The next batch of Google Stadia games is one of the best yet, as it's all about the SteamWorld franchise from Image & Form.
The full lineup includes SteamWorld Dig, SteamWorld Dig 2, SteamWorld Heist, and SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech. Don't let the names throw you off; these are very different games set in the same steampunk robot world. The good news is that they're all great in their own right.
SteamWorld Dig and SteamWorld Dig 2 are 2D Metroidvania-style action platformers. The kicker is that, on top of standard upgrade-driven exploration, you can also dig and create your own paths with your trusty pickaxe. This adds a whole new dimension to exploration, and as you dig deeper into the inviting depths, you have to balance your loot haul with your lantern fuel. Think Dig Dug meets Guacamelee, but with robots instead of lucha wrestlers.
SteamWorld Heist, meanwhile, is like a 2D take on XCOM: Enemy Unknown. It's a turn-based tactics game which lives and dies on ricocheting bullets - a mechanic that lends incredible depth to its technically flat levels. Finally, SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech is a deck builder not far removed from Slay the Spire. It's a card-powered RPG set in a world that marries fantasy elements to the robots of SteamWorld, and like everything else on this list, it's quietly brilliant.
Image & Form is a lot like Klei Entertainment and '90s Rare in that it nails every genre it tries with clear, recognizable style. The SteamWorld universe has given us nothing but classics so far, and it's great to see it come to Stadia, a platform in dire need of must-play games.
SteamWorld Dig 2 and SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech will be available via Stadia Pro, and all four games will be be on the Stadia store "soon."
Here's how Google Stadia's promises line up with the reality of its launch.