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SteamWorld Dig [Wii U] - Review

Home > SteamWorld Dig [Wii U] - Review

Steamworld Dig Logo

What's with all these digging games lately? Mining too. I thought I'd taken all the digging I could handle between Spelunky, Terraria, and Shovel Knight, but man was I wrong. SteamWorld Dig still manages to break ground (see what I did there?) on the Wii U eShop.

Platforms: 3DS | Wii U [Reviewed] | PC | PS4 | PS Vita
Developer: Image & Form
Release:August 28, 2014
MSRP: $9.99
Press Copy provided by Image & Form

SteamWorld Dig is Image & Form's latest entry in the SteamWorld series. It's been out for a while on PC, PS4, PSVita, and 3DS, and will be making it's way onto the Wii U eShop in just a few days. It'll set you back a mere ten-spot. That's good in all, but what is it?

Steamworld Screenshot

Rusty (a steambot) finds himself in the town of Tumbleton after his uncle has a tragic accident. In an effort to boost the economy of the town, Rusty takes over his uncle's mine. After picking up a pickaxe, he's ready to head underground. Mines in SteamWorld Dig are randomly generated, although caves inside the mines are pre-built levels. Scattered throughout the mines (of which there are three) are minerals that you can bring back up to town at anytime to exchange for gold. The further down you dig, the more valuable the minerals are. You can use the gold you get to purchase upgrades or new equipment that will assist you in your mining endeavors. Although the story and concept are simple, they fit the game well. You're never left to wonder what you do next, you simple dig down and collect minerals. Although this sounds like it could get old fast, it doesn't. The gameplay in SteamWorld Dig is rock solid (I'm really sorry for that) and probably the game's strongest point. What makes the game so fun is that every chunk of dirt you dig is a permanent change. This means you choose what your mines will look like and you have the ability to make it easier (or impossible) to navigate. Careful thought before digging is advised and required, just because you can go further down doesn't mean you'll be able to get back up.

Steamworld Screenshot

It sounds simple enough, but there is a lot of strategy involved. For example, I quickly learned that while reappearing blocks in Vectron are awesome for getting down quickly, they'll make it near impossible to make your way back to the surface. It didn't take long to realize the best way to kill a Boozer is to dig a hole under him, and that some enemies will kill each other if you play things right. Variables such as your inability to mine diagonally and the need to resurface for light add to the challenge and the game is consequently more fun. While the mine areas are randomly generated for every save file, certain things stay the same. There's a limited amount of available ore, so if you game over enough times (you lose 50% of your money on hand upon death) it's possible that you can't get every item. Another aspect that's the same for all players are the caves found inside mines. Caves aren't random, and have a focus on solving puzzles to get a new power-up/ability at the end. The puzzles and platforming in these games are solid, to say the least.

The story and characters in SteamWorld Dig seem a tad underdeveloped. I was left wondering why the only residents of Tumbleton were shop owners, and what's the Saloon there for anyway? You can't go inside. The game makes up for a lack of NPCs with interesting new areas and a killer final boss. Aesthetically, SteamWorld Dig is great. The visuals and graphics are high definition and fit the game well. The music is both fitting and pleasant. This being said, both are better than average but neither are mind blowing. The game looks and sounds nice, but better has been seen.

Steamworld Screenshot

Wii U The Wii U version of the game is graphically superior to both the 3DS and Playstation Vita versions. The game will have a crossbuy promotion in PAL regions that allows you to buy the 3DS version 25% off and vise versa (PS4 and Vita versions have full cross-buy). Off-TV mode is fully supported, so the game can be played on only the gamepad if desired. You can also choose to use the gamepad display as a map and inventory screen, or play on the TV only. There's also a special easter egg hidden only in the Wii U version.

SteamWorld Dig is a delightful experience on the Wii U eShop. It gets off to a slow start, but after fifteen minutes I couldn't convince myself to stop digging. Each play through of the game is unique, you can take as long as you want exploring or bust through the ground like a madman. Anyway you drill it, SteamWorld Dig is a fistfull of fun.


  • Rewarding gameplay
  • Very replayable
  • Great value
  • Aesthetically fitting


  • Somewhat short
  • Lots of backtracking



Excellent games have our official recommendation and our examples of what every game should strive to be. These games feature exciting gameplay, engaging stories (when applicable), intuitive controls and movement, polished and fitting presentations, and good value. Above all else, these games are truly fun to play.

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About the Author: Rial Johnson

Rial Johnson founded Nintendo Castle in 2011 with hopes to build the largest collection of Nintendo walkthroughs, guides, and content on the web. He is an avid gamer with a special place in his heart for Nintendo, but often finds himself writing about games more than actually playing them. You'll likely see him around Nintendo Castle and on social media, mostly managing the front-end content of the site.

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