Steamworld Dig for Linux Review

very good
key review info
  • Game: Steamworld Dig for Linux
  • Platform: Linux
  • Gamepad support: Yes  
  • Reviewed on:
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Steamworld Dig gameplay

Steamworld Dig is a 2D adventure game at heart, but it’s also one of the few platform mining adventures out there.

Steamworld Dig is not a game developed by a large company and it shows, but not in a bad way. A big development studio would have insisted on useless features like boss battles or some other gimmicks. The guys from Image & Form have managed to go around these modern “requirements” and delivered something that should keep people occupied and interested for hours on end.

Surprisingly enough, this game has been ported from 3DS and released simultaneously on Linux, Windows, and Mac OS. This is somewhat different from the usual norm, but we, the Linux players, have learned not to be too picky, especially when it’s about a good game.

Story and gameplay

Right from the bat you will understand that this is not your usual 2D adventure. It stands out through a unique art style and a funky steampunk atmosphere that blends perfectly with the game.

You will step into the shoes of Rusty, a mining robot powered by steam that arrives in the city of Tumbleton to explore the mines left by his uncle Joe, which you will find lying dead. The only inheritance consists of a vast mine and an old pickaxe.

Finding uncle Joe is not a traumatic event
Finding uncle Joe is not a traumatic event

As you might expect, you will start mining with the most primitive instruments, but you will be able to start the upgrades soon after the first round of explorations. The first item on the list will be a better pickaxe, followed by ladder, oil reserves, and more.

You will also find out that the mines are not exactly empty and that the ore will not come by easily. Most of the time you will just be driven by the upgrade system to get more metals and to improve your tools, but there are other things down there besides some fossilized creatures and precious metals.

Right from the beginning, when I understood the premise of the gameplay, I had an overwhelming feeling that it was somehow related to the dwarves’ story from Lord of the Rings. When Gandalf talks about the dwarves from the Mine of Moria, he says they were too greedy and they dug too deep, unveiling an ancient evil hidden in the mountain.

This feeling followed me during the gameplay. Every time I strayed from the story path in some distant corner of the mine, just to unveil an entrance that was well hidden and that couldn’t have been found without a lot of persistence, I immediately thought I had dug too far and something would strike from the shadows.

If there’s something bad that can be said about Steamworld Dig is that it lacks the element of surprise. Sure enough, you will find a lot more interesting things buried, including the remnants of the human civilization, but there is nothing down there that could have pushed the game over the edge.

Just one of the fuzzy little creatures from the mine
Just one of the fuzzy little creatures from the mine

Rusty has two main resources that are necessary, fuel and water. If the fuel is not really an issue, the water, which is required for a lot of upgrades, is pretty scarce and the lack thereof will always haunt you.

You will always have to choose between advancing further down and hoping that some of the enemies you will defeat drop some fuel, or returning to the surface, cashing out of the gathered ore, and upgrading something.

The path to the main objective is usually quite clear and easily obtainable but, if you don’t go on exploring all the corners, it’s going to be very difficult to progress further. There are a lot of secrets buried in the mines, from very special ores, to entire rooms of goodies.

Steamworld Dig could have used a deeper storyline and a lot scarier and enigmatic stuff down into the mine, but it will do just fine the way it is. It's not exactly long, but the fact that the levels are randomized should provide more than enough re-playability.

The Good

  • Beautiful art style
  • Randomly generated levels
  • Secrets buried deep in the mine

The Bad

  • Should have provided more enemies

Conclusion

Sometimes it is enough for a game to just be pretty but, in the case of Steamworld Dig, it's a little different. The title comes with an addictive gameplay and the feeling that a major discovery is a just around the corner is constantly badgering the player.

In the end, Steamworld Dig is fun to play and gives the players an enigma to solve and a pickaxe to get to it. If you can trim everything from the gameplay, it seems that those two elements are everything you need for a great game.



story 7
gameplay 9
concept 9
graphics 8
audio 8
multiplayer 0
final rating 8
Editor's review
very good
 
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