Swedish developer Image & Form has been bringing SteamWorld Dig to every available system. This means that one system is going to receive the game last and in this case it's Microsoft's home console. If you're counting, the Xbox One version of SteamWorld Dig is the sixth time players have had a chance to purchase Image & Form's steampunk-themed platformer. It has been almost two years since SteamWorld Dig originally released on 3DS, so is it still fun to play or is it starting to show its age?
Players take control of a robot named Rusty, who sets out to explore his recently deceased Uncle Joe's goldmine. Inside the mine, Rusty finds valuable jewels and many enemies that are happy to leave Rusty in the same condition as his poor Uncle.
To deal with these enemies, Rusty uses his tool of choice: the pickaxe. By swinging his pickaxe he can hack his way through the mine's rocks and foes. Doing so will help him get to the bottom of both Joe's death and also the mine.
Combat in SteamWorld Dig is largely a melee affair, as the ability to attack from a distance isn't unlocked until much later in the game. Rusty can take care of himself, but most of the time it makes sense to avoid conflict. There is a good incentive to defeat these foes, though, as they drop some of the game's most valuable resources, such as light that keeps the cave lit, which Rusty will need to continue exploring.
SteamWorld Dig offers up an expansive, procedurally-generated mine to explore. While there is a lot of space to roam around in, key areas such as caves are marked on the in-game mini map. This makes sure that the player is never at a loss as to where to go next. By completing tasks in the caves, the player will quickly gain additional power-ups such as a drill and a steam-powered jump. Rusty begins the game as a clunky robot, but by the end he is a highly mobile machine. Players are constantly getting new abilities, and are forced to use these abilities in order to progress through the game.
When not battling enemies or going through the mine, Rusty can resurface to the game's hub area, Tumbletown. This old western town has shops where you can sell gems that you've collected and purchase various items. These items include permanent upgrades to your health, better pickaxes that can break apart rocks more quickly, and single use items such as dynamite.
Upgrading Rusty's health is a must, as only a few hits from an enemy will cause the robot to collapse. Checkpoints are spread pretty far apart, so players will want to play cautiously to avoid silly deaths. Once dead the player drops his backpack in the mine (full of collected minerals) that can be collected on future trips down the mine.
While there is only one boss fight in SteamWorld Dig, it is such a challenging and fun battle that it makes up for there not being more. The boss battle forces the player to show off every skill that they have learned, and is the most memorable part of Image & Form's platformer.
Players who have only seen the 3DS version are in for a treat, as the console version of SteamWorld Dig features gorgeous artwork and animated character portraits. It's great to see the world that was first seen in SteamWorld Tower Defense fully realized in high definition. There are three distinct areas in the game, and each features different locales and enemy types. SteamWorld Dig constantly wows with its visual style.
Even more impressive than the graphics is the title's Western movie inspired soundtrack. It's a complete joy to listen to from beginning to end and the sound design as a whole is one of the game's high points, as every sound effect really helps bring the game to life.
While it will only take you a few hours to beat SteamWorld Dig, it's a game that makes every moment count. There is no filler, only excellent content to be experienced. Whether it is a player's first or sixth time playing through SteamWorld Dig, they are in for an absolute treat. This is one platform game that should not be missed.