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iPhone  header logo

Doug dug.


For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

When you hit gold, stop digging

Product: Doug dug. | Developer: The Electric Toy Company | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Arcade | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.1
 
Doug dug. iPhone, thumbnail 1
We're total retro game lovers here at Pocket Gamer.

Mainly because we're quite old, and remember most classic games from when they were new and cutting edge. And because we can now see from our righteous vantage point of middle-age wisdom how they're way better than the 3D, online, massively massive, hyper-violent junk that The Kids all seem to think is so groundbreaking these days. They don't know they're born, they don't.

Erm, anyway. That being said, and blasphemous though it may be, we have to admit that not all games are good just because they're old.

We don't know about you other old people out there, but we never saw the appeal of Namco's 1982 maze-making title Dig Dug. It just made no sense from a gameplay standpoint. And other than a bit of arcade nostalgia, it's better off dead and buried (feel free to give me a kicking in the comments section below).

Obviously Doug dug. is based on Dig Dug, but don't hit the 'back' button just yet.

Digging up the past

The basic mechanics of Doug dug. are the same as the atrocious Dig Dug's. You're in charge of the titular dwarf, and you're charged with burrowing around in the ground looking for gold and jewels.

However, Doug dug. makes use of procedurally generated subterranean levels that just keep on going as deep as the dark places of the Earth, where only evil Balrogs and even more evil oil companies dare roam.

This small difference changes the game significantly. Your objective isn't to worm your way around a maze while avoiding enemies, then, but to survive your excavation for as long as possible. A small change from Dig Dug, yes, but a great one.

As you delve ever deeper, you'll find plenty of rare minerals to collect, and ramp up your dwarven bank account. Each offers a different value, but generally speaking you'll feel inclined to try and grab most every shiny thing within reach. The danger here is that you can easily cause a cave-in and squash poor Doug, at which point the game begins again.

Shovelware

The controls jar a little at first, but they soon prove to be borne of wise design decisions. Swipe downwards, and Doug digs down. Swipe left, and he digs left. With just a few minutes of practice, this initially inaccurate control method begins to work, and you can easily machine your way around the ground.

The earth you're moving isn't all the same material, though. You can plough through loose dirt, while black rock takes quite a bit of shifting. Doug dug. doesn't pit you against a timer, however, so the density of the earth you're working isn't a particular challenge.

What you need to be aware of is that excavating too much soft dirt beneath an outcropping of rock will cause a cave-in, from which it's pretty much impossible to escape.

It's here that Doug dug. hits its only real snag. While the cave-ins are an excellent and essential gameplay element (and can even be put to use in squashing some of the creatures you come across), it's a little unclear as to exactly what's going to collapse, and when.

Sometimes, removing a single square is enough to collapse the stone above. At other times, though, you seem able to leave blocks hanging in mid-air. The rules of rock removal need clarifying a bit.

This certainly isn't a deal breaker, though. Doug dug. is the game Dig Dug was always meant to be. And after just three short decades, it's great to finally be able to appreciate a game that - until now - has been wrongly called a classic.
 
Doug dug.
Reviewer photo
Spanner Spencer | 23 May 2014
We deeply dig Doug dug. Dig Dug, meanwhile, is downright dung
 
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