The SteamWorld games to date, the first Dig and Heist, were a trip in style over some really interesting and different game ideas. From a Metroidvania to XCOM-esque shooter, I think the expectation for a lot of us SteamWorld Dig fans out there was that they’d move onto another genre, but instead they returned to the cyber-western underground and got back into Steamworld with Dig 2. Suffice to say, I was very excited.
Talking to Julius, one of the designers on SteamWorld Dig 2, launching on a Nintendo platform was important to them because they had been very good and open to them, were great about getting them an early development kit, and it was a natural fit after launching SteamWorld Dig and SteamWorld Heist both first on 3DS. The Switch is a great fit for me too, with the best platform for Steamworld Dig 1 standing as the Vita/PS4 Cross Buy combo, allowing you to jump between both with little issue.
SteamWorld Dig 2 starts you off as Dorothy, one of the shopkeeper characters from the original, off to explore some new set of mines with her own pickaxe. Rusty, the hero from the original, was implied to be a big component to the story that they weren’t touching on in this first showing for SteamWorld Dig 2. Regardless, jumping back into the dirt and hitting rocks with the pickaxe was just as satisfying as it was before. Things seemed to move faster, and I got through the rocks ahead of me with little holding me back. I don’t know if it’s the distance from my last (and third) playthrough of the first title, but the speed seemed upped just a little and enough to notice a stronger pacing of things.
I jumped right into getting some gems, though there didn’t appear to be some inventory slots limited the amount of treasure I could hold before having to return to some unseeable surface, but I was explicitly told that this was just the tutorial area of the game. It took me down a bit into a new upgrade, with was a very reminiscent-of-Metroid contraption that gave me the run ability, one of the first upgrades you get in the original title too. After grabbing the ability, and a quick tutorial-ish area challenging me to use it in the variety of manners in the world.
The section led to a quick boss fight, which was actually a little epic, involving jumping on a floating machine and smashing down into it with the pickaxe. The first game only included one final boss, and Julius assured me that the sequel would include multiple, of varying types and varieties. In fact, the general sentiment he used to describe Steamworld Dig was, “bigger, longer, better,” and had them doubling down on the Metroidvania mechanics. It left a lot of questions, like will there be towns? Inventory management? Are we jumping all around to sell things and then buy upgrades, like before? There will definitely be more upgrades than before, and a lot more tools than the first title. The one very specific question I did ask was if you’d be able to jump and use the pickaxe at any point, and I was very happy to hear an emphatic yes. Fans of that first will rejoice at this.
SteamWorld Dig 2 comes first to Nintendo Switch this summer, but they definitely expressed interest in putting it out on more platforms afterward, much like they have with their previous Steamworld titles. Even after such a small taste, I’m excited for just more Dig in my future.