SteamWorld Heist is very thematic; there is a strong western vibe to the entire game. It’s like western meets steampunk meets space travel. I just recently watched an old western movie on television and there were parallels between the two. The characters do not actually speak; there are text boxes that appear whenever a character speaks. Even though no actual words are spoken a "beep" and "boop" sound accompanies the speech boxes which is adorable and kind of endearing. Although all of the characters speak in a very stereotypically western way, it isn’t offensive or overdone at all. The game developers seemed to know how far to take the western theme without it becoming too much.
Another major component of the western theme is the music. The music is very relaxing and soothing without putting you to sleep. The music strongly reinforces and adds to the western theme of the game. There is a strong use of guitar and what sounds like a banjo as well. There is a different “action” music that plays when you are in combat or sneaking through an enemy ship looking for loot, but it isn’t the type of action music that gets you over excited or stressed.
There is also a retro feel to SteamWorld Heist, a feeling that the events of the story happened in the past. One could also say that it feels like one of those story serials that played on radios before the time of television. The opening cinematic of the game further reinforces the feel of an old radio serial. The opening cinematic is animated with a voice over that is just like the voices of the radio announcers who used to narrate the serials. In a very dramatic fashion the announcer proceeds to inform the player about Piper Faraday, a robot captain who is simply trying to make a slightly illegal living as a pirate on the wild bot frontier.
We then learn about nefarious bots called Scrappers who attack, rob, and kidnap hard working innocent bots who are trying to make a living by the oil on their metal foreheads. As one might guess, the player begins the story as Piper Faraday, who is just beginning a mission that will soon go off the rails. You travel the galaxy, boarding ships to find resources, and completing missions to gain influence. You will need these resources to buy new weapons and equipment and you will need the influence to recruit new crew mates and be allowed to visit different locations that are leery of allowing a pack of pirates to land.
The characters are done really well in SteamWorld Heist. As previously mentioned, none of the characters speak, so you don’t have the nuances of a character's voice to help you get to know their emotional personality. Despite this, the writing is done well enough to more than make up for the lack of a voice and give us an insight into the thoughts and motivations of all the characters. They also did an excellent job with building an attachment to your character and her squad. I began to care for the characters and I would get upset if one of them died during a mission.
SteamWorld Heist is a challenging turn-based strategy game. The characters are interesting and engaging, and the music is soothing and easy to listen to. The graphics are nicely done and pleasant to look at. SteamWorld Heist is a good challenge for experienced strategy gamers; it may be a bit of a learning curve for newer players. But it is still an excellent game overall, and I would recommend it to anyone.