Steamworld Dig is a mine-em up by ‘Image & Form’, a swedish studio with a catalogue so small, they don’t even have their own wikipedia page. Ouch!
It’s a good thing then, that Steamworld Dig is going to get them some much needed attention.
Did anyone else have hours of their childhood stolen by old browser game ‘Motherload’? Maybe a picture will jog your memory.
Yes? No? Well regardless, that game was the shit. An truly addictive game of dig down, get ore, then come back up sell the ore and upgrade your equipment.
Fast forward to the modern day and we have beautiful Steamworld Dig, which plays… shockingly similar.
Replace hull with Health, Fuel with Light (top right) and we’re almost there. But i’ll stop comparing the two there.
Steamworld Dig is part pure motherload mine-sell-upgrade, part story, part metroidvania and part puzzle. The objective of the game is to get to keep digging deeper to uncover your past, along the way you’ll find rooms which need to be explored and completed to progress, these sort of checkpoints also provide you with new powers or weapons. Back up on the surface, selling your ores will level you up and give you access to better equipment like higher capacity inventory and such.
It is somewhat of a tried and tested formula, but one that works well regardless.
While the game is graphically quite clean, it’s nothing too incredible, The music is meh, maybe 1 track per area, and 3 areas. The game will last you a few hours, I completed it in 3.5 hours, and for some odd reason, they have cut off any major methods of replayability – the ‘mine’ has an impenetrable bottom, and there is no way to randomly generate more ground. Similarly most of the buyable upgrades are honestly kind of boring and even the top tier upgrades don’t have as much punch as you would expect. This sort of leaves a bad taste in the mouth after you upgrade as it doesn’t actually feel much different from what you had before.
Another issue the game has is pacing, you are only able to carry a set amount of loot, and there are few ways to get back to the surface, you can jump all the way back up but this is long and tedious, you can make a teleporter, but this costs a lot of orbs – the same currency used for the permanent upgrades. Your best option then, is to zerg rush your way to the next game made checkpoint (in the form of escape tubes or teleporters), skipping out on all of the loot or any potential confrontations with monsters, just dig straight down and hope you get to another checkpoint soon so you can actually sell your gear.
Steamworld Dig is an interesting and addictive game for the short period of time it lasts, there are some issues with length and replayability due to the way the game has been designed (set rather than procedural), the game also has some issues with character progression. However Steamworld Dig is still a good game, it just could have been even better.
Approximate Game Length : Short (3-5 Hours), little replay value.
Actual Worth / Steam Price: £5 / £7 = 0.714
Should you play it : Yes, though Motherload did it better.