"...crazy short, especially for a game that has such an addictive feedback loop..."
Steamworld Dig is a 2D platformer with a heavy emphasis on mining. It takes place in a world of steam-powered robots in a wild-west setting of sorts. You inherit your uncle's mine and start digging. The mine consists of some open spaces, but mostly solid dirt that you carve out as you go. You start with a pick-axe and get some drills and such later. The mining areas are really large, and it's really cool to see the mini-map in the corner reflect how you carve out the mine to your liking. You'll be pursuing precious gems and minerals that you can see in the dirt and work your way towards. When you fill up your bag, you head to the surface and sell them, and then buy new equipment and upgrades that make you more effective at digging, holding gems, or storing water and light. You need light from you lantern to see the dirt around you. If you run out of lantern power, the mine goes dark and you can only see areas you've already dug out. This makes it almost impossible to work your way toward minerals since you can't see where they are. You need water for your steam-powered equipment, such as your drill. It's pretty cool that the main way to get water is to find pools of it in the environment and suck it up into your reservoirs.
There are also some enemies to contend with, but not a lot, especially considering that they are easy to avoid and it is often a good idea to avoid them. If you see a tough enemy, it's usually a great idea to dig a path around them, especially since you don't need to kill them for experience points or anything like that and because your mining equipment is not the best at killing things. There aren't any weapons, you just use your mining equipment on enemies, and it is general not that effective.
Major upgrades are found inside separate caves inside the mines that are sort of like puzzle rooms. They require you to do some trick digging or maneuvering to get to an upgrade chamber, and then walk you through how the upgrade works with a few puzzles that involve the upgrade. Upgrades include dashing, drilling, double-jumping, etc.
Steamworld Dig is short. It took me like 4 hours or so to beat. That's crazy short, especially for a game that has such an addictive feedback loop of digging for minerals (which is fun in-and-of itself) and buying upgrades. One of the most fun parts of the game for me was going back through the whole game and finding every mineral I could and buying all the upgrades after I had beaten it, which took just a few more hours. I can see this game being much, much larger than it is and involving a lot more mining than is required of you in the short campaign. The idea of drilling through a gigantic mine with little story progression to guide you seems like it would be a better fit here than the short little adventure you get.
Nevertheless, the game is very solid. Everything feels smooth and digging is fun. The character design and huge, colorful HD portraits seen during conversations really pop off the screen too, and the music feels like it was ripped straight out of a spaghetti western in a really good way. It just needs to be longer. It's a 3 out of 5.
Community review by Robotic_Attack (February 27, 2016)
Robotic Attack reviews every game he plays... almost.
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