The Steamworld series has always had a rather light narrative that kind of hangs out in the background of the games. Steamworld Quest is the first game in the series to have a story that’s a bit more than arbitrary filler. It tells a tale that attempts to remind us of the Super Nintendo RPGs from our childhood.
If you love the Steamworld series, but simply don’t the time to sit down with the card battling, robot RPG, then sit back, and let us tell you the tale of Steamworld Quest.
In the world of Steamworld Quest, everything is the way you’d expect it to be in a world of fantasy and magic. There are dragons, knights, spells, potions, all the types of things you know and love in these kinds of stories. The only key difference is that everyone is also a steam-powered robot.
We start with our main protagonists, Armilly, the daughter of a fruit grocer who dreams of joining the Heroes Guild and becoming a great knight. She’s joined by her friend, Copernica, a scholar who studies alchemy and magic, and who dropped out of college due to her disagreements on how their knowledge should be used.
They venture forth into the forest to retrieve the Peppermint Puffer, a mushroom with magical properties. Copernica hopes to use it in order to clear the clogged rain gutters of their town, while Armilly just wants to eat it because it smells delicious. After dealing with an angry, giant, sentient mushroom man who doesn’t take kindly to his mushrooms being stolen from the forest, they return back home to their village, only to find it looking a bit different than it was when they left.
Mainly because it’s on fire.
Their town is being burned down by the invading Void Army, seemingly led by Captain Canary, a uni-wheeled robot with an actual birdcage for a head, complete with an actual canary. They’ve attacked the town, and kidnapped all the heroes of the Heroes Guild, meaning that the only people left who can stop them are Armilly and Copernica.
Along the way, they come across Galleo, a frog-faced, burly robot who spends the majority of his time hanging out in his mother’s basement. Somehow, despite the fact that his hometown is literally burning down around him, he seems both oblivious and ambivalent to the incredible danger. After some convincing, he agrees to join Armilly and Coepernica in stopping the Void Army.
They manage to defeat Captain Canary, and also stop the fires from turning their town into a pile of ash. The heroes of the guild, however, are still captured, thus Armilly, Coepernica, and a very reluctant Galleo all set out to rescue them. Of course, it’s an unofficial rescue party seeing as how the Heroes Guild is actually a very bureaucratic association and requires members to fill out several forms to even begin to form a rescue party. Armilly is sure that once they save the guild’s heroes, they’ll welcome her into the club so she can finally be a knight.
The trio tracks the Void Army through an apple orchard until they come across a man named Orik, who’s been locked inside a cage. Despite the fact that he’s just a random person wearing a fox mask, Armilly recognizes him from her Hero’s Handbook. It turns out that Orik was the sidekick of the legendary hero Gilgamech, who defeated a monster known as the Behemoth, and saved the world. As a result, there are statues of Gilgamech scattered across the world as a tribute to his bravery (and they also double as save points). Orik tells them that there's a key chain that contains the keys to his cage, and also has the keys to the dungeon where the heroes are being held captive.
The trio defeats a coglin and his bodyguard, retrieving the keys, and freeing Orik. Orik leaves them, no longer needing their assistance. Of course, once Armilly and the gang enter the dungeon, where they find Orik, who has somehow been captured once again. This time, Orik decides that he’s perhaps better off staying with the group, and joins them on their quest.
They find the guild heroes, defeating Captain Canary and a dragon. However, they’re mostly ungrateful due to the group not being members of the Heroes Guild, and being an unofficial rescue party. They head back to town, leaving Armilly feeling crushed that she still hasn’t been able to become a member of the Guild.
While investigating the dungeon, Copernica had discovered books and research that should have only been accessible to members of her college. Obviously, the books were either stolen, or someone from the college is conspiring with the Void Army. She determines that this requires immediate investigation, and the group decides to stop by Copernica’s old alma mater to ask some serious questions.
Upon arriving at the college, the gang finds that the college gates have been locked shut by a magical seal, which is unusual as the gates are usually left open. They also see two small children, who mock them for being locked out, and reveal that they’re there to rob the rich college students on campus. Copernica is furious that anyone would steal from her school, so the group ventures into the nearby woods to find a magical root that will unlock the seal on the gates. They retrieve the root, and get inside the school.
After fighting their way through various bratty college kids, they find the young thieves from earlier, who’ve been stopped by another dragon. The dragon is slain, bringing the dragon kill count to two, and the thieves are confronted. The dragon had eaten a magic prism, which allowed them to bust through any lock on campus. That prism was unfortunately evaporated by the dragon's stomach acid. Now, without any real way of getting around the school, the pair introduce themselves as siblings Tarah and Thayne, and join the crew. Although they only do so in order to move forward, and don’t care about anything the group is trying to accomplish.
They eventually make their way to the headmaster’s office, only to find a new headmistress, who also turns out to Copernica’s favorite professor (and possible crush), Hyapathia. Hyapathia had been working with the Void Army towards a greater goal, and they had been searching for a magical artifact known as the Necronomicog, which apparently possesses so much power that it could completely change the world. She offers Copernica a chance to join with her, but Copernica resists, leading to a fight.
The group defeats the headmistress, hoping that she’ll reveal the location of the Necronomicog so they can put a stop to the Void Army’s plans. Unfortunately, Hyapathia decides to gulp down a potion that ultimately kills her, instead of divulging any details. Luckily, it turns out that Tarah and Thayne know where the Necronomicog is, as its location is common knowledge in their village. Thus, the group heads to Tarah and Thayne’s home in order to get the Necronomicog before the Void Army can.
The gang hitches a ride with a traveling merchant, whose wagon can go almost anywhere, except to the village. They venture through some spooky woods, even once again dispatching Captain Canary, who’s been kicked out of the Void Army for his repeated failures. They finally reach Tarah and Thayne’s city, only to find it mostly deserted, except for Archdruid Bob, a prominent figure around town.
Bob tells them that the Necronomicog may be located in the northern part of town. He also offers some of his homebrewed moonjuice, which Galleo happily slurps down. However, it turns out that the northern part of the city is home to yet another dragon, which the gang slays. It also turns out that dragon belonged to Bob, and that he was going to use the dragon to pay a debt to the owner of the local colosseum. Bob also implies that the Ringmaster of the colosseum would likely know where the Necronomicog is.
In order to make it up to Bob, and also possibly get some information, the gang volunteers to fight in the colosseum in place of the dragon. They emerge victorious, but the Ringmaster reveals that Bob has had the Necronomicog this whole time. He also reveals that for some reason, he’s been selling the body parts of defeated colosseum participants to Bob as well. The gang returns to town, finds out that Bob has absconded to the sewers, and chase after him.
They work their way through the sewer system only to come across the horrifying sight of a room full of body parts. These parts are the remains of the townspeople who have gone missing. The group goes to confront Bob and finds him talking to a giant, possessed, living tree. It turns out that Bob had been feeding the tree the body parts in order for it to produce the moonjuice that he craves. Taran and Thayne demand revenge, and after a loud conversation, the tree angrily awakens and destroys Bob. After a long fight, the tree is defeated, and our heroes retrieve the Necronmicog, which was inside the evil tree.
However, it turns out that the Void Army had tracked them down. The Dark Lord of the army arrives, only for Orik to immediately greet him as an old friend. Armilly is the first among them to realize that the Dark Lord is none other than the great hero Gilgamech himself.
Gilgamech believed that the age of heroism was gone, and that the world needed to see what a true hero looked like once again. He had kidnapped the heroes earlier so that Hyapathia could use them in a ceremony to reawaken the Necronomicog. He would then use it to wake up the Behemoth, defeat it once again, and begin a new age of heroism. However, the group had accidentally done all the work for him. He then paralyzes the group with magic, and steals the Necronomicog, leaving the group feeling dejected and defeated.
Orik reveals his history with Gilgamech to everyone, and even removes his mask to show his true face. He says that Gilgamech felt like he had been forgotten by the masses. He wants to win back the affection of everyone and is willing to go as far as reviving the Behemoth to do it. Armilly is feeling particularly down, seeing as how her hero has turned out to be the villain after all. However, after a pep talk by Galleo, they decide that they can’t let Gilgamech’s plan succeed, and travel to the Void Army’s fortress in the Darkfrost Mountains to put a stop to them once and for all.
They make their way up into the mountains to get to the Void Army’s lair. The fortress is also where the body of the Behemoth is stored, and with Gilgamech possessing the Necronomicog, his plan has almost come to fruition. As they enter the fortress, the party begins to have hallucinations of things from their past.
These “retro-specters,” as Orik calls them, force the heroes to confront their weaknesses, secrets, and innermost thoughts. Copernica must confront her feelings about alchemy and Hyapathia, Armilly faces her doubts in herself and her heroism, Galleo has to deal with the disgust of having drank the moonjuice from earlier, Tarah and Thayne get over their trust issues as siblings, and Orik accepts his place in the world and himself. The heroes come out of the experience feeling stronger, and more focused than ever.
They finally reach Gilgamech’s lair, and try to convince him not to awaken the Behemoth. But Gilgamech refuses to listen, forcing a final battle between himself and the gang of heroes. They manage to defeat the ancient hero, but just when he seems beaten, Gilgamech uses the same paralyzing magic from before to prevent the heroes from interfering with his plans any longer. As he escapes, Copernica manages to heal everyone, and they chase after Gilgamech to the resting place of the Behemoth.
Armilly tries one last time to reason with her former hero, telling him that reviving the Behemoth to inflate his ego will forever ruin his reputation. But Gilgamech is too far gone at this point, and resurrects the Behemoth anyway. The Behemoth is stronger than ever, and easily dispatches Gilgamech, escaping to wreak havoc on the world. Gilgamech finally admits that there was no altruistic goal to his plans, and he only wanted to defeat the Behemoth so he could be remembered after years of being forgotten. Our heroes know that they are now the only thing that can defeat the Behemoth, and brace themselves for their final battle.
They face the Behemoth, which teleports them all to various locations throughout the world, bringing carnage and destruction everywhere. After a long, hard-fought, card shuffling fight, the Behemoth is finally slain once and for all and the Necronomicog is destroyed. With the world saved, the party devotes themselves to fixing the damage to the world that Gilgamech and the Behemoth caused.
Armilly wants to repair the old Heroes Guild, which was destroyed in the battle. However, the new Heroes Guild will require no memberships, and its mission will be to help people, rather than to be an exclusive, snobby club. Copernica decides to fix the curriculum of the college and make it more inclusive so everyone can learn magic and alchemy. Galleo decides to go with Tarah and Thayne to help rebuild their city, and also help out with the orphanage that Tarah and Thayne called home.
As for Orik, he repurposes the corpse of the Behemoth as the final hole on a mini-golf course. And he even manages to find a job for the down on his luck Gilgamech, allowing him to be a caddie for the golfers on the green.
There's a lot of great stories about Spider-Man the MCU could pull from, but you can't tell them until he's older.