Steamworld Dig, a game that originally found a home on the 3DS back in 2013, has now made its way onto Xbox One. The game sees you take control of a robot named Rusty, who inherits a mine in the old west from his uncle. The mine is in Tumbleton, a town of only three occupants who welcome the return of someone to the mine. Your aim is to explore the mine, collecting the orbs and treasures along the way as well as trying to avoid the various enemies you will encounter round and about the mines and its caves.
The game has a wild west theme that suits it well, think cowboy hats, tumble weeds and lots of sand. It is in this wild west that Rusty has to explore his mine, and the aim of game is digging. Starting off with a basic pickaxe, you must dig your way down through the blocks of the mine to form a path for yourself. As you get further down the mine you will venture into different, like The Old World, and you will see the environment noticeably change around you. This becomes more obvious still as you make your way into Vectron, with the futuristic and robotic style coming more into play. These environment changes help keep the game interesting and exciting to explore, even though the amount of actual caves to explore in the mine are minimal.
The mini map in the corner of the screen helps you navigate through the path you have made, but the option to zoom out and see a wider shot of the mine would also have been helpful. In order to see any of the mine though you will need light, and your lantern has set bars of power that will drain away, and your light will get dimmer the longer you stay down the mine. To refill it you need to come back to the surface, which can be awkward to do if you are a ways down the mine, luckily though handily placed teleports and warp pipes will quickly get you back to the surface. If you do happen to meet your doom down in the mine though, after paying a small repair fee, you are able to explore again, and even pick up any dropped items by going back to the spot you died.
The items you’ll be collecting come in the forms of gems and orbs, which you’ll find stuck in the blocks you’ll be breaking through on your journey. The gems get more valuable the further down the mine you go, so whilst you may just be finding copper or iron at first, dig a little deeper and you’ll be rewarded with the potential of rubys and diamonds. You can only carry so many of these jewels before your pockets get full, and then you need to take them back to the surface. You can then sell them to Dorothy, a fellow robot resident, which gets you some money as well as raising your level.
You can use this hard earned cash to buy upgrades for Rusty’s items, which come in a few various forms. This includes upgrading his lantern to shine light for longer periods of time, or improving his armour so you can take more hits before dying. You are also able to upgrade your digging items as well, to change your basic pickaxe for a diamond one, to do more damage to enemies and to be able to break through the ground quicker. During the game you will also get chance to have alternatives to your pickaxe, so you can break through harder stones, and there is the opportunity to upgrade these as well.
These upgrades provide the gamer with more than enough reason to spend hours exploring the mine, searching out as many treasures you can to make Rusty the best mining robot he can be. As you explore the mine caves, you will also find upgrades for Rusty himself, allowing him to jump higher, run faster and double jump, all of which will help you in your quest of exploring every inch of the mine. Possibly the most helpful of the upgrades though is one which makes the gems in the mine show up on your mini map, which is highly beneficial to you, especially if you are simply grinding to collect gems for money.
Unfortunately the game is almost over too quickly, but the achievements allow for a decent amount of replayability. You will need to complete the game under 2:30 hours, without any deaths, collecting over 20,000 gold and 120 orbs, and as this is unlikely to be done in one playthrough, you will probably need at least two to complete the list. There is a few story based achievements to see you through, as well as a couple of random ones such as killing a turtle whilst it is submerged in water.
Whilst the game may be fairly short, Steamworld Dig offers a lot of fun. Exploring the mines, finding the gems, dodging the enemies and finding out what is hidden behind the final door near the very bottom of the world all combine together to make an enjoyable little adventure game that is hard not to recommend. Throw in a few quirky characters, and an unbeatable wild west theme (complete with music), Steamworld Dig is a game you should (steam)jump at the opportunity to play.