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Review: SteamWorld Dig 2

"I could go for some Moon Juice, myself..."

I read somewhere that SteamWorld Dig 2 was sort of, just a little bit, like Spelunky. Heck yes, I love me some Spelunky, so gimme!

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Suffice to say: the comparison is apt. In SW Dig 2 you run and jump around a world mostly constructed of blocks. You can mine some of the blocks, gather ores, then sell those for profit, which in turn can be used to purchase upgrades to help you get deeper into the game world. Over time you will uncover secrets, puzzle rooms and, obviously, the story of the game, along with several boss fights.

SteamWorld Dig 2 has a visual style of its own, a curious hand-drawn look, but as I played the game I began to feel that this type of visual style and the intense labour required to create content with it might have limited the game somewhat. Enemy types are sparse, animations simple and none of the enemies in the game, save for the last boss, offer any significant challenge combat-wise. Somehow I feel that these matters are linked to one another...

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As for audio, the game sits steadily in the "functional, fine, but not really memorable" -category. The music lacks memorable melodies, but serves its purpose as a fine ambient accompaniment to the more laid back moments of adventure, or strolling around the small town, talking to the handful of NPC's. Voice acting, if you can call it that, harkens back to the good ole' Nintendo 64 -days, where characters talk in unique little squeaks, beeps, boops and such.

So what do they talk about then? What's the story? Well, you play as a blue robot called Dorothy, adventuring out to find your lost friend Rusty. Alas, Rusty has gone missing deep in the mines and so you are sent deep down to find him. Oh, and to bring back a bunch of valuables. Gotta earn your keep, eh? What follows is an occasionally comedic romp through mines, caverns, temples and other, more otherworldly, locales, as you follow one clue after another and, as is the case with these things, try to stop the world from ending as your side job. Easy-peasy!

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While I can't say I played the game anywhere near to a 100% completion, let alone go for the more challenging modes on offer later in the game, I feel that I have to go back to the Spelunky comparison for a moment: SteamWorld Dig 2 is a more streamlined, designed, hand-crafted adventure. It has a clear beginning, middle and an end, and it relies fairly heavily on its story. As such, there is very limited replayability, and I doubt anyone, apart from the hardcore speedrunning crowd, will find more than maybe 10-12 hours of gameplay here. Nowhere near the hundred hours one can sink into something randomly generated like Spelunky.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing? That depends heavily on the player, really. Spelunky gives more bang for your buck, when it comes to raw hours of gameplay, and while it is a simpler game at its core, it gives the player more of a sensation of discovering things. SteamWorld Dig 2 on the other hand has more potential to give its player a few nice evenings of adventuring, digging and exploring, followed by a satisfying ending and a feeling of accomplishment one might not find in Spelunky even after months of playing.

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If you ask me: Both are good games and well worth your time!

Playtime: 6+ hours (Single playthrough)

Visual

8

Audio

7

Story

7

Gameplay

9

Overall

> 8 <

Normal retail price at time of writing: 19,99€

Recommended for purchase at normal retail price: Yes, if you aren't too much of a snob about game length

Recommended for purchase at reduced price: Yes, certainly