SteamWorld Dig

SteamWorld Dig

released on Aug 07, 2013

SteamWorld Dig

released on Aug 07, 2013

SteamWorld Dig is 2D a platform game that revolves around mining for resources and ores. The objective of the game is to investigate the mines underneath the old Western town Tumbleton in order to unearth the secrets lurking below. The player controls Rusty who is equipped with a pickaxe but the player is given options to upgrade the tools used for digging as progression is made in the game. Besides health, the player also needs coal for light, and water for special abilities. SteamWorld Dig has platform elements in that the player runs, jumps and encounter foes, but the main objective is mining. That means that the player builds – or rather deconstructs – the game world and creates platforms that way. The player collects resources and other hidden resources which can be brought back to the surface and exchanged for cash. When the player progress in the game new abilities are unlocked. Each playthrough, the mines are randomized, making items and treasure appear in different locations. If the player gets stuck there is a self destruct function, but the players can also buy ladders in the store at the surface to get out of tricky situations. When progressing deeper down in the cave, the player encounters various enemies with different attack patterns and weak spots. The game features multiple worlds, each with a completely different environment. Dying results in a reparation penalty fee, and the player respawns back on the surface. All the loot that has been accumulated when the player dies can be picked up again.


Also in series

SteamWorld Build
SteamWorld Build
SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech
SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech
SteamWorld Dig 2
SteamWorld Dig 2
SteamWorld Heist
SteamWorld Heist
SteamWorld Tower Defense
SteamWorld Tower Defense

Reviews View More

Very fun and simple perhaps too simple sometimes

Very fun and simple perhaps too simple at times

Actually really enjoyed this one. Beat it on switch after I got a Eshop card for my birthday.

Long before I decided to become a reviewer, I used to jot down brief thoughts on the games I was playing in order to capture my feelings at the moment of completion for personal archival purposes. Since then, I’ve of course evolved my craft into full-fledged write-ups, but I do think there is enough merit to some of these earlier critiques to warrant their publication, especially for titles I do not intend on replaying (in the near future at least). I’ve thrown in some updates, but this is one of them.


STORY
-Premise is basic - father died and left behind a mine to his son Rusty, which you have to go through to discover what secrets he was creating/hiding. Nothing else narrative-heavy happens that I can recall. The ending does try to be semi-emotional, but fails because of the lack of real development between Rusty and the townsfolk.

-Would've liked to have seen the lore of the game expanded upon. It's cool seeing all these creatures, but you don't get to know much about them outside of brief mentions from the townsfolk (i.e. Shiners being partially responsible for the creation of steambots).

-Some satirical writing, but surprisingly light on spoofing western tropes despite the homages (the tagline is literally called "A Fistful of Dirt").


GRAPHICS
-Graphics are great, looking akin to those flash animations you’d seen on Newgrounds with bold outlines combined with steampunk and weird western aesthetics. Some really beautifully colored interiors, particularly as you get deeper into the Earth.


SOUND
-No voice acting, just hit-or-miss vocalized noises like in Skyward Sword (the fat salesman's tone, in particular, being REALLY annoying).

-All the items sound good. Explosions, whether you're using dynamite or hitting a TNT barrel or dodging a suicidal robot, have the same stock noise though regardless of quantity. Same with enemies dying.


GAMEPLAY
-Game initially feels like a lovechild between Minecraft and the Snowmuncher minigame from Neopets, albeit with a surprising amount of platforming and RPG mechanics. Unfortunately, the game is too short to really capitalize on either of those elements.

-Some Metroidvania aspects since you can discover secret areas and have to revisit previous levels. However, regarding the latter, that part only happens at the end and there's a quest arrow to help you, which I liked but others probably won't.

-At $10.00 it gives you about 4-5 hours of gameplay, so it just barely passes my rule for a buy. However, be warned that the pacing is all over the place - the first couple of hours feel like forever, while the ending is rushed.

-Then again, that does make sense given that the more upgrades you have, the faster you dig. However, all the upgrade options end up being pointless since you don't need the lion’s share of them to advance further. You may ask "what about strategy?" And I suppose there is some of that, but really you'll be fine so long as you adopt an “all-around” strategy in terms of getting a decent amount of armor, decent amount of water tanks, and so forth.

-.Also upgrades for your pickaxe are as worthless as the melee upgrades in the first Deus Ex since the vast majority of players will just utilize the faster drill for navigating. The only thing the pickaxe ends-up being good for in the long-run is getting through crates (of which there are very few) and hitting one of the bosses (which you can either way do, albeit longer, with the drill).

-I like how the underworld stays the same as when you leave it. There's a bit of a Minecraft element to it in that regard. Transitions are extremely smooth from place-to-place.

-One thing I was mixed on were the respawning enemies and minerals: repeat enemies were annoying to deal with while the minerals made the game significantly easier since you could theoretically just exit and reenter a place to farm the same minerals ad nauseam.

-Inventory management makes no sense- I could never tell if I was close to being full since there's no indication as far as I could tell. Also, the game goes out of its way to separate the minerals, which, while a cool touch, ultimately remains pointless since I doubt anyone will go out of their way to discard and replace minerals they find.

-Didn't like that you could only lay one teleporter to return to the surface. Should've been able to create several throughout the world as it’s a pain to backtrack, especially towards the endgame.

-Cannot use ladders or lanterns inside the levels. Can use dynamite though. Dying inside them luckily restarts from within so you don't have to go back to them from the surface.

-Experience (i.e., money) expands the town with new shops, but is again underutilized.

-All the upgrades are cool. I liked how water was the source for most of them.

-You get something called a "mineral detector," but I honestly have no idea what it did, if anything.


VERDICT
-Despite my negatives, I cannot deny that Steamworld Dig is addicting. I loved excavating further and further into the underground to discover new areas and secrets (especially since it wasn't procedurally-generated). It feels a bit grindy at first until you get the drill (about 1-2 hours in), but outside of that the game does a good job making you feel like you're progressing forward.

It’s a great time to get into Steamworld games, what with them having just concluded a deep sale on Steam and Heist 2 getting released soon. Dig 1 starts strongly and there is a lot to like about it. But there is one thing that ruined the experience for me as a completionist.

The game is literally about digging your way through vertically. You collect valuables to sell for money and you find orbs that can be used to buy items/upgrades along with the money you’ve accumulated. There are different things to keep in mind that force you to come back to town on a frequent basis. This slowly gets better with the power ups you find and the items/upgrades you buy. You feel pretty powerful near the end. There are 3 big caves that also contain smaller caves. The game has some random generated elements but not completely. When you enter a world for the first time, the lay-out is set in stone along with the valuables, orbs, enemies and the order you encounter the less important caves. So it can feel fresh with each new save.

The gameplay is addictive. You can play it in short sessions but I ended up spending long hours because I was getting so invested in the gameplay loop of exploring, finding stuff and getting upgrades frequently. The world created looks appealing in terms of style. The controls are fine for the most part. It’s of a good length when you take your time. The game is very polished, I haven’t encountered any bugs.

My biggest problem are the achievements ‘Master Prospector` and ‘A Fistful of Dirt’ to a lesser extend. The latter is a pure grind where you can think of completing the game around 3 times to dig 15000 tiles. You won’t ever get this naturally the first time, you’ll need a grind session but at least it’s only a time waster. The former is a time waster AND very frustrating. The game wants you to get over 20000 gold, 150 orbs, not die and do it within 2.5 hours in one save. The biggest issue is the requirement of 150 orbs. They’re not as plentiful as valuables, they’re random and there is no specific detector for them or a percentage to show you that you found all of them in areas. I can get all the other requirements except for this one because of the limited time you have. I’ve completed the game in 8 hours the first time, I’ve spent over 10 hours trying to get this achievement (with at least 2 new saves). My friend helped me get the last achievement to stop the stress. The 3 other requirements were challenging enough. If they wanted 4 requirements, then they should have done everything about the orbs better. RNG can really get in the way on rare occasions, you can die in unexpected and cruel ways. And lastly, I mentioned how the controls are fine for the most part. The reason I mention this is because you have to hold a direction when you’re digging (d-pad with the dig button). If you accidentally let go of the d-pad, then you dig in front of you. This causes you to unintentionally dig the wrong tiles. It happened too often with me.

Despite this, I’m still willing to give an overall positive with the promise that the next games will be better about this. I know that Dig 2 and Heist will also have a challenge to get 4 requirements in one save, but they appear to be more reasonable based on my research. The rest of the game is mostly good. It’s even impressive for a first game in the franchise. You’ll have a great time if you don’t care about getting 100% with the achievements or you’re very skilled/lucky with your save. I’m not sure if the game is worth the stress if you’re a completionist.

Nothing beats one of those games where you hold a button on a block until it breaks, revealing another block for you to hold a button on until it breaks