SteamWorld Dig 2

SteamWorld Dig 2 is everything fans could have wanted from a sequel. It looks fantastic, features a soundtrack that makes the mystery and danger of the mines resonate, and fixes the punctual issues of its predecessor while polishing the rough gameplay edges that existed. By combining the usual Metroidvania quest for new gear with tighter sections of puzzle-solving and platforming, it builds its own character and shows that indie ventures into that established genre can be more than simple homages to Metroid and Castlevania. There is still room for new discoveries out there, and if developers are able to find them and make them their own, it is possible to create adventures that, instead of being seen as minor diversions to pass the time while the big franchises do not deliver the goods, can comfortably stand side by side with those juggernauts.

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SteamWorld Heist

Being original is not exactly new to the SteamWorld saga, but Heist comes off as the culmination of a process in which Image & Form’s developers slowly gained more confidence in their product and, therefore, progressively felt more comfortable to tackle new ideas. Tower Defense approached a style that is frequently explored by smaller developers, but with a few curious twists in setting and gameplay; Dig used Metroid’s general structure as the starting point for the construction of something relatively new; and Heist dares to throw most influences out the window to create its own sandbox.

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SteamWorld Dig

SteamWorld Dig has, since its release, garnered numerous comparisons to the Metroid saga, and such parallels do make some sense. Like Samus, the protagonist is roaming through hostile dark caves that hide a secret and that exhale an air of ominous danger and mystery; moreover, the deeper Rusty digs – and he will indeed do a whole lot of digging – the sturdier his equipment needs to be in order to deal with the threats that lurk in the dark and with the obstacles that stand in his way. However, the similarities end there, as SteamWorld Dig – much to its benefit and to the delight of gamers that decide to jump into these mines – lifts itself from that familiar launchpad to build its own character with a good degree of success.

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