SteamWorld Dig Review

SteamWorld Dig Review

Pure Gold.

Steamworld Dig Review
Release Date
December 5, 2013
Image & Form Games
Steam, Xbox One, PS4, 3DS

I can’t remember the last time I just picked up a game and had an absolute blast playing like I did with SteamWorld Dig. I wasn’t even supposed to be the one to review the game, but once I started playing I couldn’t stop. If you are looking for a fun, interesting take on the platforming genre, look no further. SteamWorld Dig has got you covered.

Playing as Rusty, a young robot who is on a quest to uncover the secrets of the world underground. Following in the footsteps of his uncle, he embarks into the depths in search for clues to his uncle’s disappearance, as well as secrets and technology. That isn’t the only thing you’re looking for however, as you will be mining for minerals and jewels in order to trade them in at town in for money used to purchase upgrades. You’ll also be searching for artifacts that explode into blue orbs that act as a premium currency in the game.  The adventures takes you deep into the Earth as you dig your way a kilometer underground, with numerous obstacles popping up along the way. As you venture deeper and deeper into the ground, you uncover new abilities to help you explore the depths below.

SteamWorld Dig review - Water
Finding water is always exciting. Its a valuable resource for Rusty.

The gameplay is similar to the retro classic Dig Dug in many respects, but Image & Form have innovated in several ways to make SteamWorld Dig stand confidently on its own. As you venture deeper, you encounter new enemies that each have differing attribute that make them tricky to contend with. If you can get to the fossils in the ground before they come alive, you nullify the threat they pose. Otherwise they pop out of their fossilised state and come running at you. Enemies evolve a bit as well as you move on. For instance, zombies in earlier levels start carrying dynamite around in later levels, which drop when they are fragged or if you stand in one spot for too long, they’ll toss it at you. There’s good enemy variety and it keeps things fresh as you move throughout the game.

The environments also change. There’s several environmental hazards that creep their way into the game that force you to keep an eye on what’s above/under/around you. Acid pits, rocks, and massive boulders all need to be avoided if you don’t want to get crushed and be forced to respawn back in town. Getting crushed has its disadvantages; You lose half of your gold upon respawn which really bites, especially if you’ve been saving up for that upgrade to your pickaxe. Between the environmental hazards and the enemies, SteamWorld Dig is constantly throwing something new your way.

SteamWorld Dig review - Hazards
You have to be careful, one wrong move and you could be toast.

To say that I have enjoyed playing SteamWorld Dig is an understatement. The game is a ton of fun, and rewards players who are willing to explore with various secrets and goodies. I really enjoyed collecting minerals and scooting back up to town to turn them in and buy gear, but I always felt that the glowing globes were often too difficult to come across. I appreciate that the game forces you to choose which upgrades you will be investing in, as you certainly can’t have them all; but at the same time I felt handcuffed by the glowing globes a little too often. For example, as you get really deep into the game, it can take a long time to jump all the way back up to the surface to turn your loot in. The way to remedy this is to build a transporter, but they are insanely expensive at 3 globes each. I actually asked the developer about this during our Indie Showcase, and they said that it was done intentionally to increase the risk of travelling deeper and deeper. I get that, but at the same time, I felt like a lot of time was wasted just trying to return to the surface.

SteamWorld Dig review - Secret passage
The game does a great job rewarding those who take the time to explore.

That small beef aside, the game is incredibly designed. The art is beautiful and the world is interesting and engaging. The characters in town are interesting personalities and the controls are spot on. The game really shines as you begin unlocking new abilities, as the platforming mechanics are wonderfully executed. The game is just great. Everything in it works together seamlessly and I believe that everyone will find something to enjoy in SteamWorld Dig.

SteamWorld Dig Review
Review Summary
SteamWorld Dig is a ton of fun from start to finish. It brings platforming and exploration together wonderfully in a challenging and rewarding way. I simply couldn't stop playing, I was having so much fun. This is a game that should be in your Steam library.
The Good
Incredibly fun.
Platforming at its finest.
A wonderful world worth exploring.
The Bad
Teleporters are a tad too costly.

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