Here's Why SteamWorld Dig 2 Is Practically Impossible to Put Down

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has some strong competition for the most addictive game on the Nintendo Switch in SteamWorld Dig 2.

Yes, the game is also available on PC, as well as the PlayStation 4 and Vita, but something about it feels classically Nintendo. It perfectly blends the gratifying collect-and-sell aspect from Animal Crossing with the exploratory intrigue of Metroid games and the puzzle-solving complexity of a Professor Layton game into a neat, super playable package.

SteamWorld Dig 2: SteamWorld Dig title screen

(via Image & Form Games)

Taking place in the same world as the first SteamWorld Dig game, it drops players into a western steampunk world. After the events of the first game, the hero Rusty has mysteriously vanished. This time around, you play as a Steambot named Dorothy who sets off on a mission to discover what happened to him, and in the process uncovers that things go way deeper than she ever imagined.

SteamWorld Dig 2: Steampunk desert

(via Image & Form Games)

Armed with a handy pickaxe, a backpack and a lantern to light the way, Dorothy starts digging downward in search of clues. However, you don't want to just start digging willy-nilly. You should choose each strike of your pickaxe carefully since resources like gems and ore are embedded in the soil and once you've dug down, you can't really dig up and out due to Dorothy's set of moves.

As you travel deeper and deeper, riches won't be the only thing to look out for. Enemies pose an immediate threat, and you can either risk taking them on for rewards or avoid them to preserve your health. Large rocks will fall on you if you're not careful, potentially crushing resources, but they can also clear chunks of earth below them. There are also many different types of rock to dig through. Some will give way immediately, while others will take multiple hits to destroy. Other stone will only budge once you've upgraded your abilities.

SteamWorld Dig 2: New power grenade launcher

(via Image & Form Games)

And once your backpack is filled with goodies or your lamp light gets too low to see what you're doing, you've got to make a decision. Using pneumatic tubes located throughout the world, you can instantly travel back to the surface to restore your lamp and health, but if the last tube was a while back, it can be worth it to just push onward in search of the next one. Progress is made quickly in SteamWorld Dig 2, and risk-taking is often rewarded.

The game's mining mechanic is fun in itself, but what makes the loot system extra satisfying is how it pays off. By returning to the main hub town of El Machino, you can sell your goods to Barnacle Jones for cold hard cash. In turn, you use this money to buy upgrades at Turtle Bucket's workbench.

SteamWorld Dig 2: Selling goods in town

(via Image & Form Games)

These upgrades are essential, but it's up to the player to decide which ones to go for first. A tougher pickaxe means you can dig more efficiently, saving time and quickly getting you out of jams when the going gets tough. A bigger backpack means fewer trips to the surface to trade your spoils, plus the chance for bigger payouts.

SteamWorld Dig 2: Item upgrades

(via Image & Form Games)

Of course, you'll also want to improve your lamp to extend your visibility during trips, and your body armor so you can take more damage. This last bit is crucial, because when Dorothy runs out of health, she's scrapped, and must lose a portion of what she's dug up to go adventuring again.

This system puts players in a cycle of exploring, selling, upgrading and returning to explore again with enhanced abilities that make the exploration ever better. Because tubes are so frequent, it's possible to return to the surface every few minutes with a huge haul. This system feels extremely rewarding, as soon your enhanced gear makes you feel more powerful and better-equipped to take on anything. It also makes hours of gameplay feel like they flew by in just minutes.

SteamWorld Dig 2: Lava temple

(via Image & Form Games)

The workbench also allows you to utilize cogs. They're rare items that are carefully hidden throughout the world in tough-to-reach spots or locations that require quick thinking and puzzle-solving skills to locate. Even so, they're totally worth finding since they enable special upgrades, from enhancing the slots in your backpack with more space to improving the strength of your pressure bombs to giving you extra cash when you defeat enemies.

SteamWorld Dig 2: Cog mods

(via Image & Form Games)

Steambots hidden throughout the regions of the game will also give you blueprints for cog mods that add more challenge for reward. Maybe you want to make enemies more likely to drop valuable items, while also making them deal bigger damage or double the experience you get from defeating enemies while preventing them from dropping health.

Special artifacts are also tucked away in the most unexpected places. By showing them to a local archeologist, you can get even more blueprints for cog mods.

Because Dorothy runs on steam, her special abilities also require water. In order to use certain abilities that she discovers throughout the game, like the pressure bomb, grenade launcher or jackhammer, she must have a reserve of water on her at all times. These moves quickly use up steam, so any time you see a body of water, it makes sense to hop in and refuel.

SteamWorld Dig 2: Swimming in water

(via Image & Form Games)

With all of these abilities at your disposal, it's up to you to uncover each area in the world's massive map, which is only revealed as you traverse through it. But however big the map may be, the game is smartly designed so that it's almost impossible to get lost. Doors to other sections of the map and treasure-filled caves are clearly marked. Once you've located all of the goodies hidden in a cave, it even lets you know, which is a blessing for completionists who'll want to revisit sections only if it means they'll find new things. The map also marks the location of quest objectives, so you'll always know if you're headed in the right direction to move the game along.  The map screen also lets you know how many of that area's secrets you've discovered to put you on the right path.

SteamWorld Dig 2: Map

(via Image & Form Games)

And while this is a game about digging, you don't have to worry about every area looking like the same dusty stacks of dirt and rocks. While the first rocky region of Archaea fits this description, other segments are quite varied. The above-ground world blends steampunk and old west aesthetics, while the underground areas vary from the hauntingly beautiful bioluminescent world of Yarrow to ancient temples and even bizarre mechanical sectors.

SteamWorld Dig 2: Underground glimmering world of Yarrow

(via Image & Form Games)

And while the first SteamWorld Dig game had procedurally generated levels, this game's areas are anything but random. The levels are painstakingly laid out and brilliantly interwoven so that it feels like one cohesive world, with each enemy, resource or cog perfectly in its place. The game also progresses organically. Sometimes, the barrier to the next area is based on a new ability you need to find first, and other times it's simply dauntingly difficult to pursue because of mobs of enemies and obstacles.

SteamWorld Dig 2: Mechanical world

(via Image & Form Games)

Every aspect of this game delights. Navigation through tricky labyrinthian temples and puzzle-solving keeps things from being all about the digging. While the challenge ramps up, you also get tougher as a player and you never feel stuck. As you beat enemies and accomplish certain goals, you also take on experience and level up. Doing so means you get more money at every trade-in and that you can unlock more and more upgrades for your equipment.

SteamWorld Dig 2: Minecart

(via Image & Form Games)

The game is also gorgeous, even if you wouldn't expect so from a game about digging. Each area takes on its own character, and each character has its own unique design. The non-player characters also add color to the world, but it's also nice that talking to them is mostly optional. The game will let you know who you must actually talk to make the story progress. This way, you're free to get a great sense of the world if you'd like, but if you just want to get back to the gameplay, you can.

If we had to voice one complaint about the game, it would be that it's too easy to get totally absorbed in the game. Time flies when you're playing SteamWorld Dig 2, so if you've got a big project or lots of homework looming, stay far away!

Best of all, the game costs just $19.99 on each of its respective platforms. That's a lot of greatness for an inexpensive game.

 

If you like SteamWorld Dig 2we bet you'll also love Metroid: Samus Returns. Click HERE for our review of the new Metroid game.