PAX East 2017: SteamWorld Dig 2 is More Than a Fresh Coat of Paint

When the original SteamWorld Dig came out back in 2013, it was a bit of a sleeper hit. I remember picking it up on PlayStation Vita as a little indie game that I thought looked fascinating, and then ended up falling in love with it. The metroidvania style of the game with the slight Spelunky-like downward movement was new and fresh. So when I heard SteamWorld Dig 2 was coming soon, and that it would be a bigger, more fleshed out experience, I was pumped. At PAX East, we were able to get a small taste of how SteamWorld Dig 2 will play, and what the story might look like.

At its core, SteamWorld Dig 2 maintains the original tenants of the original, having players go up to the surface to replenish their equipment and upgrade themselves so that they can make it further down the next time. Just as well, there will be returning characters, including Dorothy, your friend from the first game whom you’ll actually be playing as in the sequel. She can dig just as Rusty could, and can wall jump too. Dorothy will also acquire upgrades throughout the game, which will grant you new abilities, as well as allow you access to new areas.

The PAX demo was the introduction level to the game, just without the exposition. It kind of just threw you in, but with the simple but interesting mechanics of SteamWorld, it actually worked out. I made my way down, encountering ores to dig up, harmless but slightly annoying pockets of water, and eventually a mini-boss. The enemy robot had a simple mechanic but wasn’t necessarily easy to defeat. He was a floating mech that spewed out blue electricity orbs and changed up his tactics as you whittled down his health. To hurt the boss, all you needed to do was jump on his back and hit him on the head. This got more difficult as he began to move around the area, with fewer and fewer platforms to use as he blew them away. Luckily there were a bunch of health packs available throughout the fight.

The biggest difference I noticed from the original game was the art style and graphics. SteamWorld Dig 2 is beautiful, and that’s compared to the first, which was a really good looking game. Everything has been revamped, and with it coming exclusively to Switch (for now), and with a bigger team this time around, it seems they were able to take the time to smooth out the art style without the limitations of the Vita and the 3DS.

While the rest of the demo felt pretty much identical to the first game, the promise of more levels, upgrades, and a bigger story, the idea of more SteamWorld Dig is enough to get me excited. So in short, lovers of the first iteration will definitely want to keep their eyes on the sequel.

SteamWorld Dig 2 is set to release this summer on the Nintendo Switch, and they said they will get it on as many other consoles as possible as soon as possible.