Steamworld Dig was a breath of fresh air when I played it back in 2013. The unique Steampunk design of the world and the interesting concept of digging to explore underground and unlock upgrades really captured my attention. I wasn’t as much of a fan of Steamworld Heist, a different genre set in the same world; but a highly awaited (by me at least) sequel to Steamworld Dig has arrived. Steamworld Dig 2 builds upon what players loved about the original while adding new mechanics, a new story, and a new protagonist.
Just like the original game, Steamworld Dig 2 begins with a lone steamboat arriving in an old mining town. This town is plagued by strange earthquakes, and it is up to the new arrival to figure out what is going on beneath the city. The interesting twist is that you play as Dorothy, an ally to Rusty in the original game. Her objective (aside from figuring out the source of the earthquakes) is to figure out what happened to Rusty.
Steamworld Dig 2 has an Easy and a Normal Difficulty. These difficulties differ in terms of combat difficulty and a few other, minor details that mainly affect how more casual players will enjoy the game. Like Rusty before her, Dorothy is armed with a trusty pickaxe and must mine resources from the environment to purchase upgrades. Unlike the original, Steamworld Dig 2 puts a bit more emphasis on platforming and progression, providing Dorothy with more mobility to wall jump, run, use her hook shot (which you unlock along the way) and many other upgrades to find secrets and ancient artifacts in the mines.
Mining in Steamworld Dig 2 has a number of factors to it. You have your objective to reach, as well as secret areas to find, and platforming sections to traverse. However, you have a limited period of time to be down in the mines, as you need light in order to navigate. Additionally, you have limited bag space (that slowly can be expanded over the course of the game) so you will have to frequently return to the surface to refill your light meter and sell off your loot.
After you sell off your loot, you can then use your gold to buy upgrades. If you find ancient artifacts while you are exploring, you can also show them to a collector, who will give you blueprints for Cog Mods. Cog Mods are interchangeable upgrades that cost Upgrade Cogs which you can find hidden through the world. They change the way your equipment operates, from making you lose fewer resources when you die, to making your lamp shine in a wider radius.
Certain Cog Mods provide new mechanics, such as the “Portal of Pardon” which serves as a town portal of sorts as long as you have it equipped. You can return back to town and head back to empty your bags, without having to be near a tube (which functions as a fast travel point.)
Another interesting aspect of Steamworld Dig 2, is that you no longer are limited to exploration vertically. There are special temples and places to explore on the surface as well. Over the course of Steamworld Dig 2, you will visit places in the overworld and beneath the surface multiple times, as the game is considered a Metroidvania, and you will unlock abilities that allow you to reach previously inaccessible areas.
The final aspect of Steamworld Dig 2’s progression, involves XP. Through completing quest objectives and killing enemies, you can acquire XP. Get enough XP and you will level up, providing a bonus to your sale price on minerals, and unlocking new upgrades for sale. The bonus to your sale price increases with your level, so leveling up quickly is important if you want to get the most out of your loot.
Honestly, I do not have any real issues with Steamworld Dig 2. The game runs perfectly, the world is well crafted, with an interesting storyline that turns the events of the first game on its head. Aside from the standard issues with action platformers, like unavoidable damage, Steamworld Dig 2 is a brilliant showcase of the natural progression that began with the original game. No game is perfect, but Steamworld Dig 2 is as close as i’ve seen in games of its kind.
If you enjoyed the original Steamworld Dig, the sequel is a must-buy. If you haven’t played the first game, you may not quite understand the events preceding Steamworld Dig 2, but it is still a greatly polished Platforming Metroidvania, with unique digging and loot mechanics that you won’t find anywhere else.
A PC Review Copy of Steamworld Dig 2 was provided by Image and Form Games for the purpose of this Review.