I first encountered the SteamWorld franchise on the Nintendo 3DS back in 2013 with SteamWorld Dig. It was a good-looking 2D Metroidvania style game that melded a classic Western with futuristic Steampunk mining robots. What’s not to like? The game starred Rusty and he wielded his trusty pickaxe as he explored the vast underground caverns littered with treasures, secrets, and of course monsters and traps. As the game progressed, he gained new powers that helped him reach new areas. It was (and still is) a fantastic game to play with witty writing and solid controls.
Now the sequel has been announced and it’s coming first to Nintendo Switch this summer. SteamWorld Dig 2 stars a new protagonist, this time a female robot named Dorothy who is once again on a quest for adventure. The biggest difference this time around from the original is that the level designs are handcrafted instead of procedurally generated like in the first game. That means the world should feel more cohesive and allows for the developers to include special rooms and areas that are more memorable and exciting to discover.
The core mechanics of the game appear to be unchanged for the sequel. The focus will still be on exploration of the underground and finding new items and powers that will allow you to dig further and reach areas that are inaccessible at the start. There will be plenty of jumping and platforming mechanics mixed with resource management. One new feature that’s been confirmed by the developers is HD Rumble for the Switch. Exactly how it will be utilized remains to be seen (felt?), but hopefully they come up with some compelling ways to immerse us even more than before.
The game also promised to feature more worlds and distinct environments. In the preview video shown last moth, we see Dorothy traversing an underground area that sort of looks like an ancient civilization once lived there. Torches line the walls and hieroglyphics adorn the stone structures. Mixed in are robotic enemies, keeping that future meets past aesthetic front and center. The graphics have seen a boost in quality, with even smoother animation, fancier dynamic lighting, and visuals that just pop more than in the original.
Currently the game is scheduled to release this summer on the Nintendo Switch. While no official word yet on a physical Game Card release, Image & Form Games is considering it, since their past games have done well at retail. We will have much more on Steam World Dig 2 as it approaches release.