SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech Game Poster Image
Irresistible steampunk fantasy is in the cards.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The game follows the standard formula of "good vs. evil," with characters coming together to fight a greater threat to their world. There are also common themes of friendship and building relationships with other, even giving and being given a chance when possibly being overlooked or dismissed by others.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most of the characters that players control and recruit tend to be relatively positive characters. Even the more roguish characters are willing to step up and help others, and join the adventure to stop the world from collapsing into darkness.

Ease of Play

The card-based gameplay can take a little while to get used to, especially when players have to spend time editing their party's card deck, equipment, and characters to best suit any given situation. It's not necessarily difficult, but it can be time consuming to find your groove.

Violence

Characters are constantly in combat, though there's never any blood or graphic violence shown. Defeated enemies usually just fall apart and/or vanish from the screen.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

The game's a light-hearted spin-off of the SteamWorld game franchise. Here, things are presented as a fantasy fairy tale story set in the backdrop of the main SteamWorld universe.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech is a fantasy role-playing game/card game hybrid available on Stadia and Nintendo Switch, as well as Windows, Mac, and Linux based computers. It's a spin-off of the popular SteamWorld indie game franchise, bringing the futuristic steampunk series into a more classic fantasy setting. Combat is a core part of the gameplay, though there isn't any blood or graphic scenes of violence. Instead, defeated enemies fall apart and disappear from the screen. The gameplay involves a lot of micromanagement, with players needing to read and understand what the various cards and equipment can do, as well as how they might best work together when fighting.

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What's it about?

STEAMWORLD QUEST: HAND OF GILGAMECH puts a new spin on the SteamWorld universe, bringing the steampunk flavor of the main sci-fi series over to a new tale of magic and fantasy. The story begins with two aspiring adventurers, Armilly and Copernica, on a quest to save their town's water supply. Things quickly spiral through chance and happenstance, and before long, the two heroes-in-training become their world's last hope. Luckily, they won't need to go it alone as they recruit other adventurers to their cause. Each hero uses a small hand of action cards enhanced by their classes and equipment in the game's turn-based combat. With over 100 unique hand-drawn cards to craft and collect, there's no shortage of ways to play.

Is it any good?

One of the more interesting things about the SteamWorld series of games is how its unique style and personality has managed to seamlessly fit itself into multiple genres. For SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech, the series ditches its sci-fi settings and brings the steampunk vibe to a fantasy role-playing adventure, with a touch of card gaming tossed in for good measure. It's an odd combination, but once again, it feels like a natural fit and somehow just works.

Right off the bat, it's hard not to get drawn into SteamWorld Quest, thanks to its presentation. The hand-drawn artwork is gorgeous, injecting life and personality into the characters and into the world as a whole. It creates a fun world that you want to be a part of. It's easy to pick up the basics of the card-based gameplay, but that will only get you so far. And there lies the game's biggest hurdle. To get the most out of the gameplay and combat, you've got to put together the right combinations of characters, equipment, and cards. This means spending a lot of time farming for materials and crafting cards, then testing to see how they might work. Trying to find the right mix you're comfortable with can be a long and drawn out process that interrupts the otherwise smooth flow of the game. Still, when it all comes together and everything clicks, SteamWorld Quest creates an adventure that's easy to lose yourself in.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about strategy in gaming. How do strategic elements in role-playing games compare to the more trigger-happy elements in shooter type games? How can these elements add new layers to the gaming experience?

  • How do some games, books, movies, etc., go about creating entire franchises? Does getting to revisit these worlds in different adventures help to increase their appeal with audiences?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love strategy

Themes & Topics

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