graphics, this game uses a unique art style. The characters are all different types of robots and use repetitive movements during dialogue to show expression. Each map zone felt like the art of a story book that’s magically come to life. Cutscenes are able to be skipped, which is great because in Hand of Gilgamech the player can go back to previous chapters to grab any loot that was missed, and to 100% the map. Skipping is also handy when needing a second try at a boss. While it would have been nice and might have deepened story immersion, the game was exciting and fun without any voice acting. The characters are given a distinct effect during their dialogue that hints at the sound of their voice.
Steamworld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech is enjoyable for gamers looking for adventure, RPG, or deck-building fun that is coupled with an interesting story about dragons, heroes, and magic. This game has been extremely difficult to put down because the plot only grows thicker by the chapter, and the battles more intense.