First published in  CubedGamers (Printed Edition): November 2016

A lonely robot prospector works by lamplight at the bottom of a mine, slowly chipping away at the rock and dirt beneath a rudimentary Western desert town, occasionally dodging robot armadillos, zombies, and acid. The robot’s name is Rusty, the town is Tumbleton, and this is Steamworld Dig, a charming exploration platformer with Metroid influences.

Rusty has inherited a mine from his uncle Joe, who has disappeared, and the locals believe that the answer might lie at the bottom of the mine. It is Rusty’s job, guided by the player, to find out. As you smash through dirt and rock to create passaged, you gain skills, encounter enemies, and pick up precious ores that can be used to gain experience and buy upgrades.

The graphics are bright and colourful, and the soundtrack set the scene well. The only problem with the game being that the underlying plot – what is the Old World that legend has it existed deep below the surface – is only ever hinted at, and the ultimate resolution of the game is abrupt. This issue is made all the more apparent by the fact that everything about the game is so strong. If you can find it, purchase the Indiebox of this release, which includes some charming extras such as the soundtrack, a pack of playing cards, and a boxed copy of the game in a burlap sack.

8/10 – A charming game that begs a sequel to expand on the back story.


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