The story in SteamWorld Dig is almost non existent. The player take’s the role as Rusty, a lone mining steambot, as he arrives to an old mining town in great need. Dig your way through the old earth, gaining riches while uncovering the ancient threat that lurks below. Whilst there isn’t much of a story as you play through the game, this general premise is enough to keep you going with a general understanding of why you are where you are.
SteamWorld dig is an impressive looking game. It has beautiful sprites and extremely fluid animation. The beautifully created sprites create one of the nicest art styles that i’ve seen on a 3DS game. If I had one little nitpick with the visuals it’d be that the 3D didn’t add much. Whilst it changed the depth of the background I really feel that it could’ve done more to make things pop in the underground. I feel like puzzles could’ve also used 3D to explore different gameplay mechanics.
The game has an incredibly catchy sound track. It’s clear that Image & Form put a lot of effort into the many sound effects that this game employes from it’s Western backdrop. It really complements the overall presentation to make this an extremely believable Wild Western themed game.
At the core SteamWorld Dig is about a character called Rusty who inherits a mineshaft from his uncle. You gain a pickaxe and must hack away at dirt in order to retrieve minerals to sell to the townspeople. Whilst this sounds quite simple, the game rewards you with a number of upgrades along the way which allow you to get to new places that you weren’t able to reach before. Some of these upgrades include the ability to run faster and jump higher or drill through dirt that you weren’t able to get through before.
It’s an extremely great concept that allows for a lot more puzzles to be introduced and does extremely well to keep the game feeling fresh for the entire way through. The game’s pacing is incredible and really spaces out the upgrades and new gameplay mechanics well. You never feel as though you’re plugging through dirt repetitively for nothing.
Enemies also play a part in the underground world. There are a number of different enemies but are more of a nuisance than anything. They’re largely unimaginative and just require a simple few hits of the axe in order to kill them. I would’ve liked to see more imagination put into them and have them play a larger part of the game. They seem to break up the exploration every now and then with not adding much.
Whether you love this game or not will depend on what type of gamer you are. The game is an extremely slow grind and based on exploration more than enemy encounters. It rewards taking the time to dig through every grain of dirt and find gems in order to upgrade your weaponry. There is a number of ways to die and doing so has big consequences.
The one disappointment was that the game has a number of equipment to buy in the form of torches and ladders but I found that uses for these were few and far in-between. I would’ve if I was made to use my mind a bit more in careful placement in ladders. There isn’t much challenge in making sure that you can always get back to the top.
SteamWorld Dig is a great entry into the eShop. I’d recommend it for any 3DS gamer on its price alone. There is a lot of content to be explored but keep in mind, it’s an extremely slow paced game and really promotes exploring and taking your time to look at every nook and cranny. The game is definitely a breath of fresh air and an experience that i’ve never gotten from another game.