SteamWorld Dig Review (Switch)

SteamWorld Dig is indie developer Image & Form’s first claim to fame. Originally released on 3DS in 2013, Dig was universally “dug” around the industry. On February 1st, 2018, Nintendo fans get another chance to play this instant classic on Switch.

SteamWorld Dig joins its sequel and SteamWorld Heist, on the eShop. The main differences between the original Dig and Dig 2 are that, 1: this game is shorter, and 2: the underground labyrinths are randomly generated. It’s kind of like having your own village in Animal Crossing, where all the same features are present, but their placements are determined by an algorithm. This is helpful for people like me who have beaten the game before, to have a fresh experience upon revisiting the steampunk world.

You play as Rusty as you navigate the Earth’s underbelly, mining deeper and deeper under the surface. As you traverse, you’ll gather gems and ore along the way. Once your pouch is full, or your lantern runs out, you will return to the town above, sell your goods, and use the money you earned to upgrade equipment. (By the way, the non-playable robot who you sell to is Dorothy, who goes on to star in SteamWorld Dig 2.) Stronger tools allow you to dig deeper, unlocking more sections of the world in a creative spin on the Metroidvania gameplay loop. Continuing to advance, you will discover caves featuring puzzles that have a predetermined design.

This pattern of digging, mining, spending, upgrading, and repeating is the core of SteamWorld Dig. And it’s a strong core. Few games rival it in instantly hooking the player. The soundtrack is solid (even eliciting memories of Metroid Prime at times), controls and interface are extremely user friendly, and everything periphery melts away as you focus on your goal. However, one aspect of the game sticks out like a sore thumb—and that is combat, which is neither compelling nor rewarding. Rudimentary enemy patterns and limited offensive options leave you feeling lucky when you succeed, but more often, just wishing you could avoid enemies altogether. On that note, with the right tools you can hurry and strike some baddies before they hatch, preventing a cumbersome encounter.

Combat is a mere distraction and not an essential part of the experience, which continues to be a weakness in the series. That’s just about the lone complaint there is to find in this game. Although, I have to wonder if Image & Form could have spent longer to make this a more enticing package. The developers have come a long way and learned many lessons since this game was released. Originally, SteamWorld Dig was finalized at the point just before their team went bankrupt. They’ve gone on record saying that it wasn’t wholly completed to their liking. This port was an opportunity to enhance or add value, but the devs instead opted to do a quick and dirty port.

Okay—the port isn’t dirty at all, but how could I resist that pun with a game about digging? To be clear, the game runs and looks great on Switch. And with no additional bells or whistles, they’ve created an affordable entryway into the wonderful SteamWorld lineup of games. This is worth picking up if you’ve somehow skipped the series, or if you’ve been missing Rusty, his original adventure, and the grassroots origin of one of the best developers on Nintendo eShop. You’d be hard-pressed to play this game without a grin on your face.

SteamWorld Dig gets an 8/10.

Review // SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition (Nintendo Switch)

SteamWorld Heist is an indie game developed by Image & Form, who brought us the immensely popular SteamWorld Dig game and its sequel.

Heist takes place after the events of Dig 2, as our robotic characters struggle to cling to existence after Planet Earth has been shattered.

Resources are scarce, and that’s why our trusty Steambot pirate leader Piper and her scrappy crew are exploring space and raiding enemy ships for loot.

The objective of the game is to enter a series of procedurally generated ships, accomplish certain missions like obtaining epic swag, rescuing robots in distress, or destroying big baddies.

Combat consists of moving your characters behind cover, lining up shots, and firing weapons that you’ve collected from across space. Many times, destroying all enemies is not a requirement for success, so it pays to play smart and keep the mission in mind.

Along your journey, you will collect a plethora of weapons in many categories and a ragtag bunch of crew members with different abilities. It’s up to you to determine your loadout for each mission, and any characters that survive the ensuing encounters will gain more experience points and level up.

Controls are flawless. Whether you’re playing with Joy-Con, Pro Controller, or even touching the screen without the need for any buttons, the game adapts to the way you want to play. You can gain a bit more accuracy by aiming with the touch screen if you prefer, even if you play the rest of the game with analog sticks and buttons.

Gameplay in SteamWorld Heist is turn-based, but fast-paced and exciting during the player’s turn. Aiming is a nonstop challenge that gets easier with experience, and as you learn how your character’s “breathe” and move naturally as you line up a shot. Sometimes, I wished that I could speed up the enemies’ turn, especially when multiple Scrappers and turrets were on screen. A “zoom-out” button also would have been helpful for scouting a ship, but panning around works fine.

It’s hard to complain about the graphics in this game, which are high definition with a stylized art approach. Presentation is equally good, with quick load times, a driving atmospheric soundtrack, simple user interface, and genuinely funny and clever writing that endears you to the characters and their world.

SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition boasts a healthy amount of content, including DLC previously sold on other platforms. A large range of difficulty settings promises replayability, as well as New Game+ mode unlocked after beating the game (which took me over 10 hours). The downloadable content adds a playable character, interesting side-missions, and a load of hats with pop-culture references.

Simeon and I both played through this title simultaneously, and it was really fun to compare our loadouts, including all the optional characters Simeon unlocked while I was impatiently pressing through the main storyline. Exploration and strategizing is rewarded in this title!

SteamWorld Heist is easily recommendable to everyone that enjoyed Mario + Rabbids, the Worms series, or previous SteamWorld games. Heist has more limited movement options than Kingdom Battle, but is also available for the lower launch price of $20 on the Switch eShop, launching December 28th. To sum it up, it’s a challenging, rewarding, interesting, smooth, expansive game for a great value. Two Button Crew awards SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition an 8.25 out of 10. Buy it!

SteamWorld Heist, Street Fighter News!

SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition is coming to Nintendo Switch! Also announced as a multiplatform game from Capcom: Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection. Which announcement are you most of excited about? Let us know in the comments!

“Exit the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

There’s a 2D Breath of the Wild on Switch eShop Scott’s Thoughts

On the Nintendo Switch eShop, there’s a 2-dimensional Breath of the Wild for sale.

It’s called SteamWorld Dig 2.

This is an indie title by Image & Form. You don’t have to like steampunk culture or have beaten the original to enjoy this title, it stands on its own as a must-play.

Everything that you loved about the the open-world Zelda adventure is here, in this little downloadable title.

Strictly speaking, Dig 2’s genre is most like a Metroidvania, but fans of Breath of the Wild will feel right at home in the game’s underground caverns.

Did you like defeating shrines? You’re in luck; with caves, puzzles must be completed to earn collectibles and power-ups. Just like shrines, caves feature additional hidden secrets apart from the main objective, for explorers and completionists.

Like Link’s stamina mechanics, the main character (Dorothy) has meters for water and light that the player has to keep an eye on and take into account while trying to reach new areas.

The game can be played nonlinearly, any time you wish to take a break from the main plotline to enhance your strengths.

Filling in Hyrule’s map by locating towers is not unlike uncovering new caverns and locating fast-travel points.

Special abilities can be unlocked that are very similar to the Champion Abilities in Zelda. I activated an especially helpful modification in SteamWorld which I lovingly referred to right away as “Mipha’s Grace.” Even the HUD elements share attributes in common, like how the special abilities indicate on-screen when they are ready to be used.

Don’t miss this title! Even if you don’t feel like you’re ready for “another Breath of the Wild,” keep in mind that this game is much smaller. SteamWorld Dig 2 doesn’t overstay it’s welcome.

It’s also plenty unique, with a creative world, interesting characters, and fun gameplay loops that keep you coming back and digging deeper.

Steam-Rolling Through Dig 2!

It’s the first installment of Let’s Play Switch! Simeon and Scott sit down to take SteamWorld Dig 2 for a spin, the newly released digging Metroidvania Nindie title. Is it worth your $20? Yes! Is it worth you watching this entire video? Yes again!

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Home of the Indies: Nintendo Switch

After an incredible Indie Showcase that Nintendo aired before the launch of their new platform, the Nintendo Switch, I’m still left thinking about that reel of stellar indie software. The lineup looks fantastic, and in an otherwise barren stretch without software between Zelda and Mario Kart, the indies are going above and beyond in filling in the gaps.

Nintendo really stepped up their game in the way that they are courting independent developers this generation. You can tell. You can feel the excitement emanating from these smaller, self-publishing game creators. Not only is a slew of great games coming to Switch, but the indies are providing exclusives and timed exclusives by the handful.

Nintendo Voice Chat Indie Special

Recently IGN’s Nintendo podcast took a week off their normal format and interviewed some fine folks. They sat down and talked with many of the creators that were featured in Nintendo’s showcase, but also interviewed the employee of Nintendo in charge of managing these releases, all in one informative episode.

While you should definitely give the full show a watch or listen, I took two very important facts away from it:

1: Expect indie games to be enhanced with unique Switch features. Nintendo is helping indies implement the latest and greatest into their titles, and helping make these games more attractive on the Nintendo platform as well.

2: More selectivity is determining what appears on the eShop. It’s not an open invitation for indie developers anymore, but only the best of the best are being let in to the new eShop. This might seem like a step backward in Nintendo’s indie relations, but they’re really just taking an active step in keeping the shovelware out and wooing the best developers in. Damon Baker is the man in charge of Nintendo’s “portfolio management,” so he’ll be making a lot of calls, taking people out to golf, and not taking no for an answer when it comes to getting Nintendo fans access to the smartest indie titles.

Technology Implementation

Nintendo isn’t the only company taking advantage of HD Rumble or the other technologies packed into the Joy-Con controllers. Indies are crazy about this technology, and have reported that Nintendo’s documentation is off-the-charts helpful…

Let me say that again:

Nintendo’s development documenation for Switch is insanely good.

I know – sounds boring to you or me, but developers are going crazy about this. And it means we get better games, faster, so there’s that!

In one example of rapid technology implementation, Tomorrow Corp’s games (World of Goo, Human Resource Machine, Little Inferno) already take advantage of the IR-free Motion Pointer technology before it’s been seen from any other developer, first-party, third-party, or otherwise.

Indie games that allow full iPad-like touch-screen only controls as an option are also on the way.

Convenient Porting

Indie developers are having extremely efficient experiences in getting their existing games running on Switch hardware, which has historically not been the case with Nintendo platforms. In the IGN interview above, devs stated times between a single hour to two weeks when discussing port timeframes.

Not to mention that development kits are actually on the cheap end of the spectrum for indies! At approximately $450 per kit, it’s hardly a barrier of entry for anyone hoping to see their game running on Nintendo hardware. Finally, the Big N seems to have created a win-win situation with their development environment.

Support Them!

Switch is the perfect console for indie games. It’s easy to develop for, fully-featured hardware, that we can take with us anywhere! Let’s show independent developers that we respect their time and appreciate their efforts by voting with our wallets.

Watch for these upcoming (and some newly released) games:

  • Runner3 from Choice Provisions
  • SteamWorld Dig 2 from Image & Form Games
  • Yooka Laylee from Team 17 and Playtonic Games
  • Blaster Master Zero from Inti Creates
  • Pocket Rumble from Chucklefish Games and Cardboard Robot Games
  • Flipping Death from Zoink Games
  • Mr. Shifty from tinyBuild and Team Shifty
  • Wargroove from Chucklefish Games
  • Stardew Valley from Chucklefish Games and ConcernedApe
  • Shakedown Hawaii from vBlank
  • Graceful Explosion Machine from Vertex Pop
  • Tumbleseed from aeiowu
  • Overcooked: Special Edition from Team 17 and Ghost Town Games
  • The Escapists 2 from Team 17 and Mouldy Toof
  • GoNNER from Raw Fury and Art in Heart
  • Kingdom: Two Crowns from Raw Fury and Noio
  • Dandara from Raw Fury and Long Hat House
  • Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove & Specter of Torment by Yacht Club Games
  • World of Goo by Tomorrow Corp
  • Human Resource Machine by Tomorrow Corp
  • Little Inferno by Tomorrow Corp

What Our Favorite Upcoming Nindie Games Are

No pun in this snippet – the Nindies really are knocking it out of the park on this console!

Wow, if you like indie games, you’re in for a treat with the Nintendo Switch! A large swath of games is incoming throughout this month and the next few to come. Nintendo is taking a more active role in curating relationships with indie developers, and only letting the top quality content through to the eShop. That’s why Nintendo’s Nindie presentation a few weeks ago was jam-packed with exciting and engaging titles. Here are our favorites!

Shot by Alex Campbell

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0