SteamWorld Dig

(1 customer review)


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Complete Review & Description

There was a time that the most popular genre of videogame was sidescroller. This was mainly due to the fact that the consoles weren’t powerful enough to do anything else, but that didn’t stop absolute gems from releasing. For every mainstream Mario or Sonic title there was unknown games like Chuck Rock, Zool, or a personal favourite that stole many frustrating days from my childhood: Rick Dangerous.
Everything about Steamworld Dig manages to fill me with nostalgia while really not being anything like the games that have come before it, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Steamworld Dig is a sidescrolling mining adventure that mixes a bit of Minecraft with the old 2D platformers of yore. You play as Rusty, a robot nephew of an old western robot miner. Upon arriving at Tumbleton, Rusty falls into one of his uncle’s mines. After a quick tutorial you escape the mine and start on Rusty’s adventure.

The town itself starts off fairly small, being home to a saloon and a trading post where you can sell any ore or minerals for gold coins. You’re given a pickaxe and told to head back down to uncover whatever it was that Rusty’s uncle was trying to find. I was warned that the game had a slow start and to persevere until I uncovered the first upgrade. Within 5 – 10 minutes the first upgrade was found and sure enough the game started to pick up pace.
While there is a specific goal to Steamworld Dig, it’s quite easy to lose time just mining down through the earth uncovering resources to sell, enemies to kill, and small caverns that require a bit of puzzle solving to get through. Your resource pouch is limited in size so you’ll be returning topside often to sell what you’ve collected. The team at Image & Form knew that this would likely be the more tedious part of the experience and have done everything possible to make it less so.

At first you’ll just be climbing and jumping back up the mine shafts you create along the way, but soon enough more options are either found, purchased, or given to you. Once you’ve dug yourself down a certain distance, the thought of trekking back up will be the last thing on your mind, but doing so may just help you discover new areas you’ve missed before. Before you know it you’ll be hundreds of meters above your current goal just so you can collect a few more minerals to afford that upgrade you’re after.
The thing with Steamworld Dig is that just as you’re thinking about turning it off, or thinking that maybe this just isn’t the game for you, you’ll unlock a new upgrade that makes you want to push forward a little more. Sometimes it’s a new pickaxe that can help you dig through dirt and rocks faster, and sometimes it’s a new move added to Rusty’s repertoire. What it always is, however, is a reminder that you most definitely shouldn’t put the controller down just yet.

The robots that populate the world of Steamworld Dig are all steam powered, and so, along the way, certain moves Rusty can pull off require the use of water. Underneath the health bar is a water bar that can be filled anytime Rusty finds an underground water reservoir. Another thing you need to look out for is the dwindling light coming from Rusty’s lantern. Without light, moving around underground can become a little harder, especially if your tunnels require a little finesse to maneuver through. Upgrades to your lantern, along with collecting pickups from enemies, can delay the inevitable darkness, but a quick stop back up in Tumbleton quickly refills the lantern for another use.
Something I disliked early on was that there’s always some reason for you to be heading up and away from the gameplay. Lantern has gone out? Head topside. Pouch is full? Head topside. If it wasn’t for the fact that you’re given upgrades almost every time this happens – it’d get annoying fast. But instead, seeing the sky and the village of Topside became something that I welcomed, knowing that I was going to be heading into the unknown stronger or better equipped than how I came out.

One thing that never felt welcome however, was the audio design. With the music repeating all too often, and the same overly loud thunk everytime Rusty landed from a jump, I was reaching for the remote early on. It’s a shame that the same level of love wasn’t given to this aspect of the title that the rest received.
Steamworld Dig on the Wii U is the fifth release, and they’re covering every platform for a reason. The game is addictive and a lot of fun. What the Wii U offers over and above the others is that you can play it both on the TV or solely on the gamepad. In fact, you can have the game running on the Gamepad while using the Pro Controller to play for that “I’m nowhere near my TV and I want to get comfortable” situation. Some great options for an addictive little game.


1 review for SteamWorld Dig

  1. Smile

    It’s good enough to play for 24/7

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