Developer: Image and Form
Publisher: Image and Form
Category: Platformer, Action, Adventure, Puzzle
Release Date: 02.01.2018
Steamworld Dig started to become a household name when it first released in 2013. When Steamworld Dig 2 came out, it solidified its name in the metroidvania-platformer as a favorite. Having reviewed Steamworld Dig 2 several months ago, I was excited to get my hands on the game that started it all. Steamworld Dig for Nintendo Switch finally lets us see the full and real story of why Dorothy was desperately looking for Rusty. If you haven’t played either game, I highly suggest you start from the beginning. After I beat Steamworld Dig, I went back and played Steamworld Dig 2 all over again.
What is most exciting about Steamworld Dig being ported to Nintendo Switch is that Image and Form left it as is; no extra bells and whistles, modes, or features. No, it is the exact game from the 3DS brought to Nintendo Switch, and that couldn’t make me happier. The game starts off by throwing you right in to mining; Rusty lands in the humble little town of Tumbleton to inherit your uncles mine. Your uncle hasn’t been seen in some time, so you start digging in the mines to find out where he went and what happened to him. After stumbling upon his body you gank his pickaxe and with about as much emotion as a potato is able to express, you head off to explore the mines.
The game play can seem a bit repetitive; you will spend your time digging as deep in the mine as you can, collect as many minerals as you can, head back up to Tumbleton to sell your minerals, buy upgrades and try to level up. The amount of minerals you spend will determine how quickly you level up, as it is determined by the dollar amount that you earn. There is a heavy emphasis on exploring and searching the caves you run across for upgrades that your uncle has mysteriously left behind for you.
The main part of Steamworld Dig is its exploration, though you will have to battle enemies here and there. The enemies do tend to get more difficult as you get deeper in to the mines, but as you upgrade your tools you should be able to knock them out without an issue. Apart from Vectrons, one such creature Rusty will encounter on his adventure are the cave-dwelling Slimers; they are what’s left of the human race and have devolved in to essentially…what you expect Grandpa to turn in to once he hits his 100th birthday and can no longer recognize reality.
Through the collection of precious minerals and golden cogs, Rusty will be able to upgrade his found gear in to ultimate weapons and mining tools. As Rusty upgrades all of his gear, he will be able to reach depths that were not available to him before. But you, as Rusty, need to make sure you make plenty of trips back to the surface because, if you die, you will lose a decent portion of what is in your pack. While you can go back down to where you died and pick up your lost items, that is a complete pain in the butt and waste of time. Sell those ores to buy things such as newer and bigger carrying pouches, more life, more water tanks, longer lasting lantern, stronger pickaxe, and much, much more. Not all upgrades are available from the beginning of the game, so this is where leveling up is a must, as the higher your level, the better the upgrades that will be available to you for purchase.
There are two items that came in very handy to have on hands at all times; portals and ladders. While there are portal areas spread throughout the mines, sometimes you face yourself with needing to get back to the surface in a hurry and aren’t anywhere near one of the portal spots. This is where having one is pretty handy; lay it down in a safe spot and get your butt back to the surface. You can reuse the same teleporter infinitly, but you can’t move it. This is why you will want to collect every orb that you can throughout the mines. Secondly, ladders come in useful for when you make a digging mistake. Say you’re out of water and no where near a spot to refill your tanks and you cant jump to a ledge to let you hop up the rest of the mine. Set a few ladders on top of each other and voila! Now you can reach it!
Dig isn’t anywhere near as big or as long as Dig 2, as I beat the entire game in just under 6 hours, the game is definitely worth the play. Not only is Dig a different experience every time you play, as rooms are generated and thus different in every play through, but also this is playing the roots of the Steamworld series. In Dig 2, we get snippets of what happened to Rusty, but playing through Dig gives you the full background.
Graphically, Dig is just as crisp as Dig 2. While Dig 2 has a few little upgrades in style, overall the style remains the same and will make you feel like you really are in the same Steamworld World. The music gives a great ambiance to the gameplay and, though Dig 2 is a more refined version of the game, Dig is far from a “less than” version. The way I see it, Dig 2 is a sequel, not a perfected…and I like to play a good series from the beginning. While it has a short play-through, the story is solid and the game is addictive, I couldn’t put it down!
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