Platform games aren’t my usual squeeze. I’ve never felt that they offer much of what I look for in a game; immersive storylines, lovable characters and adventure. A lack of practice leaves me bouncing around like a fly on a light bulb and I normally abandon the game entirely after a frustrated half hour or two. There’s something special about Steamworld Dig though, that had me hooked right til the end.
There’s nothing unfamiliar about the mechanics; the way you collect items, upgrade kit, take on mini levels and meet with the boss… It’s all been done before and rather surprisingly, that works in the games favour. The controls are intuitive so you can get stuck into gameplay instantly. Whenever I found myself with five to minutes spare, the Vita was in my hands and I was lost in the game.
The quirky steampunk setting has some seriously beautiful details and the the western style theming comes through well in the music and sound effects. Even progression in the game perfectly suits its theme; the rediscovery of this old mine feels all yours. I found myself stumbling upon the next objective in a way that felt ‘just by chance’. There’s no shoe horn-ing the structure in, it feels like a big adventure and you’ll never know what’s next.
I wasn’t met with the headbanging frustration that I often run in to with platformers, nor reaching for a walkthrough when puzzle segments got tough. The challenge bar is set just right to keep you coming back for more. I really feel that there’s something for everyone here. Platform, puzzles, adventure and plenty of fun. I imagine children would love this just as much as adults, in fact it might be a good introduction to gaming.
Finishing Steamworld Dig has left a gap in my day that I imagine will be empty until SteamWorld Heist makes an appearance in early 2015. I can’t think of a more deserving game to pick up the ‘Indie game of the year’ title. I think it is fair to say that, ‘it’s all been done before’, just not this well.