SteamWorld Dig PS4 Review
Publisher: Image & Form Developer: Image & Form Genre: Platformer, Action Adventure
Players: 1 Age Rating: 7+ Other console/handheld formats: Wii U, 3DS, Vita
SteamWorld Dig is a critically acclaimed title, set in a futuristic, ye’ old West. You control Rusty, a steambot who comes back to his hometown of Tumbleton after receiving a deed to the local mine from his Uncle Joe. Just what was his Uncle up to all the way down in the mines? That is the mystery for Rusty to unravel.
The story otherwise is bland and simple, lacking any real story-telling or profoundness. However, as with most titles of this nature, the emphasis has been placed mostly on gameplay, with the main goal of the game being to dig and dig, and dig some more. Rusty starts out with very basic equipment to do this, with the player being able to upgrade as the game progresses. Using various items such as a drill or pickaxe, Rusty can break through rocks and mine for various types of ore, which he can then sell in order to purchase said upgrades, making it easier as he digs ever deeper down the rabbit hole.
The upgrades are varied, with all the usual options there, such as armour to increase your health bar, or added water tanks for your water meter, with water being Rusty’s main energy source. There are other interesting upgrades and items to unlock; selling ore increases the number of inhabitants that set up shop in Tumbleton, offering more chances to purchase powerful upgrades.
Digging for and collecting ore is addictive fun, and from the first rock you crumble, you will be instantly hooked. Being able to carve out your own route is certainly appealing, and as you dig, you can uncover various hidden sub-areas for Rusty to explore. However, keep in mind whereabouts you dig, as you may end up getting yourself stuck, and if you have to self-destruct from the main menu, it will lose you precious money, needed to purchase those essential upgrades. Collecting ore is enjoyable, with the selling price of the ore increasing as you uncover rarer gems, with the Diamond ore being the rarest and most expensive to sell, at $500.
There are many obstacles and enemies standing in Rusty’s way, such as falling boulders, ancient trilobites and Shiners, who are often armed with a barrel, full of bottles of hooch to toss at Rusty, or armed with explosive dynamite. The range of enemies is varied, with Rusty coming up against increasingly difficult foes as he travels further underground.
The combat in the game is basic, though enemies can be avoided if needed; enemies are placed to hinder your progress as opposed to having needed to be defeated to continue onward. The emphasis of the game is all about exploration and discovery as opposed to fighting opponents, and so combat is not the most important aspect of the adventure. However, if defeated, enemies drop pick-ups that help to increase your health bar, water meter or fire for your lantern, and so can be used to your advantage.
The look of the game is very charming with its bright colours, graphic art style, and variation in the design of the levels; as the player digs deeper, the area surrounding you changes to signify that you have entered a new place, and it is certainly different than being told that you have started a new level, adding to the continuous flow of the game. The character design is full of personality and even though the characters themselves lack depth, they are still decidedly likable.
The sound in the game is also very simple, with the gameplay accompanied by a haunting, but unexciting, soundtrack, which can become rather repetitive to listen to.
For those gamers who are completists, there are a total of 24 trophies to attain. Unfortunately, there is not a lot to come back to once the game has been completed, which can take up to around 7 hours. Most of the upgrades become pointless if the player has completed the game before unlocking them all, and the majority are not even necessary to defeat the final boss.
Overall, SteamWorld Dig is a safe and steady game, and is a must for more casual game players who prefer a comfy journey as opposed to a strenuous challenge. It certainly deserves a lot of praise; with only a few minor problems, it certainly doesn’t inhibit any fun you can experience. At £7.29, there is a fair amount to uncover. If you have a busy lifestyle and are looking for a quick and enjoyable time-waster, then this is the game for you.