Steamworld Dig 2 review code provided by publisher.
Image & Form is a studio that continues to surprise. After the release of SteamWorld Heist, I never thought that the small Swedish studio would be able to create another classic in their SteamWorld universe. I’m glad as I wrong: SteamWorld Dig 2 is just another shining example of how great the Steamworld universe actually is and yet another shining moment for Image & Form.
SteamWorld Dig 2 picks up where the original left off. Taking control of Dorothy, who most may remember was a bot you sold your minerals to in the the original SteamWorld Dig, you set out on a quest to find the missing Rusty, the protagonist of the first game. While on Rusty’s trail she encounters a doomsday cult worshiping a talking machine. After facing off and destroying the machine Dorothy befriends Fen, a flying energy ball who was living inside the machine and who in turn is dealing with memory loss. The two of them join forces and set off to find Rusty.
The story of SteamWorld Dig 2 could definitely have more depth, but most of the game’s story just doesn’t have that depth of progression, though there is a cool twist that comes at the end which I didn’t see coming. What does make the story enjoyable is the fantastic writing for both Dorothy and the other characters. Much like SteamWorld Dig, Dorothy heads into town populated by a buch of colorful and zany characters all of which I very much enjoyed talking to simply because their stories and characterization were so well done.
The majority of SteamWorld Dig 2 takes place digging. The brilliance of Image & Form shines through in their ability to make a mundane task actually enjoyable. You dig, you collect minerals, you run out of inventory space, you head back to town to sell said minerals and you repeat. Every complaint one may have in a game like this is addressed fairly early on. Shortcut pipes are located in perfectly placed locations to let you head back into town without having to climb all the way back up. Right as you fill up your inventory there will be a pipe just right around the corner.
Collecting minerals is the lifeblood of Dorothy. As you collect minerals and sell them off, you spend your money on various upgrades for Dorothy, such as better pickaxes and more inventory space. But that’s only half of what Dorothy needs to do to survive. Every upgrade can also get modifications. Using Cogs that you find throughout the world you’re able to modify your tools. Adding modifications to your inventory, for example, allows you to carry four of the same mineral in one inventory slot. It’s a well oiled machine and I found it hard to decide what to get and what to leave until I was able to get more Cogs.
As you dig you encounter caves. These caves are like side activities where you have to figure out an elaborate way to collect the treasure collectables that unlock new blueprints to better modifications and gear Cogs to upgrade your gear. This is the best part about the game. Each cave was fun to explore and figure out just how to get all the treasure in each one. The best thing about it is the game will tell you if you found every secret in the cave by marking a checkbox in the cave on your map. Of course you may not be able to collect everything on your first run through as you may not have the gear for it, such as the hook shot which you acquire later the game.
Exploring is a joy and there are always nefarious new enemies to look out for. Some of the enemy encounters I thought were pretty cheap especially later in the game. Enemies that explode when hit, enemies that roll around and destroy everything in their path, including valuable minerals and enemies that use acid that destroy terrain by creating a chain reaction. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem but the world itself never really rebuilds itself. Once you dig a particular path, that path is dug permanently. There is no way to rebuild what you or an enemy has destroyed. Thankfully Image & Form thought of ways to get around getting stuck with the various tools that Dorothy has access too and strategic placement of indestructible terrain so you always have a way to climb out of a hole.
SteamWorld Dig 2’s art direction is just a superb as it is in the rest of the SteamWorld universe. The charming character designs are given life thanks to the great cartoony style and it hits all the marks. Even the enemies have a unique looking charm to them. The music is also a step up from the original SteamWorld Dig with a bigger track selection some of which are still stuck in my head.
It’s really hard to find anything negative to say about SteamWorld Dig 2 and that’s because it does almost everything well. The SteamWorld universe is one of the interesting and entertaining ones I’ve journeyed, and I hope that Image & Form continue to build on it because I just can’t get enough of it.