Steamworld Dig


Steamworld Dig opens in a traditional way for Metroidvania games, promising a mystery and exploration of a large mine. It’s almost formulaic in how it presents you with your first few upgrades to unlock new pieces of the mine, but in a good way. It works really well together with the refreshing angle of letting you carve out your own level, and even though the different ways of forcing you to return to the surface feel a bit redundant and annoying, they do serve as a good reminder to keep your path traversable in both directions and your save recent. Also, the extinguishing lamp helps sell the fantasy of exploring a mine really well. It reminds me of Scurge: Hive more than a bit.

The mining itself makes it more of a puzzle game than an exploration game – this is important since there’s not much exploration there. The mine is just as wide from top to bottom and very few upgrades are interesting – nothing is really surprising. A few of them allow you to break new types of blocks or cross bigger chasms, but mostly it is just about letting you progress faster or letting you make longer trips – which in essence are only different ways of making the game less annoying. It doesn’t serve to make the game worse, the customization even improves it slightly by adding a sense of agency, but it is a lost opportunity. Upgrades for the sake of upgrades rather than to introduce variety.

I found it repetitive, the changes introduced by the new types of items and elements did not meaningfully change how the game played. That said, a lot of it comes from high expectations created by a strong introduction and solid core mechanics – I did not mind it being repetitive as it was still good. It just felt like it should have been either shorter or more creative.

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Posted on Dec 24/13 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »