SteamWorld Dig (Wii U) Review

Mine-d yourself down there.

After originally being released on the 3DS, followed by releases on PC, PS4 and PS Vita, SteamWorld Dig has been released on the Wii U. Having played a small amount on the PS4, I knew the gist of the game but didn’t really get into playing it for much longer than a couple of hours. However, since playing it on the Wii U, I have delved deep into the mine and discovered a lot more going on than just swinging my pickaxe at dirt.

The biggest difference, and the best reason for using the Wii U platform, is the use of the GamePad, which SteamWorld Dig does so brilliantly. It looks visually fantastic, and the bold colours and unique art style work well on both the television screen and the GamePad.

Welcome to town.

Platforms: Wii U, 3DS, PlayStation 4, PC, Vita
MSRP: $9.99
Multiplayer: None

For those who have not played or heard of SteamWorld Dig, it is a 2D platform game where players must enter an old mine in the town of Tumbleton left by the character’s uncle. Players must mine down to collect ores to sell to rebuild this forgotten town, and find out secrets that their uncle died trying to discover. This is not without its difficulties – enemies will try to kill the player and explosives will activate if players get too, not to mention balancing health, water and oil levels.

Obviously things are there to help too. Players can get upgrades on the surface for their pickaxe, health, inventory size, lantern and water tank. Plus they can buy helpful items like teleporters, ladders, lamps and dynamite to name a few. Players buy these by selling any ore found, and by finding special orbs scattered around the mines. Once players reach certain points in the game, more people come to the town, which unlocks more stuff to buy.

The controls for me took a little time to master, and I happened to accidentally place random lamps and bits of ladder where I didn’t really need them. I think this was mostly just me though, as the controls are clearly displayed on the pause screen and players can make sure they have nothing equipped to accidentally place too – great for people like me who like to press different buttons sometimes for no reason.

So much to explore, so little time.

When playing on the television screen, the GamePad acts as the inventory screen. They can then easily see what ores have been collected so far and their value by just a quick glance into their lap. The map, total money and collected orbs are also clearly on display, making the TV screen less cluttered. However, if players don’t like to keep looking down when they’re playing, they can choose not to have anything displayed on the GamePad, and have it all on the TV screen. Alternatively it can be played solely on the GamePad, all by pressing the ‘select’ button at any point to cycle through these options.

The best part of the release on the Wii U is the fact that you can just play it as a handheld game but with a decent sized screen to get a good feel for the whole atmosphere. Obviously you do miss out a little on a better quality sound and picture from not playing on your TV, but it is a great thing to do when someone else is hogging the TV and you want to play some games too! *ahem* But seriously, this is an ideal game for this platform, and great to just pick up and play at any time.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Great GamePad utilization
  • Fun game
  • Lots to explore
  • A little repetitive
Written by
Laura has been gaming from a young age, growing up with a Sega Mega Drive. She is a massive Sonic fan, and will argue that the best game of all time is Sonic Spinball. Playing puzzle games gives her a metaphorical hard on, but she enjoys most game genres.