The reason for such a success is soon told: Steamworld Dig was really a good game, a sort of Metroidvania in the mine, where the main activity was represented by making its way with picks by destroying rocks and collecting resources to be resold.All supported by a graceful plot but above all by an intelligent level design, able to continuously offer new stimuli to the player.
After the parenthesis of Steamworld Heist, spin-off set in the same steampunk universe but based on a completely different strategic turn-based gameplay, it was quite obvious the arrival of a sequel: it was less trivial to be able to churn out a product able to confirm the quality of the predecessor and not to disappoint fans’ expectations.
Yet Steamworld Dig 2, we say immediately, has managed to hit the full target: bigger, more beautiful, richer, though perhaps less original. The formula has remained almost the same, but with a new protagonist: this time the turn is in fact Doroty, also a robot, determined to do anything to find the missing friend Rusty. Yes, because the hero of the first chapter no longer knows anything, except some clue that leads Doroty to concentrate research in the mines under the town of El Machino.
Who has got to play Steamworld Dig will take a second to find again on this occasion the same basic mechanics: the purpose is always to use the pickaxe from the beginning to break rocks and make their way into the depths of the earth, collect materials and then return to the surface to resell them.
The money obtained can then be used to upgrade your inventory, while the discovery of special machinery inside the mines allows you to expand their skills, perhaps with new tools and objects. Among the first there are in fact a gun to shoot explosive rockets, a pneumatic hammer to break the hardest blocks and a grapple to reach heights
otherwise out of reach. As you get hold of the items the gameplay becomes richer and more robust, making the progression more rewarding.
But Steamworld Dig 2 is not only made of rocks to crumble and enemies to be defeated: often within the explored areas you can find access to caves that lead to limited and circumscribed areas, each with a different challenge. On these occasions the puzzle and platform elements gain more space, offering a different kind of challenge.
The reward is often represented by artifacts and gears, even these usable once back to the surface: the first allow you to get new projects, the latter instead further expand the RPG element of the game, ensuring an additional level of customization of the character.
Each instrument has in fact a series of modifiers, of perk in short, thanks to which it is possible to activate additional abilities or bonuses in the use of objects. Some of them weigh more on the overall gaming economy, perhaps guaranteeing the ability to find with less effort the treasures or hidden areas, or even to pass on lava and acid without suffering damage.
SHOVEL AND PICKAXE
The major virtue of Steamworld Dig 2 is undoubtedly the balance of its ingredients: exploration, platforming, combat, RPG are all dosed with attention and intelligence, and it is this wisdom in game design, along with a sense of constant and palpable progression , which makes the work of the Swedish team so valid and convincing.
Even the level of difficulty is well studied, because it manages to find the right compromise between stimulus and frustration, leaving a margin of freedom for the player: the bag in which to collect minerals and resources, even if expandable, is in fact limited, and once filled it is necessary rise to the surface to transform the content into sound money. To facilitate this operation,
within the vast gaming world are disseminated transport tubes, or essentially the tool to make quick trips. But even these must be discovered, and finding themselves with little energy far from the next one can become a big problem, because death also brings with it the loss of almost everything collected up to that moment. From the technical point of view instead, Steamworld Dig 2
represents a remarkable step forward compared to the predecessor that, despite all the improvements that it has enjoyed in console and PC versions, was actually born on 3DS. This time, however, the technical capabilities of the hardware to which the new episode is intended are far superior, and the result is evident from the first glance: Steamworld Dig 2 is much richer in detail,
detailed and varied, and can also count on a series of very pleasant lighting effects. The result is a beautiful product to be seen both on the TV screen and in a portable version on Switch, colored and bright, which perhaps lacks only a more inspired artistic direction than the good one it possesses.