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The Double-A Team: Steamworld Heist is all about the hats

Milliner's row.

Double-A games are like a comfortable woolly beanie, simple and warm. When hats and gaming combine, the first game I generally think of is Mario Odyssey and Cappy! The greatest cap in the world. Such a brilliant thing to play with: you could pretend you were Oddjob throwing his bowler hat at James Bond.

Well, Mr Bond. I'm chucking Steamworld Heist into the ring. A hat-heavy masterpiece. Captain Piper Faraday leads a ragtag team of ten steam-driven robot pirates with unique skills and a joint affinity for snappy headgear. No self-respecting robot pirate should be seen hatless in this steampunk world.

Along my numerous turn-based treks through multiple enemy spaceships, I've collected hundreds of weapons, consumables and useful gadgets, but I'm truly fishing for that sweet incentive of a hat. They don't improve your character stats, but shouldn't looking cool be a stat? (Thankfully, Cyperpunk 2077 does have a cool stat. I wonder what its hats are like.)

The most entertaining way to acquire hats is by shooting them straight off enemies' heads, like a gunslinging badass. The intuitive 2D aiming mechanic allows for precision shots, as most weapons have the capacity to ricochet bullets off the environment for pinball-like trick moves. Guns with long laser sights give you even more precision with a ricochet guide.

Pinging your shot off three walls before you find your mark from an impossible angle is sublime. Even missed headshots have the benefit of hat acquisition - but don't make a habit of it. Nothing better than the sight of your enemies' bald shiny hatless metal domes and your next favourite hat. It definitely keeps you coming back for more.

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Steamworld Heist has a big replayability factor with the New Game+ transferring your hat collection. I've played through five difficulty levels and upgraded skills for all ten teammates but I still haven't found all of the hats.

The visual enjoyment of actually seeing your character wearing a new hat creates a sense of freshness even if the game mechanics can eventually become repetitive. I always select a hilarious new hat for each member of my crew before a mission - but the big Russian Ivanski always rocks a nurse's cap. It feels like camaraderie, deepening connection with your squad. You expect this level of immersion in a triple-A strategy game like XCOM 2. The narrative is pretty bare-boned, but the interaction between characters is quite hilarious which also elevates the whole steampunk world.

For an indie studio, this small addition of hats elevates Steamworld Heist from a good game to a Top Hat Production. I'd say that Steamworld Heist accomplishes hat collection and the gunplay of shooting hats off enemies' heads better than the triple-A Sombrero of Red Dead Redemption 2.

Steamworld Heist will always hook me back in. After all, it's that comfortable woolly beanie of a Double-A game.

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