If there was one complaint folks had about SteamWorld Dig, it was that they wanted more of it. Developers Image & Form are aiming to do just that with the franchise’s first sequel, SteamWorld Dig 2. They’re hoping to go full Metroidvania with their latest game.“We're going to have this big large world that you can get to explore and revisit with new upgrades to discover new secrets and abilities in places you've already been. We also get to focus more on battling monsters and defeating bosses, so it's going to be a lot of fun,” Julius Guldbog, Image & Form’s Community Manager, explained to me at PAX East.
While the scale of the game is much bigger this time around, with lots of new collectibles and powerups, the game at its core is still essentially SteamWorld, and that’s not a bad thing.
Keep on Diggin’
SteamWorld Dig 2 stars a new heroine, Dorothy, who you may recognize as the friendly shopkeep from the first game. The team is keeping mum for now on the game’s story in their ongoing penchant for surprise.
I was able to glean a few details, though. Dorothy sets out to find a long lost friend, but along the way she’ll find a new companion. “That character is incredibly important to the SteamWorld lore in general,” Guldbog hinted. Dorothy will be meeting an assortment of other quirky new characters along the way, and the story will tie in with the overarching SteamWorld fiction.
A miner’s life
The demo I played starts you off in a tutorial dungeon, gently introducing you to the various platforming mechanics. Digging through the starting area, the controls were smooth and responsive. While you can dig up ores and other collectibles, players may also discover all manner of spike pits and pressure pad gates -- the typical booby traps of games of this nature. Exploration feels organic but the game gently guides you from one discovery to the next.
Eventually I discovered my first power up, the Sprint Hydraulics, which let you dash about at high speed. These power ups let you access areas of the dungeon you may not have been able to reach before -- suddenly I could dash through timed gates or make longer jumps.
The demo is capped by a boss fight that’s very Metroidvania in nature. The robot shoots lasers as you try to jump and dig out of harm’s way. Jump on top of the monstrosity to dig at its weak point and save the day. It’s a true test of the skills you’ve learned earlier on.
My time with the game was quite brief, but SteamWorld Dig 2 shows great promise so far. It is indeed more of the same, though I’m excited to explore the larger world Image & Form will be placing at our fingertips, and it will certainly be interesting to see where the story takes us this time around.
SteamWorld Dig 2 arrives on the Nintendo Switch sometime this summer, though other platforms may get the game a bit later.