Nintendo 3DS Review: SteamWorld Dig

Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive!

Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive!

By: Uma Smith

Developer Image & Form has just released a Nintendo 3DS title called SteamWorld Dig that proves to pack in a lot of “steam.” If you enjoyed the tower defense action from the previous SteamWorld game on the DS, then you may find this news to be uplifting. This time, however, you’ll be engaging in a 2D platforming experience. So, can you “dig” the changes?

SteamWorld Dig will have you assume control of the hero named Rusty as the story takes place in the town of Tumbleton. Apparently, he has inherited a mine from his uncle, which means he’ll be off to work as he digs his way down with his trusty pickaxe. Expect the setting to consist of a steampunk type of feel where robots dominate the world.

Getting around in SteamWorld Dig is absolutely easy thanks to the precision and accuracy behind the controls. The button arrangements are straightforward enough to figure out while moving Rusty around proves to be responsive. You’ll also be performing a lot of wall jumps as you’ll be coming in and out of the holes that you dig. As such, the controls are top notch and simple to manage.

Your main objective is to mine and collect goods, but along the way you’ll encounter various enemies that prove to be quite a challenge. As you progress further within the environments consisting of stackable ladders and sources of light, you’ll be able to collect more resources. Afterwards, when you come back into town and drop off what you’ve gathered, you’ll be able to get upgrades, including a stronger pickaxe and faster boots.

However, you can’t simply keep on digging without implementing a little strategy. There are rocks that can fall on top of you, similar to what happens in Dig Dug. Furthermore, you’ll notice that the holes you dig are permanent. So you’ll need to plan accordingly if you want to ensure that you’ll be able to easily jump up on walls to get back to town in an efficient manner.

While the visual appearance may look somewhat disappointing, the animations of the characters as well as the 3D effects help keep gameplay lively. The graphical designs and color scheme also add to the pleasures on screen. Meanwhile, the music playing in the background effectively brings out the Western feel to the game’s setting. The sound effects may not be much, but there’s still enough chili to keep things spicy here.

SteamWorld Dig will probably take around five hours to complete. The first 30 minutes may seem pretty slow, to the point that the gameplay feels like a chore, but once you get past that hump you’ll notice the excitement builds up as you uncover more challenges, treasures and upgrades that will have you coming back for more.

OVERALL (3.75/5)

While a price of $8.99 from the Nintendo eShop for SteamWorld Dig may seem a little steep, this particular game leaves quite an impression on account of both its gameplay and presentation. If you’re looking for a little “steam” for you Nintendo 3DS, you’ll want to get your pickaxe going with this title.

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About Herija Green

Avid gamer, adventurous lover and all-around damned handsome man...
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