One of Steam's best-reviewed games gets a surprise open world sequel, and it's a plunder-em-up built around rickety pirate robots

SteamWorld Heist 2 announcement screenshots
(Image credit: Thunderful)

SteamWorld Heist 2, sequel to Image and Form's 2016 sci-fi strategy game about bouncing bullets into rickety robots, is coming to PC on August 8th.

The surprise follow-up announced during the recent Nintendo Direct, and switches out the original's motley crew of space pirates for regular, water-based pirates. Assuming the role of the roguish Captain Leeway, you'll assemble your own crew of bionic buccaneers as you explore a Caribbean-like ocean called the Great Sea.

The setting also forms what appears to be the game's main new feature, an open-ended overworld (or oversea) that you can sail freely around in a mechanical craft, searching for loot and getting into scrapes with other vessels in real-time naval combat. This looks fairly simplistic compared to the game's turn-based combat, although the reveal trailer only provides the tiniest glimpse of the sequel's seaborne encounters.

Either way, the main focus remains on the series' distinctive turn-based battles, where you manually aim your crew's weapons to ricochet projectiles off walls and objects. It isn't just bullets you'll be bouncing either. The reveal trailer shows your crew pulling trick-shots with grenades, laser bolts, and even electrical charges. This is apparently just a taste of what the full game will offer, with the game's webpage boasting "over 150 guns, utility items, and ship equipment" that players will be able to tinker with.

The original SteamWorld Heist is generally regarded as the high point in the SteamWorld series, with an 'Overwhelmingly positive' rating on Steam out of nearly 2,500 reviews.

The series also also includes the platforming-focussed (and similarly excellent) SteamWorld Dig, and last year's city-builder SteamWorld Build. The latter was developed by a different team than the previous games, and represented a slight dip in its hitherto consistent levels of quality. "Its central genre mash-up concept is a great one, but it doesn't feel as innovative and gleefully experimental as Image & Form's entries," wrote Robin in his review. "Though it's very pleasant and in some ways quite clever, Build is the first SteamWorld game that I can't give an unreserved recommendation."

The trailer states that SteamWorld Heist 2 is "from the creators" of the original, though they're now working under the name Thunderful Development. According to the SteamWorld website, there will be "plenty more news and insights to share" between now and when the game releases in August.