I was truly impressed by SteamWorld Dig when I reviewed the original release of it on the Nintendo 3DS last year. It was a hugely creative little game that successfully merged platformer and Mr Driller-style play together, and mixed in a really neat steam punk theme that helped it stand out in what is a fairly “safe” genre.
The game was a success on the 3DS and the developer, Image & Form, has since released it on PC via Steam. And now, finally, it comes to PlayStation, both console and Vita.
The first thing that’s immediately noticeable about the game is it looks far better on the Vita’s slick screen than it looked on the 3DS. It was a pretty game then, and now it’s a gorgeous game, and that works to SteamWorld’s benefit. The steam punk theme is so central to this game’s appeal that anything that enhances its visual impact in turn helps the game’s quality.
With that said, the visual theme of the game is so strong now that the general lack of a plot is even more noticeable with the Vita version of the game. I was truly craving some context to explain why these awesome robots were sentient and populating tiny towns in the wild west. I’m looking forward to future SteamWorld games in the future; we’re promised that they are coming, and hopefully they will build out a world that has had an intriguing start here.
The game itself hasn’t been touched from the Nintendo 3DS release, and that’s a good thing. Players start at the top of a mine, and then dig downwards keeping an eye out for precious minerals and avoiding traps. It’s easy going at first, but the rewards are minimal. Digging deeper, the loot gets more valuable but enemies become tougher and the traps become nastier. And then there’s the ever persistent threat of running out of light.
Every time you head into a dungeon you have a light meter which slowly depletes with time. If it runs out then it’s not pleasant for our hero buddy, so you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got easy paths back to the surface set up so that you’re able to escape back quickly when needed – light resets with every trip to the surface.
Within the mine there’s a couple of caves which feature some basic puzzles and platforming that need to be undertaken in order to unlock additional abilities, which will enable you to dig even more deeply into the mine. It’s a basic progression system, but it comes at such a nice pace that it’s easy to settle into a rhythm and play for hours at a time.
The game is ultimately over far too quickly for its own good, but that’s the sign of a truly entertaining game; I simply wanted more. I really can’t see anyone not enjoying this, regardless of your tastes as a gamer.
– Matt S.
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