Review: SteamWorld Dig 2
The SteamWorld franchise started off as another one of those small Indie projects that released on DSiWare back in the old days. SteamWorld: Tower Defense was born and brought SteamWorld Dig and SteamWorld Heist to the Nintendo 3DS later on, adding some of my personal favorite gaming memories to the system.The SteamWorld games all revolve around variation in gameplay but now it’s time to redefine the formula that was introduced in SteamWorld Dig. SteamWorld 2 is far more than just another Indie game and so it deserves a ‘normal’ review.
Got to find Rusty
Booting up SteamWorld Dig 2 on a Nintendo Switch feels like a homecoming. The franchise has a huge history with Nintendo but eventually jumped to other consoles, only to spread the love among gamers, of course! SteamWorld Dig 2 releases on a variety of consoles the next couple of days, but for me personally, the Nintendo Switch version has to be my favorite one. The moment you boot up the game for the first time, you’ll immediately fall in love.
In this sequel, you’ll play as Dorothy who’s looking for Rusty (this happens shortly after the events of SteamWorld Dig 1). Dorothy looks good on the Nintendo console and everything around her looks as sharp and polished as possible. It’s clear that the team behind the game is proud of their product. Playing it on a television results in great images but I liked playing in handheld mode slightly better, being as close as possible to this magic is truly the point of it all.
Once you took in the gorgeous details, you’re free to go on your adventure. At first, the game guides you towards your first upgrade and even gives you the opportunity to defeat your very own first boss! All this happens in the first ten minutes of the game, so the opening is definitely memorable. Once you reach your first goals, you’re off to discover the rest of the world by digging your way through it.
Time to dig
Just like in the first SteamWorld Dig game, this one is all about digging your way through different environments. This time, you’ll face a lot of different ones, each with their own unique style and setting. Discovering those is by far one of the most fun features the game has. Of course, you’re not entirely on your own and you’ll meet with other robots regularly. If you’ve played games in the franchise before, you know these robots are a true pleasure to meet thanks to their absurd sense of humor and strange way of speaking. For me, SteamWorld Dig 2 is more than a Metroidvania game since meeting these virtual characters is just too much fun to ignore. I was also pleasantly surprised with the story. It goes way deeper (pun intended) than the original one, so you’ll truly connect with Dorothy and her struggles.
Enter a magical world
And struggling she will. Finding Rusty isn’t an easy task and it’s filled with danger. Digging your way through the levels starts off rather easy, but the more you advance, the more difficult it all gets. Of course, the game still is a Metroidvania type game. Meaning you’ll be blocked several times until you find the right upgrade. Thanks to your personal helper (a flying lightbulb with a familiar name), you’ll always know where to search. The game enables you to show you where you need to go on the mini-map. It’s an interesting feature I kept on using during my adventures since I don’t really like getting lost, of course, if this isn’t challenging enough, you can always switch it off.
Now, with the help or without, finding upgrades is crucial to advance. The first upgrades aren’t that special (think about the dashing move) but later upgrades will give you some nice new tools to mess around with. Every upgrade unlocks new paths and a few steps closer to discover the truth. Besides digging, you’ll have to face enemies in the ground as well, it’s here where the game truly shines.
Be smart before you dig
This isn’t one of those brain-dead games, if you want to survive, you’ll need to rethink your next move. Since you’re constantly digging your way down and around enemies, it’s important to keep the option open to return to the surface. If you dig out the wrong blocks, it won’t be that easy to escape. It’s great to see that the team really went crazy with the enemies since they added a lot of different ones this time around. Every type of enemy behaves differently and needs a different approach to defeat.
Digging in order to defeat the enemies isn’t your only goal. Just like in the first one, the ground is filled with precious ores. These ores can be traded for in-game money and this money can be used to acquire new gear. This only adds to the extra layer of gameplay. SteamWorld Dig 2 isn’t just an easy platformer/Metroidvania, it offers a lot more elements. Since the team learned a lot from their older games, this one redefines all the things that made the franchise good in the first place. Everything you loved is still here but it’s even better than ever! It’s like meeting up with an old soulmate who went missing for years.
One of the biggest additions here are the cogs. Most of them are found in special challenge rooms where you’ll need to prove that you master your recently acquired upgrades. Cogs are very crucial since they give special abilities to your tools and gadgets. The best part about it is that you’re free to move them around as you please, opening up a lot of possibilities to prepare for the next environment. It adds another layer of strategy to the game and it, once again, works like a charm.
There was a time where the SteamWorld franchise wasn’t that popular among gamers since they simply hadn’t played it yet. During that time, SteamWorld was my little secret, a secret too good to share with a lot of others. Years later, SteamWorld is one of the bigger franchises and I couldn’t be happier. Games like SteamWorld Dig 2 shouldn’t be kept a secret, as many gamers as possible should at least try it once, believe me, you’ll fall in love. SteamWorld Dig 2 is the perfect entry in the franchise, it looks amazing, plays amazingly and leaves you behind wanting for more.