Steamworld Dig was a fantastic take on a steampunk western post apocalypse, and Steamworld Dig 2 expands on its predecessor in almost every way, with hand-crafted levels instead of procedural generation, excellent platforming, better level design and enemy encounters, RPG systems, and a significant visual upgrade.
For those new to the series, Steamworld Dig 2 is a mix of digging, exploration, platforming, and combat. It’s a 2D side-scroller and has a simple yet enjoyable story that holds up well enough to push you along. You play as Dorothy who’s searching for Rusty, and old friend who’s gone missing, and was also the protagonist in the first game. Tremors have shook the world, and it’s up to Dorothy to dig in deep and discover what’s causing them.
While the premise is simple, the presentation and gameplay are absolutely fantastic. Everything looks polished and crisp, and the art-style looks unique and gorgeous. The different levels have their own aesthetic that distinguishes them from others, and it really shows how much attention to detail was given in hand-crafting them instead of generating them procedurally.
Since combat, exploration and platforming are the core aspects of the Steamworld Dig 2, it’s good to see how robust these mechanics are. Controls feel spot on, and Dorothy makes quick work of platforms and obstacles. You keep unlocking upgrades and tools that make otherwise harder tasks easier, and are constantly motivated to keep pushing further.
All your items can be upgraded, making the constant feed of rewards turn into an addictive loop. Combat is fast, and soon enough you’ll be lobbing bombs and shooting up foes with ease. The game still manages to remain challenging, with boss encounters requiring clever manoeuvring and focused approach. The big emphasis on customization allows you to approach situations the way you want to, and none of your abilities are locked in, so you can switch up tactics on the fly.
The fast-travel system makes it easier to hope back to the town, replenish supplies, health and the lamp. However, you do need to find the tubes that connect back to town, and as your lamp starts getting dimmer, tensions rise. It’s still not too intense, but you are constantly contemplating the risks vs the rewards of pushing along further.
There’s a lot to love about Steamworld Dig 2, mostly dues to the absolutely addictive loop on the combat, platforming, looting, and upgrading. Fantastic level design adds to the overall joy of exploration and combat encounters are well placed to offer regular variety. This is a game that will have you hooked for a good while, but sadly does end a bit too soon. I hope a ‘New Game Plus’ gets added with future updates, because I’ll take any reason to dig back in!