I’m a big fan of the first SteamWorld Dig. I’ve bought and completed it twice, in fact. The “digging genre”, such as it is, has always appealed to me. Ever since playing a demo of Diggers on the Acorn at high school, I’ve been drawn to them – Mr Driller, Miner Dig Deep, and SteamWorld Dig being the headliners.
SteamWorld Dig 2 was a thought-free instant purchase then, but if I’d not bought it the overwhelmingly positive reviews would have made it difficult to resist.
A cursory glance of the game shows little has changed since the first title. You’re a steambot (although not Rusty any more – he’s gone missing), and you have to dig down in a mine. The more you dig, the more you need upgrades to assist. However, after you’ve played it for a bit you realised it’s not just about depth – there’s more to explore here.
Instead of a single shaft, there are a number of separate – albeit linked – areas, each themed. A more powerful axe is less important this time around, with rocket boots and a grappling hook becoming the essential tools for getting around. Larger, more open spaces replace much of cramped mining, but there’s always something, and some reason, to dig.
Smaller rooms, filled with puzzles or navigational challenges, pock the mine and reward you with items that further boost your skills. Cogs can augment your abilities over and above the standard bought upgrades, reducing water use or making your pressure grenades more powerful, for example.
The gameplay is perfect. After every “run”, usually when you’ve found another return tube (which acts as a warp point), you sell your ore and gems, bump your powers up with the money and cogs, then return “just to get to the next tube”. And the next tube. And the next tube. It’s addictive, and soon enough eight hours have passed and I’ve completed the game.
But still there’s more. My completion stats say I’m just 53% done, and Image & Form tell me there’s a whole extra section if I make it to 100. So of course, I’m going to make it to 100%.
And with just under five hours on the clock, the evil electronic consciousness was beaten and my mining days were over.
My memory had placed several other bosses in my brain from when I played the 3DS version. They weren’t in the Wii U one, so I suspect my mind was playing tricks. Or I was getting confused with something else (god knows what though). Or they were optional and I somehow avoided them? It’s a mystery.
Pretty sure I finished this in a slightly shorter time than on the 3DS too, although that was to be expected. It was still a lot of fun, and I’m glad I played it again (and it was over a year since I last did anyway), but there’s really no difference – phantom bosses notwithstanding – between the Wii U and 3DS versions.
A lot of things, it seems. I’ve had a glut of new games over the last month and I’ve been playing each for a short time. I’ve yet to settle down and just work on one or two, so I’ve not made much progress in each. So here’s a list, in no particular order:
Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition (Vita)
My subscription to PS+ was autorenewed before I could cancel it (the whole service got DDOS’d and I couldn’t log in), so I thought I might as well make use of it. This is one of the rentals.
It’s Duke Nukem. A bit easier to control than the 360 version that appeared on XBLA, and with a nice (but often broken) rewind feature if you die. It’s the same game that it ever was, so great. Half way through the first episode so far.
At least, I was playing this until my family hijacked my save game. I’ve no idea what’s going on. You’re a snake which flies around bizarre levels bumping into things which sometimes react, solving puzzles that aren’t really puzzles, in an attempt to reunite with other snakes. I think. You’re just dropped into the game with no explanation and just expected to get on with it. It’s good, but I’m confused and lost. No idea why I bought it, although it was on offer.
Super Smash Bros U (Wii U)
I’m sure the Gamecube version of this was easier to control. I’m still sticking mostly to Mega Man, and I’m trying, but it does seem very vague as to whether I actually pull off moves or not. And I can never remember in the heat of the moment how to do the special moves that try to carry you back onto a platform when you’ve been punched off. It’s utter chaos, but then I suppose that’s the appeal.
Whoa Dave! (Vita)
Another PS+ rental. It’s an 8bit (or lower, perhaps – it’s more like an Atari 2600 title) looking single screen arcade platformer. Eggs drop from the top of the screen, and after a while they hatch. Baddies pop out and when they hit the lava at the bottom of the screen they “level up” and become more dangerous, and then level up again each time they hit the lava. You have to beat them by chucking eggs at them, or by destroying the eggs by throwing exploding skulls at them. Then UFOs appear and it all gets really hard. Really like this game, so much so I’ll probably buy it when it hits the 3DS. My high score is $1.76, in case you want a target (an easy target) to aim for.
I happened to be using my old MacBook, and Peggle was on it, and I couldn’t remember playing it on there before so wasn’t sure it would work and then I ran it to see and it did work and then an hour passed magically. It’s Peggle, and that’s what happens with Peggle. No idea how far I got.
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Demo) (3DS)
I didn’t want to like this because I really wanted a Wii U version instead. Sadly, that doesn’t look likely to happen. It’s Monster Hunter, but made a bit easier to play (on the 3DS) as I’ve a shiny new New 3DS with extra buttons and a prodnipple, so it’s essentially got the same controls as the Wii U version of MH3U anyway.
I chose the Great Jaggi hunt as I know where I am with that, and picked a hunter with twin blades, not a class I’d used before. I don’t know if it’s the different weapons, or the different game, but the combat was so much swifter than I ever had on the previous game. Mind you, that was with a Great Sword and so slow and ponderous came with it. I like how you can now jump on the back of the Great Jaggi and slash at his (her?) neck, and it’s nice to have some new maps to hunt on. Do I want this now? Yes. Yes I do.
SteamWorld Dig (Wii U)
It’s the same as the 3DS game that I completed last year (or the year before?), but that doesn’t matter. It’s just as good, but all in HD and on the tellybox. I bought it as it was on offer and I was trying to spend enough in the Wii U eShop before the end of 2014 to get another £5 credit before they stopped running the scheme. Don’t know why I started this before the other games that I’d bought but haven’t played before – that’d make more sense, surely?
I’ve reached The Old World, and have a couple of upgrades from there. I’m pretty sure by this point in the 3DS game I had the ability to punch by now, so I’m wondering if I’ve missed something…
Rock Boshers DX: Director’s Cut (Vita)
Stumbled across this, and as soon as I noticed it was basically a brand new Spectrum game, I had to buy it. Turns out it’s a twin stick shooter, with Spectrum graphics and sound, and even had a two minute long load (which you can skip – I didn’t). The plot is incredible – you appear to be Queen Victoria, dressed as a man, who decides to go to Mars in a giant bullet shaped space ship that’s shot out of a huge cannon, and, when you arrive, you have to shoot guards and zombies and collect keys and avoid massive centipedes while looking for tea and jammy scones. YES. It’s the best thing ever.
Picross e5 (3DS)
I was having a look at the eShop the other day and realised Picross e5 was out and I hadn’t bought it. So I bought it, and started playing it. It’s Picross, and I like Picross, so I like this. Aside from different puzzles (obviously), it seems to be no different to Picross e4. That’s not a problem, as Picross e4 was lovely.
Oh, remember my 360? Never before has a console so frequently used in the past been dropped so quickly. Mine barely gets touched these days. In fact, the only reason I turned it on was because I finally decided to get Minecraft, mainly for my daughter. I’d a pile of free credit, and since the 360 is the only machine I have that 1) plays Minecraft and 2) I have two controllers for (for co-op), it had to be that version.
Created a “creative mode” map, which was far too vertical to navigate, so after a while we binned it and created a flat world – which we forgot to make “creative”. So cue all the baddies in the world appearing when it got dark and we hadn’t built any shelter because all I had were a couple of oak tree seeds and some dirt. Then we explored a lot and it seems everything wasn’t just flat, as we found a monastery (I think) and I fell in a well and couldn’t get out and drowned. Yay?
Skylanders Giants (360)
While the 360 controllers were out, and we’d just taken delivery of a cheap Skylanders Swap Force starter kit (for the Wii U – to hell with the 360 now!), I thought we shoudl probably finish off Giants.
So we worked through two more levels – Kaos’ castle, and a Ghost Ship. I’m sure the game it waaaay harder than the original Spyro’s Adventure, you know. We’ve about 30 Skylanders and ploughed through pretty much all of them on both levels.
Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! (Wii U)
This was on sale and even though I know it’s not supposed to be very good, we are big fans of the cartoon and it was very cheap. And it’s multiplayer co-op.
It’s not too bad, actually. For the most part it plays like Gauntlet, complete with food and baddie generators and smart-bomb magic, but there’s also a Rogue Legacy style shop system. You can quit the dungeon after every 5 levels, and then spend your money to get better stats, but any money you have left is lost when you return to the game. The best bit is how the Gamepad becomes a giant Beemo face, who comments on your action with such gems as “food is where the hearts are!”. Excellent.
With various deals and cheap credit, I got this for less than £2. I’ve wanted it for a while, but keep being put of by people who say it’s rubbish. At that price I thought I’d risk it. And I’m glad I did as it’s pretty good.
It’s no Tony Hawk’s, obviously, but is instead an endless runner with things to grind on and ollie off. It’s all about timing, and the tricks are more like the Skate games in how you flick the stick to pull them off. Was getting well into it, and then it crashed. Bah.
I was a big fan of the 360 indie game Miner Dig Deep, and many years ago loved Diggers on the Acorn and Amiga, and it was my enjoyment of those two games that made me want SteamWorld Dig. The stars aligned and I was given some eShop credit just as this was on offer, and so I snapped it up.
I’m glad I did. It’s very much in the same vein as those two games I’ve already mentioned, with more combat and much more impressive graphics. Being able to wall jump gets rid of the concern you might dig your way into an inescapable pit, and the ability to carry a teleporter (which takes you back to the surface) means you never need to be too far from home, and the upgrades shop.
It’s a short title (I clocked it at just over five hours), but it’s well worth the journey. The only real downside to the length is it’s difficult to stop playing so the end comes all too quickly.