Review: Steamworld Dig-PS4/Vita

 

Take the role as Rusty, a lone mining steambot, as he arrives at an old mining town in great need. Dig your way through the old earth, gaining riches while uncovering the ancient threat that lurks below…

 

Pros:

  • Old school graphics that really pop in HD on the big screen. Slick animations and excellent backdrops, Steamworld Dig is a pleasure to look at for long periods of time. The tiny screen of the Vita gives just as much eye candy as the big screen.
  • Controls are simple and plentiful. A tutorial at the start shows you the ropes, as do in game prompts when needed. The layout is the same on both versions so you never feel lost. A handy menu option will bring up the controls anyway.
  • Gameplay revolves around exploring a huge mine and finding precious ore’s and gems to cash in to upgrade your character. You choose where to dig and carve out your own levels. Find secret rooms/areas that can unlock untold riches. Aside from these you also have the rooms needed for story progression.
  • Earned cash fills your upgrade bar which unlocks new upgrades which can be bought from the sellers.
  • You unlock new sellers as you progress through the game and each sells different items. You will see many, many types of pickaxes to buy for example. Other wares could be more health or an ore detector, which makes mining for ore a million times easier as it displays their locations on the map.
  • Mining is as said straightforward, But as you get deeper the rock gets harder and mining takes a longer. Upgrading the pick axe  can fix this, Or maybe you need to get back to the story and hunt down a new ability.
  • You can clear story progression rooms that have a  machine in there that grants you new abilities. With new abilities, you can go back to completed levels and try different routes.
  • Every player will have a different experience. Even if you replay the game, You will never have the same game twice. Due to the way in which you create your own paths and shafts.
  • The game is really addictive, The fun in upgrading and finding loot is too much. The ore placement is random and changes every time you re-enter the mine. This keeps the game fresh and gives it tons of replayability.
  • New abilities are brilliant and make what is already a fun game, So much more fun! From steam-powered jumps to a powerful drill used for the harder rock. You can also unlock an electrified double jump.
  • The game has many mechanics at work which require a bit of attention. Using the drill or steam jump requires steam, So in order to make steam, you will need to find water. Another one is you have a lamp that illuminates your way, This only lasts so long so you will need to keep an eye on it. Things like water/health or even lamp oil can be had from killing any of the many enemies that live in the caves.
  • Your lamp can be upgraded to last longer and going topside automatically refills the lamp for free.
  • You can buy and equip many items to help you get your Indiana Jones on. Items such as dynamite, ladders, placable lamps and teleporters.
  • Upon death, you drop all your loot and lose a percentage of your money. luckily you can go back and claim your loot at least. But must be done within that next life. Think Dark Souls and you got it.
  • Hours of play and the game can last as long as you want it too. You are not under any pressure to finish the story quickly, So take your time and explore, kill some enemies and try and find some hidden rooms/teleporters.
  • Clear map system on the screen that shows where you have been. Your current location and any doors/ teleport you have found. It even shows dropped loot and water parts.
  • A big handy red arrow shows you where to go if you do find yourself lost.
  • Auto-saves every time you go topside so go home often.
  • A few new Easter eggs have been put into the game.
  • Both versions have their own trophy list. They are the same list but still its a nice touch.

Cons:

  • Enemy damage is really high. More annoyance when you land on one than anything else.
  • The final boss is cheap and dragged out, The only thing that really spoilt the whole game for me. I get why its there but the manner in which it pans out is frustrating more than fun.
  • Can ruin your social life. Prepare to see a quick go turn into 5 hours without a second thought.
  • The initial constant need for new axes is annoying and slow to keep on top of.
  • No cross saves between the versions. Missed a trick with that but I suppose you could just stream the game from your PS4 to the Vita.
  • Vita version doesn’t have any proper touch integration.
  • First 20 minutes is slow and a bit of a slog.
  • If you attack just the story then you can easily finish the game in around 6 hours, even shorted if you plan your upgrades right.

In Summary, Having played both the previous versions on 3DS and Steam, I can honestly say this is the best version. It has had a complete graphics overhaul, controls have been tightened up and it looks wonderful on the two different screens. The fact you get two games for one price is always a winner but people will be put off by the lack of cross save. To compensate you do get two separate trophy lists but you will still need to finish the game twice. I will say it is a great game and a really good time sink, It does have a few flaws outside of the cross-save, things like hit detection can go a bit awry and the initial 20 odd minutes is really slow. But once you are in the mine and farming the loot, you will lose track of time. I wish you could get bigger pouches quicker as you find you’re always working your way down, only to fill up quickly and have to go all the way back again. In short, buy it as it is defiantly worth a look and its great to see it on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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