An incredible XCOM-like strategy game is finally getting a sequel after 9 years - the latest in a criminally slept-on series that's never seen a bad game

SteamWorld Heist 2
(Image credit: Thunderful)

After proving themselves in darn near every genre under the sun, the devs behind the incredible SteamWorld series are finally returning to the format of their fantastic XCOM-style strategy game with a proper sequel set to launch later this year.

SteamWorld Heist 2 was revealed at today's Nintendo Indie World Showcase, and is set to hit Switch alongside PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X and S, Xbox One, and PC on August 8. Like its predecessor, this is a turn-based strategy game where you control an upgradeable crew of characters from a side-view perspective, carefully lining up your shots with ricocheting bullets to do the most damage possible to your enemies. Think XCOM mixed with Worms and you're on the right track.

The sequel takes the concept to a high seas setting, letting you control a submarine in real-time naval combat as you explore the world map in between the strategic battles. In a press release, the devs tease that the adventure will be a meaty one that offers "35+ hours of gameplay." That's much, much longer than the original, which HowLongToBeat clocks in the 10-20 hour range.

If you're not familiar with the SteamWorld series, it's worth digging into. Developer Image & Form - now under Thunderful's indie mega-banner - has used SteamWorld to build a universe of games featuring steampunk robots across all different gaming genres. SteamWorld Dig was a Minecraft-tinged Metroidvania, SteamWorld Quest gave us a deckbuilding narrative RPG, and SteamWorld Build even brought us a full-on city-building game.

Maybe the wildest thing about SteamWorld is that every single entry in the series has been good, and many of them have been excellent. Dig 2 is one of the best Metroidvania games around, and if Heist 2 - just the second direct sequel in the lineage - can make a similar level of improvements on its predecessor, we're in for something truly special.

Looking to get into the best strategy games out there? You know where to click. 

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.