SteamWorld Dig 2 (PC) Review

By Gabriel Jones 20.09.2017 1

Review for SteamWorld Dig 2 on PC

Miles beneath the mining town of El Machino lay unimaginable technology. However, that isn't quite Dorothy McCrank's biggest concern right now. Her friend, Rusty, who once saved the world from the evil Vectron, has disappeared. Guided by a mysterious sprite, she arrives at the town in the hopes of finding the heroic bot. The townspeople, as friendly as they are, have little information to offer… although there is a rumour that Rusty is linked to the recent earthquakes. In order to discover the truth, Dorothy has to venture into the depths. Get ready for the earth-shaking sequel to SteamWorld Dig.

"Bigger and better" is the standard mantra of a sequel, and SteamWorld Dig 2 holds true to it. Everybody who loved the first game has reason enough to pick this entry up immediately. Still, the previous statement means very little to those out there who aren't fans. Is there a convincing argument that can win over the fence sitters? Well, that depends on what they disliked about the original. Granted, this entry pushes the concept further, but it can also be considered more of the same.

Screenshot for SteamWorld Dig 2 on PC

Indeed, the first hour or so of this game does feel somewhat like a retread. In order to locate her friend, Dorothy must brave the mines. Wild beasts and crushing boulders are just a couple of the many dangers that will accost her. The lantern she carries only holds so much fuel, and the inevitable absence of light makes navigation nearly impossible. Despite these struggles, mining is still a generally profitable enterprise. Ore collected from throughout the caverns can be sold to purchase equipment upgrades. Also, the depths hide long-forgotten stations that bestow Dorothy with new powers, which allow her to explore onward (and downward).

Given enough time, players will realise that this sequel takes numerous strides in making improvements over its predecessor. While the foundation has been left untouched, a lot of effort has been spent on refining the core aspects, making for a game that's all-around more polished and entertaining. The world below El Machino is better crafted, allowing for lateral exploration that's very natural. Each area is not only visually distinct, but also loaded with unique traps and creative level designs. Altogether, this entry is a bit more involved. Although the "dig, loot, sell, repeat" formula is still alive and well, everything that happens in between is fun and exciting.

Screenshot for SteamWorld Dig 2 on PC

As would be expected from the sequel, Dorothy will come across stations that lend her new gear, such as a grappling hook and a grenade launcher. They are used throughout to great effect, rather than as mere keys for accessing the next area. Equipment can also be further augmented through the use of cogs; for example, when armour is upgraded for increased health, cogs can be spent to give the heroine a temporary reprieve from pools of lava. The shiny collectibles are well-hidden, or require a fair bit of puzzle solving to uncover. In any case, they are worth the trouble.

Despite the constant presence of fierce monsters, combat doesn't play a major role in this adventure. Rather, everything is structured to give Dorothy more indirect methods for dealing with enemies. It's always amusing to push fiends into lava or smash them with rocks. Thanks to the implementation of friendly fire, monsters are also liable to kill each other. This is especially handy when dealing with the spear-chucking cultists. There are also a few really good boss fights. Each battle is designed with respect to the game's design, pushing for creativity over intensity.

Screenshot for SteamWorld Dig 2 on PC

SteamWorld Dig 2 is almost twice as long as its predecessor. The increased length isn't the result of repetitive filler, either, as each area is filled with meaningful content and challenges to partake in. The increased emphasis on lateral exploration also can't be praised enough, and moving horizontally through the mine's many corridors helps to break up the monotony. It's actually surprising that simply digging sideways instead of downwards can add so much.

As far as graphics go, the improvements surpass expectations. This can be attributed to the more vivid colours and lighting, plus the locales are more diverse. Thankfully, it never gets to the point of being too "busy." The player can still easily follow all of the on-screen happenings. The lush visuals are also backed by an awesome soundtrack. As it's been stated many, many times before, great music can elevate any game, and the same holds true here. The composer really went above and beyond to create something fresh, with each tune perfectly accompanying the ongoing action.

Screenshot for SteamWorld Dig 2 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Anyone looking for a weekend well spent can't go wrong with SteamWorld Dig 2; it is the very definition of a great sequel. Alongside the larger world and new features is a terrific amount of refinement, with each and every aspect given a little bit of extra attention. However, the basic formula remains unchanged. The bulk will be spent mining ore and selling it to buy upgrades, and although performing these tasks isn't required to progress, it's really not something that can be ignored entirely. For what it's worth, this entry does everything possible to make the process addictive and fun.

Developer

Image & Form

Publisher

Image & Form

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I'm trying to work through the Switch version asap. Loving it so far! At first it was a bit too similar to the first game, but then, like you say, small differences suddenly open it up far more and it comes together far better than the original. And wow, it looks and sounds gorgeous!

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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