4.0 out of 5


  • Cards
  • Flexible battles
  • Dialogue
  • Enchanting world


  • Battle lengths
  • No touchscreen functionality
  • Farming coins

Switch, PC
Image & Form
Adventure, RPG
File Size (Minimum)
696 MB
Release Date (NA)
Apr 25, 2019
Purchase From

Filed Under

Image & Form’s next SteamWorld installment is all about cards and turn-based strategy. The role-playing game (RPG) still takes place in a post-apocalypse world with steampunk robots but with a medieval twist. While card-based battle mechanics isn’t something new, SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech makes card battles fun and flexible.

Heroes in All Shapes and Forms

SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech takes place long ago before SteamWorld Dig. An ancient hero named Gilgamech took down the Behemoth and buried its heart of evil in the ground. As time passed, Gilgamech mostly forgotten and the world filled with mercenaries and bandits.

One day, the alchemist Copernica and the aspiring Guild Hero Armilly venture into a forest in search of a unique mushroom. After enduring a rough battle out of the forest, finding out the Guild Heroes are missing, and encountering a rebellious group called the Void, Copernica and her team go off to find the missing heroes and end up uncovering more than what they bargained for.

The game’s witty and entertaining dialogue make the adventure of SteamWorld Quest worth stepping into. The game’s hand-drawn world is both enchanting and colorful, and its unique and memorable characters make it difficult to pass up.

Although the game starts at a slow pace, it builds up after a few chapters when more cards and characters become available. Players can get through the main story in around 13 hours. For 100% completion, expect about 25 hours.

SteamWorld Quest

Let’s Duel!

Those who have played card-based battles such as Paper Mario: Color Splash should enjoy the simple but flexible gameplay of SteamWorld Quest. Players can swap their deck of cards per character to aid them in victory. However, it’s best to be acquainted with your cards, as you’ll be swapping them before each chapter and boss battle. In every encounter, you’ll question what to do first: attack, increase defense, or debuff enemies?

Each playable character has a set of cards that can be equipped. Some are based on their characteristics such as Armilly using knight-type attacks and buffs. Copernica, as an alchemist, can use spells such as fire, ice, lightning, etc. Galleo mostly uses healing techniques, fist-type attacks, and water-based attacks. Orik uses a katana to land multiple attacks, use storm attacks, heal, and even switch his mask to alter his stats. Meanwhile, the twin bandits Tarah and Thayne not only use physical attacks but also debuffs and status effects.

Your cards have a specific number on them, indicating the required number of gears needed to use them. In order to gain those gears, you’ll need to either use an enhance card or use character cards that don’t require gears. They may be not as powerful but they are needed if you want to land some of the heftier offensive and defensive moves.

You can place up to three cards per turn, but if you place all three of the character’s cards, you can create a chain that’ll add another turn for that character. For example, if you place three Armilly cards, another Armilly card will automatically be added to the chain of attack. It’s best to create chains as much as possible for that extra turn. This makes battles entertaining, and there’s a real sense of satisfaction when you pull it off, like having a royal flush in-hand. If you run out of gears to use for your cards, players can instead use items, scan enemies, or escape. You do not automatically gain gears in your gear gauge, unfortunately.

Players are allowed to equip a certain amount of cards in their deck for each character. The flexibility to alter your character to become healer-focused or all-offense is available at your will. You can also play it safe and include a mix of offensive and defensive cards in your deck. The choice is yours and yours alone. However, expect lengthy battles depending on your party and your card deck.

SteamWorld Quest

This Feels Familiar

Characters level up like any other RPG as long as they are active in battle. As you travel through each chapter, taking down new enemies will require different strategies. As a result, you’ll be pressured to adjust your card deck and even your character lineup. RPG veterans can understand the emotion of adjusting equipment and skills constantly. However, in SteamWorld Quest, it’s almost every few battles that you’ll need to make adjustments.

Every battle you’ll face requires a different approach. Some enemies will self-destruct in a few turns, while others are just plain annoying and need to be dealt with. It gets worse when enemies can self-heal. If you don’t have the right cards equipped, even standard battles can take up to half an hour or longer.

Thankfully, you’ll uncover new cards and equipment in each chapter you explore. Some are hidden quite well, so be sure to be on the lookout for secrets.

When starting a new chapter (or just re-exploring), you’ll also encounter a merchant who can supply not only equipment, cards, and items but can also enhance your existing cards. Enhancing your cards is not something to dismissed. Like any other RPG, it’s like upgrading your weapon. Enhancing requires materials and money, but improving your character cards can make battles easier.

One major drawback is the need to farm coins. Defeating enemies and finding coins by cutting down obstacles isn’t enough to pay for equipment and cards for all your party members. Sometimes you’ll have to skip the merchant for a couple chapters just to build up your money bag.

SteamWorld Quest

The Possibilities are Endless

If any updates could be made to the game’s mechanics, it would be to utilize the Nintendo Switch’s touchscreen. The possibility of having players use their fingers to swipe the cards to be used in battle or to adjust their card deck can only serve to enhance the experience.

Alas, ‘twas only in a dream.

SteamWorld Quest

To Victory!

SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech is an entertaining card-based RPG that players who enjoy a turn-based challenge should not pass up. Regardless of its lengthy battles, its combat flexibility and enchanting world more than make up for it. So take up the sword and the gear, and save the world!

The game is available for the Nintendo Switch and on PC (Steam). You can also download out SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech wallpapers on our site.

Disclaimer: A digital review copy was provided by Image & Form Games for the Nintendo Switch.

SteamWorld Quest - Gameplay Footage

About Seth Hay - Editor-in-chief / Webmaster

When Seth is not designing or developing, he spends time with his family and his occasional dose of anime, sports and video games.

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