SteamWorld Dig Review: an addictive trip to the bottom of the world
- Posted March 18th, 2014 at 07:19 EDT by Garri Bagdasarov
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While a bit on the easy side, SteamWorld Dig is an addicting and unique experience featuring heaps of replay value.
- Very addicting
- Well-streamlined upgrade system
- Mine layout changes each playthrough, offering a unique experience every time
- Abilities don't carry over to another playthrough
- Undeveloped characters and game world
- Not very challenging
While players dig they will find caves to explore, which hold secrets that gamers discover as they complete well designed puzzles and transverse multiple traps. Most of these caves contain upgrades for Rusty, which are essential for completing all the hidden caves and obtaining all the secrets in the game. Most upgrades are given to players as they progress through the story, but some can be completely missed. Upgrades range from double-jumping and avoiding drop damage. Some of the more important upgrades that Rusty will acquire is a drill arm and a power punch. The drill arm allows Rusty to dig through stone and the power punch allows him to destroy blocks and attack enemies from a distance. However, these abilities run on water, which players will have to replenish by finding water pools throughout the world, but be warned; the pools won't refill once they have been depleted. Overall, Rusty will dig through three different environments: a mining tunnel, an abandoned city, and a long lost robotic location.
Each environment is completely different from the last, full of its own traps and enemies. The further players progress the more difficult the enemies get; gamers will encounter everything from giant rock turtles in the mining tunnels to shambling zombies in the old abandoned city. It's also worth noting that the layout of the maps change with each playthrough, offering gamers a reason to return to SteamWorld Dig after completing it. Unfortunately, none of the upgrades or collected money and level upgrade carry over to other playthroughs.
Another issue is the game itself isn't as challenging as I was hoping it would be. Dying simply returns you back to town with a small currency deduction and a loss of all the resources that the player has collected, but you can easily recover lost resources by returning to the point where you died. The story itself also isn't that inspiring and its world and characters don't develop past their introduction. The game also has a boss battle at the end, which I found extremely entertaining and wished that the developers would have expanded more on.
It took me about four hours to complete SteamWorld Dig, but those four hours flew before I even noticed. Needless to say, Image & Form has created one of the most addictive titles I have played in quite some time, and digging to the bottom of the world and exploring large underground caves for treasure and upgrades never once got monotonous. With the mine changing its layout throughout every playthrough I never found a reason to not return to my digging, and Image & Form's smart decision to release the game as a cross-buy between the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita just means I can now dig on the go.
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