Swedish developer Image & Form has long been creating PC games targeted towards children. They’ve been hard at work since 2002, but it wasn’t until 2010 that they released SteamWorld Tower Defense on the DSiWare marketplace. The title was relatively successful and encouraged Brjann Sigurgersson, head at Image & Form, to continue developing for portable platforms. This is where SteamWorld Dig for the 3DS comes in.
Available on the 3DS only for download from the eShop, SteamWorld Dig first brought me in with it’s visuals. Vibrant colors combined with a cartoony art style and smooth animation make it a very pleasing sight. The first thing you’ll see is Rusty, the robot miner you play as. You won’t have time to get complacent, however, as you’re thrown directly into an old mineshaft where you discover that the old owner of the mine has passed away. You’re then greeted by Dorothy, a citizen of the old-western-esque town of Tumbleton, and she asks you to continue where the old owner of the mine left off. Rusty takes it upon himself to do just that.
This is where the game begins to truly introduce itself. As you begin your descent into the mine you’ll find yourself collecting valuable ores that you can take back to Tumbleton and exchange for items and upgrades. The more ore you bring back, the more upgrades you’ll be able to access and the larger the town will expand. This in itself is a fun little process, but SteamWorld Dig has a few surprises up it’s sleeve.
Hidden within the mine are challenge rooms and major upgrades that change the way you play the game entirely. You’ll find upgrade platforms reminiscent of Mega Man X that grant you special abilities like the Steam-Jump or the Drill. Using these items to solve puzzles in challenge rooms will lead you to orbs, one of the games’ rare currency.
Tumbleton’s mine holds many mysteries; some of which are revealed in surprising and terrifying ways. As the inheritor of the mine, it’s up to you to discover just what went wrong and what lies beneath all of that dirt.
SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful Of Dirt Website: http://www.steamworldgames.com/dig/
SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful Of Dirt is Available on the Nintendo eShop for $8.99