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Steamworld Dig 2 Review (Nintendo Switch)

October 2, 2017 | Posted by Stewart Lange
Steamworld Dig 2
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Steamworld Dig 2 Review (Nintendo Switch)  

Having not owned a Switch for long and predominantly gaming on my Xbox One, I really needed a hook game, something to really endear the console to me. While I can’t discount Legend Of Zelda as being a masterpiece, my gaming time has been so taken up with other things lately that I’ve not been able to give it the love that it so likely deserves. Given the epic nature of Breath of the Wild, it just seems like such a daunting undertaking and with so many great games out at the moment it just wasn’t able to suck me in the way I imagined or hoped it would. This made me question my Switch ownership slightly, if I couldn’t get into arguably the big console seller at this point, then what would grab me and convince me the Switch is a console I can get behind?

Thankfully, I was introduced to Steamworld Dig 2. With no knowledge of the series to this point, I have been pleasantly surprised with nearly every aspect of this game. The art style is beautiful, with cartoony graphics bringing the steampunk world to life, with many creatures both friend and foe. Despite not being an especially large game, this allows everything to have been beautifully hand crafted both in the graphics and design of the world. This attention to detail also allows for a thoughtfully created environment, with every exactly where the developer wanted it to be, as opposed to the procedurally generated world of the first (I did my research). This makes for a delightfully exciting adventure with plenty of fun, excitement and exactly the right kind of frustration.

For those of you who may be as familiar with Steamworld Dig as I was a week or two ago, let me bring you up to speed. You play the role of Dorothy, known as Dot, who is off to look for the protagonist of the first game in the series. She’s joined by a wisecracking flame who helps her see in dark places, of which there will be plenty as you get into the main portion of the game. You’ll also meet the inhabitants of a mechanical town, under which you’ll spend the majority of your time. Down you’ll dig, finding hidden areas, enemies and minerals that you’ll be able to take back to the town to sell in order to upgrade your gear. You’ll also find new abilities underground, meaning that before long, you’ll not only be relying on your trusty pickaxe, but also a jackhammer, a grapple hook and even sticky bombs.

Digging is only a part of this game, as it’s less like Dig-Dug and a bit more along the lines of Metroid when you get to the platforming areas. Despite there being nothing incredibly challenging, the levels are well designed and will make you think hard before you’ll be able to finish them. The rewards can be anything from new equipment to upgrade cogs, which all make digging and traversing levels easier. This in turn allows you to revisit old areas of the game and maybe get to parts of levels you had difficulty with earlier. It’s this sense of growth along with the farming of minerals for gold that make this such an addictive experience, with the difficulty at a nice level so at no point you feel like the game is kicking you for failing, but rather helping you along on the occasions you do die.

It’s not all plain sailing, though. Without spoilers, there are a few bosses which gave me an extremely hard time and a few of the levels are suddenly quite difficult compared to what you’ve just been doing. These don’t happen often, but are scattered throughout the game just enough to keep you on your toes. In traversing the tunnels below you shouldn’t run into too much difficulty, but your health can disappear quite quickly- especially if you’ve run out of light and can’t see an enemy lurking in the rocks below. There are fast travel points around the place, so this never feels as tense as it maybe should as you can hop back to the town to empty your rucksack of goodies which refills your health. As such, Dig 2 is maybe lacking a sense of claustrophobia and genuine peril that could have really pushed it over the edge.

Despite being a mere indie title, Steamworld Dig 2 should be considered amongst the best the Switch has to offer, regardless of who made it. While it may get lost in the pack a little bit on the PS4, there aren’t really enough games on the Switch to really compete with Dig 2 just yet and for that reason alone deserves your attention. There’s plenty here for everyone to enjoy and despite maybe being a little bit simplistic or easy for some peoples tastes, it’s certainly worth sticking with throughout Dot’s journey because at no point does Steamworld lose any of the charm or fun that you’ll have found right at the beginning.

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
With tonnes of fun, a great art style and an extremely addictive hook, Steamworld Dig 2 is in the running for being my favourite Indie title of 2017. It's warm, charming and highly recommended.

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Steamworld Dig 2, Stewart Lange