By Matt Ballyns
Set in the future in a robotic wasteland you take control of a “young” robot Rusty who shows up in Tumbleton to collect his deed left to him by his uncle. You come to find out that this deed is a mine and you find a pick ax quickly and start your exploration. Digging is quite simple, you just hold the dig button and a direction you wish to dig and Rusty will hack his way through the mine and treasures will be hidden away which sometimes requires some planning to get to.
The controls are very simple as especially in the beginning of the game where all you will be doing is one thing…. DIGGING!. As you progress down the mine and find treasure you will need to surface as you can only carry so much and return your gathered treasure for currency that can be used to upgrade Rusty. The key equipment Rusty has is his life meter, carrying capacity, light for seeing in the dark, dynamite, teleports, lanterns, ladders, and others you will get as you progress. As you can imagine as this game is heavy in the digging aspect and returning to the top for your loot the more you play the more annoying it can get to get back to the top. Thankfully they added a few teleports you can find as you dig which will bring you straight to the surface or you can buy one to drop while you are digging though the cost a rare currency that you do not want to squander as you need it for the higher level upgrades.
The main attraction to SteamWorld Digg is finding the caves in the mines as they will have a puzzle within them that is awarded either with an orb with special currency or a new ability which greatly increases Rusty’s arsenal. These collectable abilities range from a double jump to firing rocket fist that help in your adventure through the mine. Some of these abilities introduce water to the game in a real neat way. These water abilities (like drill or an explosive jump) cost steam in order to use them. On your way to find these mines you will find some enemy’s though throughout the game these enemy’s really do not differ until you get to the real end of the game and while this game took me a little over 7 hours to beat you see the same 5 enemy types for the first 5 or so hours.
The leveling up your equipment in this game works great! However, I am the type of player who won’t level up their equipment until I see the game is really causing me a challenge which is definitely not the way to go in SteamWorld Dig or you will get annoyed and want to quick. As you dig through the mine the ground becomes stronger and if you do not level up your pick ax it takes several hits just to get through one block so I recommend buying those upgrades at all cost because as fun as this game is with so much digging involve you will want to cut it down as much as possible.
The puzzles in the caves are very well done, but you sometimes have to watch yourself because you can dig yourself into a hole or drop a boulder on your head. Thankfully you can buy some ladders to get yourself out of sticky situations or self-destruct yourself at the cost of losing some of your loot. Once you get to the real underground part of the game the challenge with enemies definitely picks up leading to an exciting climactic end. The lack of enemy variety in this game was very noticeable thought the core gameplay was great and with the final part of the game being a giant boss that felt almost like a Megaman style like boss battle. It left me wanting more of those battles. It is a real shame they did not have more of those battles integrated into the game as all your upgrades came into great use against the final boss but he was the only one, it would have been awesome to see more use of that.
Originally this game released on the Nintendo 3DS which would be a great place to experience this game though I played the HD version on PS4 which looked great. I doubt there is that much of a change between past versions of the game and the HD version but the cartoon art really works for the game and gives it a great atmosphere.
This is not a very long game I would assume someone could beat it after the first try in less than 2 hours if they really tried. After you beat it you can go back and get more gold to buy any upgrades you may not have purchased and it is also only single player and has no online functions. That being said I can see going back to it and playing it again one more time to beat your time and fighting that final boss again though that won’t be happening anytime soon.
SteamWorld Dig is a new indie IP that has taken its first steps in the right direction. There is a lot of fun to be had in this metroidvania style game. While the upgrade system and art style really make this game enjoyable the lack of enemies, only having one boss battle though very enjoyable, and relatively short story brings down the score of this game. I am looking forward to if SteamWorld Dig 2 comes out as these are easy aspects to improve upon.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Learn to write like a real reviewer. Don't use "try" and "tried" in the same sentence, you sound like a 5th grader. Best way to do this is to read well-written reviews from others.
Dig 2 is highly considered by the dev team and is likely to be our next project once we're done with SteamWorld Heist :)