Parents' Guide to

SteamWorld Dig

By Jeff Haynes, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Fun drilling adventure with mild violence ends too quickly.

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This quirky platforming adventure game strikes a great balance between fun and challenging, but it's over too quickly to let you fully enjoy the experience. SteamWorld Dig follows many of the same gameplay mechanics such as those in the Metroid or Castlevania franchises, where you start out with a basic set of skills and weapons. By the end of a stage or two, you've unlocked new abilities that allow you to reach previously inaccessible areas, which further drives you to explore, and on and on. Unlike those games, you have a certain amount of flexibility when it comes to exploring some sections of the mine; you can attempt to avoid creatures entirely in favor of mining, or you can attempt to clear every threat to you and your town. That does come with a bit of danger, because if you wind up dying, you lose half your hard-earned cash; since there's a limited amount of gems found on a level, you'll have to weigh whether it's actually worth it to destroy that creature in front of you or better to run until you have stronger weapons and more health.

What's also an interesting twist to the standard platforming formula is you're constantly forced to return to the surface to trade in gems and restore your energy stores. Initially it seems repetitive and possibly boring, but it strangely manages to provide some additional strategy: Do you create shafts to get up and down to unexplored areas as quickly as possible before your light runs out, or do you try to collect everything? Do you focus only on bringing up the pricey gems at first to ensure you get the most for your money during trade? Do you know which upgrade to spend your cash on? It adds an extra level of complexity that can be a bit challenging to scale, even with new abilities you eventually acquire. But the largest issue with SteamWorld Dig is the fact that it's over way too quickly. It's possible to fly through this game in about 10 hours even with a couple of mistakes, so just as you're starting to feel very powerful, you hit the final boss and the game ends. SteamWorld Dig is a fun and enjoyable platformer, which would be better if it were longer.

Game Details

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