A little over a year ago (it was August 7) one of the most successful independent surprises of 3 was released on the 2013DS eShop: SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt. The creature of Image & Form would then have been the protagonist of a sort of tour that, starting from the Nintendo laptop, would have brought Rusty first on PC through (it could not be otherwise) Steam and then on PS4 and PS Vita, always collecting regardless of the platform the same success. Exactly 386 days after SteamWorld Dig returns home and lands on the other "playful hemisphere" of Nintendo, hanging his hat on Wii U and taking with him all the improvements of subsequent editions, remote game support on GamePad and a discount of 25 % for owners of the 3DS version of the title.
For a bunch of dollars
The protagonist of the game is Rusty, a steam-powered robot (called SteamBot) who arrived in the city due to the death of his uncle Joe, owner of a mine bequeathed to his nephew. The events narrated will revolve precisely around this legacy and the mysterious "modules" hidden in its depths apparently left by Joe to prepare Rusty for his fate.The gameplay is addicting, but the shortcoming of poor longevity remains
The plot is therefore obviously a simple pretext to put the player in the conditions, in the role of the SteamBot, to dig with his pickaxe to explore the mine in search of these upgrades, in view of the inevitable final showdown. By virtue of the solid and addictive gameplay which we will talk about shortly, this choice works, but has the big flaw of a rather limited longevity in the first place. (from 5 hours to go up, depending on the percentage of exploration of the mine) and a rather sacrificed replay value given the absence of a "new game +", which forces to start from scratch and reset the progress for those who want to re-face the experience . For these reasons the real raison d'etre of the title is found in the so-called speed runs, where the challenge lies in putting oneself to the test in completing the game in the shortest possible time and offering the best performance from the point of view of the lives used and the collectibles collected.
There are those who have loaded guns and those who dig. You DigThe basic principle is only one: to dig
Once the considerations on narrative and longevity have been exhausted, let's talk about the main aspect of the production, capable, as mentioned, of “keeping up the cabin” practically by itself: the gameplay. From the point of view of the setting SteamWorld Dig is a platform with a strong exploratory vein (genre better known as Metroidvania) whose basic principle is only one: digging in the mine up to the goal. To do this, Rusty will first have his uncle's worn pickaxe at his disposal, and then other rigorously steam-powered tools such as an auger, a punch capable of generating waves that hit from a distance and the ability to perform enhanced jumps and double jumps, as well as a tank to be filled with water to be transformed into energy resources to power tools. Each of these accessories can be upgraded in the city by exchanging it with the money obtained by Dorothy in the city in exchange for the minerals recovered from the mine or, sometimes, by adding a certain amount of globes (the other type of collectibles present) to the money. Rusty's equipment is then completed by a series of disposable items that can be purchased separately, ranging from lanterns to be placed in the mine to ensure adequate visibility in depth to teleportation cabins that allow you to quickly regain the surface and, just as quickly, return to depth once you have done your business in the city.
Addiction is constant throughout the first run and beyond
The final result, thanks also to a really accurate level design and able to avoid most of the cases in which one remains "buried" underground, is as said really successful and addictive., able to convince the player to dig and explore thoroughly throughout the game and beyond given the procedural nature of the mine (different with each new run).
Face to faceAll the improvements of the following editions and the support for the GamePad
The last words to be spent are necessarily dedicated to the technical sphere of the title: as mentioned in opening this Wii U version of the Image & Form title includes all the improvements and technical upgrades already found in the PC and PS4 versions, offering a 1080p resolution and a series of graphic “benefits” compared to what we saw a year ago on 3DS (for example, animated portraits of the characters). Added to this is the possibility of playing the experience completely on GamePad, which instead shows the map and the contents of the backpack when playing on the TV. Nothing to say about the sound component of the product, capable of rendering both the robotic nature of the characters well thanks to the metallic sounds emitted by them and the western setting thanks to an effective themed soundtrack, whose only limit is the lack of some "acute" ”And memorable pieces.
Verdict 9/10 Now we want the sequel Comment SteamWorld Dig is confirmed, even on Wii U, a really interesting and successful title, able to addict the player with its gameplay based on excavations and also convince him to play the experience more than one time. The only limits are a fairly limited duration and, above all, the lack of a "new game +", with the consequence of having to start over every time you decide to face Uncle Joe's mine. Pros and cons ✓ Original and successful
✓ Addictive gameplay x Poor longevity
x Missing the "new game +" option