Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

SteamWorld Dig
 BLOG ABOUT THIS

Review: SteamWorld Dig

5:01 PM on 08.21.2013 // Tony Ponce
  @megaStryke

Dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig in your mine the whole day through

On paper, SteamWorld Dig sounds like the most mind-numbing slog that you could possibly imagine. The object of the game is to dig, exchange the minerals you unearth for better equipment, then dig some more. And when you think you've dug deep enough, you start punching the rocks and pick up the pace.

Being forced to perform a singular action ad infinitum can severely impede fun and enjoyment in a videogame. Ironically, the cornerstone of many popular games is the repetition of seemingly mundane tasks with the goal of discovering ever more efficient ways to accomplish said tasks.

What makes the grind in SteamWorld Dig so exhilarating is that each upturned patch of soil is another step towards some grand new discovery. That is, as long as you don't mind digging. A lot.

SteamWorld Dig (3DS)
Developer: Image & Form
Publisher: Image & Form
Release: August 7, 2013 (EU / AU) / August 8, 2013 (US)
MSRP: $8.99

In a steampunk Wild West populated by robots, young Rusty has inherited his Uncle Joe's mine. Ol' Joe apparently lost his life plunging the depths of the mine for its secrets, thus its up to his nephew to take up the pickaxe and continue the journey.

SteamWorld Dig is sort of like an open-world Dig Dug. You must chisel away at the soil to create paths that descend ever deeper, all while avoiding underground obstacles such giant insects, falling stones, and pools of acid. Your field of vision is regulated by how much light you have remaining, so you must use your wall-climbing ability to regularly return to the surface and refill your lantern to avoid fumbling around in the dark.

Topside is a mining town where you can exchange any ore you find for cash and in turn use the cash to purchase new items and upgrades. Sturdier pickaxes will allow you to break through tougher soil in fewer hits, pouch expansions will allow you collect more ore, and so on.

Along the way, you'll enter special caves which offer more straightforward platforming challenges. Here you'll earn upgrades, like as a super jump, a drill arm to break through rocks that your pickaxe can't crack, or dynamite to blow away obstacles from a safe distance. Many of the upgrades are steam-powered, thus you must also mind your water reserves, which can only be refilled in underground pools or by picking up refills from fallen enemies.

That's the gist of it, really. What keeps the journey so thrilling is how customizable it is. Rusty can dig in either of the four cardinal directions but only when he's standing on solid ground. Therefore, you have to chart a path that not only allows access to ore deposits but also provides a clear route back to the town. Do you wish to dig straight down, thereby missing out on money that could be spent towards simplifying your journey, or do you perform a more thorough job and waste precious lantern light?

What results is a root-like labyrinthine of tunnels, chutes, and open expanses entirely of your creation; no two players' excavation work will be identical. How each person digs speaks volumes about their individual traits -- efficiency, curiosity, patience. It almost makes me wish that the game allowed for online progress sharing so that we could compare maps and play methods.

It is actually possible to trap yourself should you dig without concern for your equipment or surroundings. Certain items such as ladders and teleporters can be your saving grace, but should your supply be exhausted, your only option is to self-destruct. You will respawn on the surface, but you'll incur a 50% cash penalty and any ores you were carrying will have to be retrieved at the site of your death. The total amount of ore in the game is limited, so though there's more than enough to purchase every upgrade, repeated carelessness could end your shopping spree.

There's a lot to track and observe in SteamWorld Dig, but you can only understand its brilliance if you push forward through the grind, which may be easier for some than others. The first hour is definitely the hardest -- several swings are required to break through the soil using your weak starter pickaxe, and without the support of Rusty's later upgrades and techniques, progress is as slow and laborious as a real-life mining dig.

Then there's the need to return to the surface. The further down you dig, the longer it takes to climb back out to refill your light or go shopping. Aside from the teleporters you purchase from the shop, you'll find a scant few pre-installed at specific depths. Though they make returning to town a lot easier, you'll still be forced to backtrack a significant stretch as you create distance between yourself and the most recent teleporter. The best you can do is make sure that the return path is as streamlined as possible.

I admit that I felt pretty fed up with the game on a number of occasions precisely because of these shortcomings. Even so, the allure of what lay hidden beneath the surface compelled me onward. Soil gives way to a long-lost subterranean civilization, which then gives way to evidence of a world much more advanced then the one on the surface. Every hundred meters is some new surprise, some new revelation.

There is a genuine allure to SteamWorld Dig, you just have to clear out the rubble to find it.



THE VERDICT

7.5

SteamWorld Dig - Reviewed by Tony Ponce
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Tony Ponce, Former Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure megaStryke Tips
(Decommissioned) Super Fighting Robot more   |   staff directory





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
SteamWorld Dig


  Aug 19

Delve into SteamWorld Dig on Wii U next week

There's supposed to be an easter egg hidden somewhere


  Nov 21

SteamWorld Dig coming to PC/Mac in HD next month

Gorgeous new Steam version on December 5


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Gaming's Beautiful People #4: Valentine's Day Special OR Love Multi-Kills

Exist Archive: The Other Side Of The Sky Import Review

Stupid Teens Do Stupid Things: An Oxenfree Critique

A blog test. Brought to you by Buckner & Garcia

Cblogs of 2/11/16, 2/12/16 + Firethoughts

PS+ Games of the Month January 2016 - Feat. GajKnight and SolarPonyDjango

Your Opinions On Racing Games Are Stupid

The Nerds Have Won

Emily Wants To Play has come to mobile (and I wish it would go away again)

Six Reasons Why YOU Should Buy Soul Sacrifice Delta For $8!

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
The first thing I do when I see clickbait is click on it and complain about clickbait.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Wow, uh, after having a lovely time with Kirby Air Ride, I decided to try playing some melee, for old times sake... I pretty much disliked my whole time with it. More details in a comment if I get around to it.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Help me gather games for a new blog series - "Worst Sequels Ever"
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
The backend code on the site so fun to read. Going through some of Julio's old stuff: if($vars["fappers"]){ $fappoids = 0; $_xt_loop_name = "fappers"; $vars["fappers_cnt"] = count($vars["fappers"]); reset($vars["fappers"]);
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Watching the second Guyver Movie: Dark Hero, starring David -Solid Snake- Hayter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Roie47-Cuk
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
You didn't think I forgot what day it is did you?
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Gonna retire the MOARgasmic avatar for awhile.
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Will you be mine?
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Got out of Deadpool. It definitely was a movie with Deadpool in it. Some parents were shocked to learn it was also rated R for a reason.
Sarah Jane farron avatarSarah Jane farron
So... gender and biology. All I'll say here is please respect people and their identities and don't try to push assumptions as fact. It doesn't need to be said to most here but denying people their identities is pretty harmful and very unpleasant.
Niwannabe avatarNiwannabe
Any PS4 recommendations for a guy who can't afford PS+, since all I've got is Battlefront and there's next to nothing to do in that game?
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
if you were experiencing lag with the dev site today, can you please try again? I moved some js around and am loading smaller avatars for people. some quickpost photos are scaled from gigantic raw uploads so we are optimizing those next to zip things up
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
It's happening people... they're gonna kill off my favourite character... but he's taking someone else with him *massive spoilers in video*
FakePlasticTree avatarFakePlasticTree
Can I just say that I really dig the intro music for Yakuza 5? It's pumping!
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Hmm... yeah, this seems right.
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
Would anyone be willing to help out dear ol' Dreamweaver with Destiny? Need a partner to tackle 7+ matches of Crimson Doubles for that 320 Light Ghost Shell. Will have to work on Comments of the Week first, but will be on later. I suck at the game though.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I'm not digging Trine too much. It has really screwy controls.
ShadeOfLight avatarShadeOfLight
Sonic the Hedgehog's Twitter account gave dating advice here: http://www.gamesradar.com/dating-advice-real-sonic-hedgehog/ I am now significantly less bitter about Valentine's Day.
absolutfreak avatarabsolutfreak
Tried out The Lost Vikings for the first time in Heroes of the Storm. Lots of fun, but I've got a long way to go before I could consider myself remotely good with them.
Malthor avatarMalthor
Dear Lord, I think I've stumbled over the most bullshit boss fight I've seen in a long time. "Here, let me summon 2-3 mnions each turn. They inflict all of the status effects btw, as do I. Have fun!"
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -