SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt (3DS, Wii U, PC, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4 & PlayStation Vita)

Developer(s) – Image & Form

Publisher(s) – Various

Project Leader – Olle Hakansson

Somewhat similar to Terraria, SteamWorld Dig is a 2D platformer centering round the concept of mining and improving equipment. Though it isn’t quite as varied or as satisfying as the former, I still found it to be a fairly enjoyable game for how little time it unfortunately lasts.

Graphics – 7/10

In terms of both conceptual design and visual diversity, there is something fairly unique in this game. It’s set in an old Western town whereby it’s inhabitants are robots. It would have been interesting to see that concept explored a little bit more than it was, but that could be saved for a sequel potentially. As players delve deeper into the underground caves, there are also different setting present as well as different enemies and so on. My favourite aspect of this game in terms of visuals and sound, however, is the extremely effective use of lighting throughout, and how the game’s soundtrack adds to its atmosphere flawlessly.

Gameplay – 7/10

Throughout, this game is pretty satisfying to play. There is a fair amount of incentive on offer for those who are willing to complete it too 100%, and attain every upgrade and ability. But I can’t help but feel that some kind of endless mode could have been added to it. One such idea I have that would make a possible sequel is that the player would have to use what minerals the mine from the underground to build and maintain a town or community.

Controls – 10/10

As a 2D side scrolling game, there shouldn’t really have been any issues with the game’s controls, and so there are none, thankfully. It incorporates a very simple gameplay concept, and therefore, a very simple control scheme, and though it does little to innovate the genre, what it does do had been handled properly.

Lifespan – 5/10

SteamWorld Dig can be made to last about 6 and a half hours in all, and as I alluded to earlier, I don’t think it lasts anywhere near as long as a game of either it’s magnitude or potential would permit it to. Like Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, I believe there are a plethora of ideas that the developers of this game could incorporate to make a possible sequel to top it; all of these ideas coming together to make for a bigger and better gaming experience.

Storyline – 6/10

The story revolves around a robot called Rusty, who has come to a small mining town named Tumbleton after receiving a mining deed from his long-lost uncle. How the story develops doesn’t make for a terrible narrative in my opinion, and it is interesting to see which way it goes. But my gripes with it is that it is pretty hard to relate or empathize with the character of Rusty, since he is a character of only a few words, and would most probably have worked better as either a silent protagonist, or with much more dialogue than what its present. Though I won’t give away what happens at the end, how the story finishes would also suggest to me that a sequel should be merely set on some kind of basic premise, as opposed to having a story containing a beginning, middle and end.

Originality – 6/10

I think despite how much it differs from other video games, both visually and conceptually, I still found myself thinking of a plethora of different ideas and elements that the developers could have incorporated to make this game as good as it had the potential to be. There was the ideas I had about it having an endless mode and a much different and meaningful in-game objective, but there could also be elements like a much bigger open world attached to it, and even more incentive and variety in gameplay to make it as entertaining as possible.

Niiutral

Niiutral

However, despite the various qualms I had with it, SteamWorld Dig was a good enough game to hold my interest for at least those few hours. It’s certainly one of the better indie games I’ve played, and there is indeed potential for the developers to take the series to new heights.

Score

41/60

6.5/10 (Above Average)

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