The game is set a few hundred years after SteamWorld Dig when Steambots have been forced into space after Earth was destroyed. The story follows the tough-as-nails Captain Piper and her crew raiding ships, after Scrappers and their water (fuel).
The game was first announced on 16 September 2014 via the Image & Form blog. A campaign called HeistTuesday was set up, where each Tuesday something would be revealed, there'd be an interview or some other SteamWorld news would be revealed.
On 21 April 2015, the Ambassador Challenges were announced over the Image & Form blog. If one of the challenges was won, the winner would get exclusive news on the game and a free, early-access code for the game on any platform.
For more info on the Ambassador Challenges, go to: SteamWorld Heist Ambassador Challenges.
The first challenge was a weapon naming contest and was won by TheGamingWolf for the name Cranky's Delight. There were also two other winners: James Jackson for the name The Bolt. 45 which was given to another weapon, and Jsty3105 for the name Rust in Pieces which was used as a one liner.
The game was finally released on 10 December 2015 in North America, Europe and Australia. It was met with positive reception and took the top spot on the Nintendo eshop charts for quite a while. Also, until the 31 December 2015, an exclusive 3DS menu theme was included with the game upon purchase.
On 28 April 2016, a DLC pack for the game was released titled 'The Outsider', after being announced and shown off at the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) alongside the HD version of the game. An update for the game was also released featuring more language options (French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Russian) and added inventory space.
On 17 May 2016, PS4 and PSVita versions were announced with a release date of 31 May and a 15% discount. However, they were delayed by about a week and finally released on 7 June, alongside the Steam version of the game.
Finally on 31 January 2017, Steamworld Heist, together with the Outsider and hat DLCs, released DRM free on GOG.com.
You take on the role of a Steambot space captain called Captain Piper and her crew as you go on missions, raiding ships in a free aiming, turn based, shooting combat style. The ships you raid are randomised. Outside of missions, you can go to Space Bars. In Space Bars you can recruit new crew members, talk to other NPC's, and buy upgrades, weapons and Utilities.
Hats serve as a collectible item for the game and can be equipped to your crew members. Enemies can also equip hats and like you, theirs can be shot off. They do not increase or decrease any of your stats, they are just for a graphical purpose. Another collectible is the Ancient Relics that are old items belonging to the humans that can be bought for high prices.
The soundtrack is composed by the steampunk band, Steam Powered Giraffe and they themselves appear in the game as Steambots, on an everlasting tour around the Space Bars where Captain Piper and her crew will be recruiting new crew members. The soundtrack was released both physically and digitally on 10 December 2015, the same day as the game.
SteamWorld Heist received favourable reviews upon release, with a currant score of 86/100 on Metacritic. Nintendo World Report scored the game 9.5/10, remarking: "The definitive 3DS game of 2015 is here. No joke." IGN scored it an 8.8/10, and Nintendo Life, a 9/10. It was given an 8.5/10 on Destructoid, and scored a 5/5 on The Daily Mirror, described: "As much a work of art as a video game."