It’s a tale of friendship, of sacrifice, of betrayal, of incompetent mayors and of a rocket. It’s SteamWorld Dig 2.
I was a great fan of the first SteamWorld Dig, having played it quite a bit on the PlayStation 4. I even managed to come across the final boss, but the sudden spike in difficulty stopped me from completing it. So, when I had some credit recently on the Nintendo eShop, I didn’t think twice about picking up SteamWorld Dig 2 for my trusty Switch.
In some ways, the sequel to Rusty’s adventure is more of the same; namely digging through rock for precious ores and minerals that you sell, with the proceeds going to improving your equipment. This time around, as you take Dorothy on a journey to find Rusty, who has been missing since the end of the first SteamWorld Dig, you enter a more structured game with a series of clear objectives taking place of Rusty’s sole mission to dig.
Placing a stronger sense of narrative structure around the core game has allowed Image & Form to do some interesting things with the game world. There are three main biomes where you spend most of your time, each with their own unique enemies and environmental hazards to navigate. The mine that sits beneath the town will be familiar to those who played the original, a strange underground “jungle” is full of nasty creatures and almost gives off an alien feeling. The temple areas, to the west and east of town, are great fun, and distinct enough from each other to be enjoyable to explore.
While you are gently pointed in the direction of the next objective through map markers, and conversations with the town residents, you are free to explore as you desire, taking in challenge tombs at your own pace, always know that one might grant Dorothy a new tool or upgrade. You come across any tools required to complete the game as you progress through the story, but you won’t complete all the challenges, or find all the lost artefacts without some of the upgrades you find. If you are going to want to unlock all of Dorothy’s equipment, you will want to revisit tombs as you become more powerful.
The simple act of navigating the world is much more welcoming than the first game. Rather than relying on a long climb back to the surface, or expensive teleporters, in Dig 2 you will come across a plentiful range of pneumatic tubes that will rocket you back to town in an instant. If you are low on health, with a bag full of loot, you will generally find a way to get home if you are careful. It is all helped by being able to purchase all the equipment, and upgrades, Dorothy needs with your earnings from the precious ore and gems you find in the mine. Cogs, found in tombs, purchased or earned by trading in artefacts, are used to adapt and modify your equipment.
With these cogs, you can earn bonus XP from killing the nasty creatures of the underworld or get three seconds of protection when walking on lava or toxic waste. You aren’t committed to your loadout; any time you are in town you can switch your cogs around. It’s fun and makes it easy to keep Dorothy kitted out properly for any challenge you will encounter.
The heart of the game lies with the relationship between Dorothy and Fen which evolves over the course of your time with them. It’s lovely to see these two, who are so unsure of each other at first, become so close by the end of the game. It’s almost worth the price of entry for their relationship itself.
The Verdict – Red Mist
Platforms Available – PC, PlayStation 4/Vita, Nintendo Switch/3DS
Platform Reviewed – Switch
Review based on copy purchased from eShop. Read this for more on our review policy.