Image and Form’s highly acclaimed Steamworld Dig burrows its way into the PS4 and PS Vita this week. I took it upon myself to dig beneath the surface of this highly regarded mining platformer on PS4 and see how smooth the transition has been. Let’s dig in…
You play as Rusty – a mining steambot who comes to a town in great need. Your aim here, unsurprisingly, is to dig. You’ll need to pick up gems and minerals along the way, because these can be taken back up to ground level to sell in order to upgrade your equipment. This is the difference between using a battered old pickaxe or upgrading to a quicker and more effective tool such as the drill. As well as picking up these, as you explore you’ll find new techniques amongst the dirt, such as a Steam infused jump – meaning you can fire yourself into the air like a Dalek on a trampoline. Techniques such as these (like the name suggests) are powered by steam though, so you will need some water nearby. You’ll also lose light, and have to either avoid or take out all sorts of critters and creatures along the way to finding treasure.
The really intriguing part of Steamworld Dig is that the mines are randomly generated, so whilst finding certain abilities seem predetermined, no player will have quite the same experience. Your path to completing the game could be anywhere from 3 hours to 7 hours. No matter what path you take though, Steamworld Dig is a sight to behold. The game is simply beautiful, and it is huge credit to Image and Form that they have created something that looks this good and crisp on an assumed indie budget. The Vita version also more than holds up too. For me, a game looking great is not always the most important thing in the world. I care more about it being fun. Thankfully, Steamworld Dig is both.
As great as Steamworld Dig is, it is not perfect. There is a lot of digging, and I mean a lot. The whole going back up to the surface and down again over and over again can get a little tiresome. The game is also infuriatingly vague at times. After finding some useful technology, I just got told to “Search More”. Search for what? Search where? I spent the next hour relentlessly digging and I didn’t really know why. Furthermore, at one point, I got stuck between some boulders and it was impossible for me to get out. I had to “Self Destruct” and lose all my previously gathered loot. It just felt a bit mean. It’s worth highlighting that it was my own stupidity that got me stuck in said boulders, but still.
All in all though, these are trivial criticisms for a game that truly has its heart in the right place. It’s an addictive, fun, fascinating experience that is easily one of the best indie PS4 games released to date. *PUN ALERT* Steamworld Dig is a perfect way to let off…steam and it’s a game you will really…dig. (Sorry.)
Like I mentioned earlier, you’ll spend a lot of your time here searching for treasure. The thing is, you’ve already found it in the form of Steamworld Dig.
Punk rating: 8/10