If I described SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt as being a game that allows you to dig deeper and deeper into mines to find treasure, you’d probably think that this would be very similar to Minecraft. However, SteamWorld Dig takes the boring premise of mining and turns it upside down to make it so much more. The game doesn’t force you to complete tasks or put you on a set trail, it allows you to explore wherever you wish. And that’s what I found so appealing about SteamWorld Dig, the freedom. You could spend hours exploring these seemingly endless mines. There are also, once you progress far enough, different mines to explore. For example a sewer mine, which you unlock after exploring the standard looking mine.
This game isn’t packed full of cut scenes and dialogue, in fact the only story in this game is at the beginning and the end. But that doesn’t stop it from being a good story. Your good old Uncle Joe left you in charge of his mine in Tumbleton, which is said to have some pretty weird stuff inside it. You take it upon yourself to explore the mines, to have some very mysterious findings. Characters who work in the stores talk to you briefly about the mines, the offer you tips on how to deal with certain aspects within the mines. Then from this point, you explore.
SteamWorld Dig’s gameplay, I believe, is very unique. Sure there are a lot of games where the aim is to dig and mine, but this game just does it so much better than the rest. The addition of multiple mines is great, as it means you’re not staring at the same block patterns for hours on end. And the store mechanism is also very good. After digging up an array of gem stones in your mine travels, you sell them and use the money to buy upgrades for your equipment. And the more money you make, the more levels you go up. When you go up a level you have the ability to buy improved digging implements, or a larger bag to carry more gems in.
One other great feature about this game was the music. Seeing as this game is set in Western times the main theme portrayed this largely, which wasn’t a bad thing. As well as that, the music changes as you go deeper into the different mines. Another fun aspect of this game, apart from an amusing subtitle, is the characters. Aside from the fact that they’re robots, their personalities shine through and you’ll quickly decide your personal favourite.
There was also a nice range of enemies. From the easy ones to the ones you’d rather avoid, they popped up almost everywhere. Most of the time I tried to avoid all enemies, but enemies produce health or some form of help once you’ve killed them. So in times of low life, you have to take your chances with a mine worm (my personal name for them). The reason I love SteamWorld Dig so much is because it’s just so different. The time you can spend digging and upgrading your equipment seems like it can last forever. I completed the game in 6 hours and I didn’t even explore half the mines long enough. And it’s not like the exploring part of the game gets boring, as I said earlier the freedom is what makes the game so good.
I’m going to give SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt 9 out of 10 just because it’s so unique and well done compared to other ‘mining’ games. All this is great enough, but with the 3D effects you really experience the beauty that is SteamWorld Dig. It’s safe to say this is one of my favourite 3DS eShop purchases, even at full price this game is worth it!
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