I arrived late to the SteamWorld Dig party. Jumping into the series when SteamWorld Heist launched it took me until last year to actually grab SteamWorld Dig and I immediately fell in love. From here I was absolutely hyped to learn more about the SteamWorld universe and get my hands on SteamWorld Dig 2.
Now that time has come, and I must say, I’m impressed. While SteamWorld Dig 2 has a pretty similar formula to the first game, there are a number of improvements which make the game even more enjoyable than before. Add that to the fantastic soundtrack and the fairly gripping story, and you’ve got a recipe for success.
SteamWorld Dig 2 loosely follows on from SteamWorld Dig, however this time rather than ol’ Rusty wielding the pick axe, it’s Dorothy, or Dot for short. Dot was in the first game but acted as one of the main NPCs you interacted with on the surface, but now she’s the main character. As for Rusty… well he’s missing and the world seems to be going to shit as earthquakes are destroying everything.
In comes Dot to investigate her friends disappearance which seems to be way more complicated than him simply just digging a bit too far.
From here you’re presented with a similar formula as before; Dig for resources, trade-in those resources for cash, upgrade your gear, rinse and repeat. This time however Image&Form have improved the overall gameplay by making just a few minor adjustments and changes which aren’t too unfamiliar for seasoned players, but make it a much more refreshing game than just re-skinning the first game.
One of these changes comes in the form of the Cog upgrades. Throughout the game you’ll come across Cogs which are usually at the end of certain caves or buried deep in the game world. Once you’ve grabbed a Cog or two, you can use this to further upgrade your gear, whether that’s making landings softer, making explosives hurt a lot less, or dealing damage back to those who hit you.
This allows you to further customise their Dot to suit their gameplay. Whether you prefer to carefully plan your route to maximise the amount of resources you get, or whether you prefer to just chip away regardless of what’s below. What’s more, Cogs aren’t fully committed to these mods as players are free to uninstall them as they see fit, using the Cogs to upgrade another feature. Cog Mods are definitely a welcome addition to the game, for sure.
As for other improvements and changes, there are some fairly fundamental changes to SteamWorld Dig 2 in regards to survival. No longer does your health get damaged when you’re out of light, nor does collecting water from the various deposits dotted throughout the game completely drain this resource. Of course, some may consider these changes as the developer pandering to players wanting a bit of an easier ride than before, however these changes allow you to progress through the game without micromanaging resources.
Instead, when you lack light, the game just becomes more difficult to play as it’s much harder to see what’s ahead of you. While it now acts as more of a mild inconvenience, it allows you to dig a little further rather than panicking to get back to the last tube to head back to the surface, something I felt was a little frustrating with the last game as I just wanted to explore the world a little more but the further I dug, the further I had to rush back whenever my light had gone out.
The reason for these changes however likely come down to there being way more things to pay attention to such as avoiding acid, pools of lava, and more enemies than you can shake a stick at. In SteamWorld Dig 2 the enemy count feels like it’s been doubled. Add the new cult members into the mix and you’ve got yourself a pretty busy game to deal with. That’s not a bad thing at all either, as these enemies become less avoidable as things go on and creates a much fresher gameplay experience.
As always, SteamWorld Dig 2’s art style is as charming as before. With more friendly robots as well as other new characters you come across in the game, each one has their own quirks, and you can’t help but take a second to take it all in. Another area in which the game shines is its soundtrack. I’ll be honest, whenever I ended up back on the surface I’d spend a little longer than I needed there just so I could take in that particular song – which I’d then be humming for most of the day.
Overall, SteamWorld Dig 2 is an improvement over the original and how sequels should be handled. While it’s not a complete departure like SteamWorld Heist, there are enough changes and improvements to make the game an incredible addition to the series, though it’d be incredibly difficult to revisit the first game once you’ve played through the second.
Would I recommend it… Hell yes. Whether you’re a fan of the first or a newcomer to the series, I’d definitely recommend getting this game. With over 8 hours of content for $20, you’d be stupid not to.