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iPhone  header logo

I Dig It: Journey to the Core

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Actually no, I don't

Product: I Dig It: Journey to the Core | Developer: InMotion Software | Publisher: Team Chaos | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Adventure, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
I Dig It: Journey to the Core iPhone, thumbnail 1
I can see why some people enjoy being "efficient".

Whether it's efficiency through movement, finances, use of language, or what have you, there's a pride to be felt in practising a repeatable activity so that you can eventually perform it perfectly with the minimum amount of effort.

I Dig It: Journey to the Core tries to be about efficiency, but instead of being a thrilling exercise in minimal movements it is instead a slow, boring, and unfair voyage involving blindly digging into the ground in the hope you might meet the game's strict requirements.

Plus there's a lot of grind.

It's not very good, basically.

Soul searching

IAPs explained
Gems are the hard currency that is doled out for free very rarely and 100 of them will cost you £0.69 / $0.99, while Coins are the softer currency that you earn through normal play and cost £0.69 / $0.99 for 2000 of them.

After about ten to fifteen minutes of play your digger will break down from use. You can then either wait for it to be repaired after a timer ticks down, or pay a whopping 100 Gems to continue playing immediately.
You have a digger, and you use that digger to dig, as a digger is wont to do, you dig me?

You can dig down, left, and right through the Earth, but not upwards, and you must be on solid ground to do so. You're trying to complete an objective set out at the beginning of the level: collect a certain amount of Diggins (buried items), or an amount of Diggins with a certain value, or a specific Diggin, or drain Oil to a pipeline without setting fire to it and yourself.

On your way you'll need to avoid drowning in any fluids in the various themed levels, but the main threat is running out of fuel. Each action you make - such as drilling, using your jet thrusters to ascend, and even normal movement - uses up this precious resource.

So you must carefully plan your route through each stage so that you minimise the amount of wasted movement, conserving your fuel by being as efficient as possible.

That's the theory at least. In practise each stage has random elements, so you can't plan your journey before you move, instead you need to grope in the (literal) dark, hoping that you'll pick up the items you need along the way, before you can then return to the surface to deposit your finds and complete the stage.

Each stage is essentially the same task, but with a new layout with more hazards. The oil levels add a little more variety, and play a bit like Where's My Water?, only without the nuance of Disney's brilliant puzzler.

Dig deep

If you do happen to have collected enough resources to complete the stage, you can stay underground to find the three buried Stars within, but again, it's a crapshoot as to whether you'll find them.

If you pop up to the surface at this time though, you'll turn in your treasures automatically, finishing the stage, denying yourself the opportunity to go back and find those all-important, new stage-opening Stars.

The gameplay oddities don't stop there. You have a limit as to how many items you can carry at any one time, and if you've reached your limit and touch a newly found Diggin it will vanish but not count towards your score, potentially scuppering your chances at beating the stage.

You can't queue up digging actions you'd like to make, which slows the pace to a crawl, but you can drag and hold on the screen to move about space a bit faster.

Then we come to the fact it's free-to-play. Stages are random, but if you haven't upgraded your rig in a while the layouts always seem weighted against you. The upgrades are extremely costly, and if you don't want to spend hours grinding the same levels over and over again for currency, you’ll need to cough up some cheddar. That's just not fun.

As you might expect of a game about digging underground for scraps, it's not exactly thrilling to look at either, and though stages are random they have no personality and consequently wind up looking identical. It's also not that funny, though it definitely thinks it is.

I Dig It: Journey to the Core suffers most from being free-to-play, because it's pretty obvious that to keep you from chewing through the content quickly the game is constructed in a way that doesn't give you a fair chance at winning, without spending money on upgrades.

In turn this makes the concept of efficiency far less important than the concept of grind, and no one will find this kind of grind enjoyable.
I Dig It: Journey to the Core
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 22 May 2014
The subject of 'efficiency' has the potential for a great game, but I Dig It: Journey to the Core is not that game
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