Nintendo Switch: Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt (2014)

Release Date: March 19, 2014

Genre: Side-Scroller/Action-Adventure

Rating: 8/10

You play as Rusty is an old miner-robot who searches for riches in the days since the humans have gone, aside from random feral ones living deep underground. Rusty finds an old mining town that has all but dried up, help Rusty rebuild the town and find a hidden threat lurking deep underneath the surface.

Steamworld Dig is a very well-made action-side-scroller that let’s you dig out your own paths down through the mines. It has a very simple gameplay mechanic of being able to dig through dirt, and eventually rocks as you get upgrades to your robotic body that lets you do more mining based things. Actually, it’s a lot like Metroidvania games in that way, except the upgrades don’t make new paths, for the most part there’s only one way to go: down. But, they do make more ways to find more gems which makes re-exploring old areas more interesting, to say the least.

The game builds on these simple mechanics so well that there’s very few points that detract from the fun of playing it. For one thing, the game is very short, even if you do what I did and go back to the start to collect (almost) every gem you missed the first time around, I still beat the game in under 10 hours. Also, the final boss is very hard and it feels like there’s not much to prepare you for the sudden difficulty curve right at the end considering every other explorable room was nothing but platforming puzzle games, nothing even remotely like a mini-boss or the like to prepare you for what comes at the end. There are enemies throughout but, aside from the Big Bad, they all feel more like hazards than major threats.

SCORING:

Playability: +4 of 4: Very well made with no control problems

Fun Factor: +2 of 3: The Boss fight at the end is so difficult and out of place it really puts a damper on what is a fun mining game otherwise

Story: +1 of 1: Considering this is a game where you don’t really need any story, or if you do something as simple as “you have to save the princess” would have been enough but, as the name implies, this is building an entire Steamworld for you to play in, and had they not put much thought into the story then I don’t know if this series would still exist today (probably, it’s pretty fun either way)

Sound: +1 of 1: Everything sounds good, I especially like the cowboy-themed music

Replayability: 0 of 1: This is the problem with this game being so short because once you beat it there’s not really much reason to come back to it

Graphics: 0 of 0: They were good for this style of game, I like the cartoony-ness, but doesn’t add anything to the gameplay

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