The first Steamworld Dig is one of the most celebrated eShop games available for the Nintendo 3DS. With its Metroidvania exploration combined with a procedually-generated Minecraft-esque twist. Four years later, we finally have a true sequel to this acclaimed title, Steamworld Dig 2 coming out first on the Switch. Despite some changes, such as a new protagonist and the focus on a much more linear approach, dare I say that this game is even better than the first one. And here’s why.
The first thing I have to say right off the bat is that Steamworld Dig 2 is a gorgeous game, with fantastic hand-drawn visuals, great parallax scrolling, and what I thought to be the best visual aspect of the whole game: the incredibly fluid animations from not only your main character, but also NPCs and enemies alike. A lot of thought and care has been put into this game, and it clearly shows with its presentation. The game’s soundtrack is also pretty good, especially when you’re on the surface and a country-infused tune is being played in the background.
Gameplay-wise, this sequel is a tad different from its predecessor in a few ways. As previously mentioned, you don’t play as Steamworld Dig‘s main character, Rusty, as you control a character named Dorothy this time around. The biggest change in the game, however, is the fact that Steamworld Dig 2 is NOT procedually-generated, and you know what? I actually prefer this way. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m already fed up to the bone with the massive amount of games that feature this type of world building nowadays. Maybe it’s the fact that the game’s world is much more detailed and fun to explore this time around, with a lot more secrets to discover and more than one option in order to go from point A to point B. Given the more linear nature of the game, the storytelling has been drastically improved as well.
Nothing has been changed when it comes to everything that was right the first time around, though. The game still retains that addictive “mine to earn money to buy better equipment” appeal, which is something that will get you hooked in no time.
If I had to point out a few flaws, which by the way are mostly either small issues or just a few nitpicks, I’d start by saying that the initial button configuration isn’t exactly the most intuitive, with the Y button (usually reserved to attacks in most games) being the run button and A being the pick axe button. Thankfully, you can (and I highly recommend doing so) change the command configurations. You’ll also need to get used to your character’s running momentum, as there will be countless occasions in which you’ll need to be running at full speed in order to perform a higher jump in order to reach a higher platform, with little space to do so.
Finally, one nitpick I had with the game is the fact that, in the beginning, Steamworld Dig 2 was a bit tiresome due to the fact that your character’s equipment and moveset is very scarce. Your lamp fuel runs out pretty quickly, every single enemy attack is incredible dangerous, your inventory space is limited, and digging takes a lot of time. If anything, the first hour or so was a patience test to see if I could like the game at its worst so I’d be able to enjoy it even more at its best. Once you start saving up for more fuel and better equipment, the game becomes exponentially more fun. Exploring stops being a hassle and becomes the best aspect of the whole game.
Overall, Steamworld Dig 2 was a phenomenal surprise, a truly engaging experience that starts a bit slow, but becomes addictive once you start improving your skills. It’s one of those games where you won’t even notice time pass by while you play it, as you’ll be constantly immersed in its pop reference jokes and engaging exploration. This is one of the best Switch games so far, a mandatory title for all Switch owners, and a great game to have on-the-go. That little console is getting better and better by the minute.
Also available on: PS4, PS Vita, PC.
Copy of Steamworld Dig 2 provided by publisher.