Any nineties kid will remember going to the arcade any playing Dig Dug, a 2D platformer were players dig and find monsters in the dirt and try to avoid being killed; gloriously simple and yet infuriatingly fun. SteamWorld Dig is perhaps the best game of this months PS Plus line-up. Set in a desolate planet, you play a robot who returns to his uncle’s mining town to find him dead and the town quickly becoming a ghost town. So grab your pickaxe and mining gloves as we slowly pick into the masterpiece that is SteamWorld Dig.
The game is simple. As Rusty a steamboat miner you work your way through levels of randomised mines and dirt, find treasure, sell on the surface; and delve back into the depths. In a nutshell Swedish developer Image Form has stuck to the simple mechanics old arcades will remember; but it’s not all as simple as it sounds. You grandfather, a crazed miner, has left upgrades for you to find as you delve deeper and deeper into his boots; from a sprinting ability to a very, very helpful drill.
But it’s not all dirt and upgrades, enemies lurk in the depths and can be released from their fixed state by mining too much around them, and then they really won’t be happy bunnies. There’s a time element as well, due to the darkness all miners need a nifty torch light and yours, well although it can be upgraded, it doesn’t last forever. IF this runs out you may get lucky and find some light or you may have to scramble back up to the surface in order to replenish your supplies.
And with enemies comes death, be it from a robotic turtle that can fire projectiles to drunken hillbillies throwing their bottles at you, evil really is lurking around every block of dirt. And of course, as you go deeper the enemies get harder. IF you die then your loot falls from your pockets in a neat sack you can find in your next life, once you’ve been put back together by your robot friends on the surface. What’s refreshing about visiting the surface, is as you progress further and further and find more and more goods that this will reflect in your mining town above. Basically you’ll be granted with more taverns, shops and fellow robots to talk and take a break with. Not to mention your very own brothel.
As the name suggests a lot of the game is based around steam, steam is used as fuel for your special abilities that will become increasingly needed. From fuelling your steam jump, a super high jump to fuelling your steam punch a super powerful fist that can be thrown at will. There are literally refreshing pools of water that Rusty can drain to refuel his steam, otherwise the game would have a serious faults in it’s *cough mechanics.
The trophies are simple, such as gain so much money and don’t die in one play through which is the hardest trophy of them all. The only down side is that the game can be completed in a few hours but the need for treasure and upgrades means players need to upgrade rather than have a choice in the matter.
Overall the game is great, it’s simple and isn’t trying to be different which is the downfall of so many games these days; overall the game works well with a simple mechanic; players get hooked keep playing and become more and more hooked.