Game Review: SteamWorld Dig 2

Game Review: SteamWorld Dig 2

After four long years, the peeps at Image & Form have finally completed the development of SteamWorld Dig 2. Will it match up with its predecessor? Let’s find out!

Story

 

In SteamWorld Dig 2, you control a Steam Bot called Dorothy. You may wonder what the hell happened with Rusty, the original protagonist of SteamWorld Dig. Unfortunately he has disappeared, so it’s up to Dorothy to find out where Rusty is… and solve the mystery behind the earthquakes that are plaguing the world.

Around the first 15 minutes of gameplay, you’ll meet another character called Fen who will accompany Dorothy in the entire game. In various parts of the game Dorothy will be able to talk to Fen, and unlike Navi in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Fen (thankfully) doesn’t talk too much, and only does when it has to, such as during cutscenes and warning players about a dangerous area.

Before you can proceed in the story, there will always be one objective to complete. There’s no rush in completing the objectives. In fact sometimes I felt like wandering off to explore an area or look for secrets.

Gameplay And Controls

 

At its core, SteamWorld Dig 2 is a side-scroller adventure game. Just like most side-scroller games, Dorothy can run and jump. Along with a trusty pickaxe, Dorothy can dig the ground, mine for treasures, and attack enemies.

Unlike traditional side-scrollers like Super Mario, most of the time I found myself traveling vertically more than horizontally. That’s the peculiar thing about SteamWorld Dig 2 – you have to dig and mine for treasures. Be careful, though – if there aren’t enough light passing through, you couldn’t be sure what kind of danger you are landing on…

Pickaxes aren’t the only weapon in the game. Over the course of my adventure, I unlocked weapons and tools such as the Pressure Bomb (which destroy blocks and enemies), the Jackhammer (destroys tough blocks) and even a Jet Engine (lets you fly up and away). These are just one of the couple of tools that can be unlocked in the game, and they greatly help in solving puzzles and looking for secrets.

There isn’t much of a tutorial in the game, as the controls are self-explanatory. Whenever a new ability or technique is introduced, the controls will briefly show up on the screen. I felt it was very easy to learn and pick up the controls. If you aren’t happy with the button configuration, you can even change them too.

Besides exploring the underground world, there’s things to do above ground. In the mining town El Machino where other Steam Bots reside, you can exchange your ores for money. With money, you can upgrade your pickaxe, defense, grenades, and other gear. The caves are also sprinkled with cogs which add special abilities to your weapons. Unlike ores the cogs are harder to find.

SteamWorld Dig 2 also supports HD Rumble on the Nintendo Switch version of the game, which I feel Image & Form been done a wonderful job for. When digging through soft ground, you’ll be able to feel very soft and subtle rumble. When using the Jackhammer to dig through tougher surfaces, the HD Rumble replicates the drilling sensation very well. I’m quite satisfied with how HD Rumble was used.

Art and Music

For a side-scrolling adventure game, SteamWorld Dig 2 looks really gorgeous. The world has been painted and colored to perfection, and the characters and enemies that live in it have smooth and fluid animations. The art style has vastly improved from the original SteamWorld Dig.

As for the music, each area has its own distinct and unique flavor. The soundtrack is very relaxing and enjoyable to the ears, so I’m sure you won’t get sick of it while exploring the world. I have to say my personal favorite is the final boss track, which is really intense.

SteamWorld Dig 2 performs well on the Nintendo Switch too. The game looks gorgeous and crisp on both Handheld and TV Mode, so you get the same experience whether you’re playing on the go or at home. As far as I can tell there weren’t any frame rate or graphics issues.

Difficulty

If there was something I had to complain about SteamWorld Dig 2, it’s the difficulty level. I personally felt that the game was slightly simple for my taste, from start to finish. The bosses, main areas, and caves (which were mostly puzzles) weren’t challenging enough.

Perhaps this could be because of my experience with playing 2D platformers, or maybe because of the upgrades I’ve accumulated in the game itself. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing because I still enjoyed the game, just like how I enjoy Kirby even though it’s really easy. Maybe Image & Form can consider making the next Dig game slightly harder.

Although the main portion of the game felt easy, the secret areas and artifacts that have to be found weren’t. This is something which I haven’t managed to complete 100% yet, and I think I’ll have to spend a few more hours looking for them. The developers have done a great job in hiding these artifacts. Sometimes you have to open your eyes slightly wider to find these things!

It took me around 5.5 hours to complete the main story, but I have to point out that I have only discovered 26% of the secret areas and artifacts.

Conclusion

If you have played SteamWorld Dig, I’m pretty sure you will enjoy SteamWorld Dig 2. There’s much more to explore and secrets to uncover, and although it costs twice as much as the original title, you’re getting double the content.

Even if you have never played SteamWorld Dig in the past, SteamWorld Dig 2 is a game that I recommend players to pick up. I feel it’s one of the best and highly polished 2D adventure games out there on Nintendo Switch, and it’s going to be the definitive version since you can play on the go.

The Good

  • Interesting plot and story
  • Deep exploration of a huge world
  • Amazing art style and relaxing music
  • Great use of HD Rumble
  • Lots of secrets to uncover, which can be challenging to find

The Bad

  • Main areas, puzzles and bosses are not challenging enough

Verdict: Time for some Ore Soup!

SteamWorld Dig 2 launches on the Nintendo eShop on September 21, 2017.

A review code for SteamWorld Dig 2 was provided by Image & Form for the purpose of this review.

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