March 18, 2014

Steamworld Dig Review for PS4 and PS Vita

Ready for an addictive adventure game rife with exploration and upgrades? Image & Form have developed a game for the PS consoles you will really... dig. 

Steamworld Dig has already been available for the 3DS and Steam for a while now, and finally it is coming home to our consoles. Good news is, it is cross-buy for the systems for $10 (or $8 if you have PS+). The title is not cross save, however, so you won't be uploading save files for transfer back and forth this time. 

Welcome to Tumbleton!
Branded as a “platform mining adventure” in a steampunk/Western setting, SteamWorld Dig lets players take the role of Eastwood-esque robot protagonist Rusty in order to save a mining town in need. The plot thickens as he digs deeper into an underground full of treasure and terrors...
You'll be instantly addicted to the treasure hunting and upgrades system
Vibrant colors and sharp and smooth character animations set the background for the game. Your digging and jumping happens at a beautiful 60 FPS on both systems... super smooth and fun to watch. The characters themselves are fun to interact with as the story progresses and the town becomes repopulated again as you bring wealth back to the people. 
Soon you find yourself uncovering a dark secret...
Climbing and dropping and drilling are all easy to accomplish... however I found it a tad tricky getting to jump to a specific platform with any consistency. At times you need to jump to a "one" square floating out there and you'll be a little peeved when you fall many times trying. 

Mining isn't as easy as digging straight down. You will miss areas (or have to dig from the top down again) unless you plan out your excavating. I found a good technique was to dig down one or two spaces and then prep two side tunnels just in case I wanted to dig across. You'll soon develop techniques as you explore. 

The tools, items, and upgrades are the bread and butter of this game. After the first 10 minutes or so, you will get an upgrade and always be asking yourself, "What is next?" or "What should I buy?" Should you expand your water pressure system? Or buy that new pick ax upgrade? This coupled with the storyline keep you addicted. 

No, it is not a far reaching epic story, but the townsfolk come back and open their businesses thanks to your progress. Strange technology is awakened as you dig and with it a mystery revealed. 

You'll get into the mood with a cool Borderlands/Western sci fi music theme going on. Very ethereal and mood setting. You'll hear critters sleeping in the depths as you approach them, furthering the mood. Good stuff to accompany you on your digs to the bottom.

Minor annoyances: 
You might find jumping all the way back up to the top or transporter or tube to be a little cumbersome. Plan your pathways, invest in some teleporters at the store, and you'll be ok.

I wish jumping onto ledges were a bit more forgiving. A reach thing would've been nice... what I mean is that if you jumped close to a ledge if would've been nice if the hero would just pull himself up to it.

Verdict: 8.5/10
A game that rewards the adventuresome explorer with a load of upgrades and a sense of uncovering the past. 

You will like this game if you:

  • enjoy mining and discovery games (although you craft less and upgrade more)
  • want a bargain... $8-10 for a cross buy title on PS4 and Vita. Nice!
  • like a colorful cast of creative clunky characters with a super smooth finish to the game (both the PS Vita and PS4 versions looked and played amazingly)
You might not like: 
  • repeated wandering through tunnels in the dark to get back to town (upgrades do help, though)
  • the need for exact jumping may be tough for some players (again, practice makes perfect)
Thanks for reading, and thanks to Image & Form for providing a game code for me to review!

Comment below with any questions, or what you are looking forward to in the game!

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