Howdy there, fancy seeing you. If you’re here, you’re here to dig up the dirt on this little known secret called SteamWorld Dig 2. Well... you’ve come to the right place. Grab a chair and sit down. Take a listen and let me tell you about a little Steambot named Dorothy.
Ya see, Dorothy McCrank is a Steambot from Tumbleton, a little town just east of here. She’s looking for her pal Rusty. She used to dish out some of that cold hard cash for the gems he’d bring her but now she’s found herself doin’ the bringin’! She’s got to if she wants to level herself up, strengthen her arsenal, and find who she’s looking for. Over time she’ll earn more and more weapons and support stats. The method of searching for loot in the deep dark depths of the dirt, coming up for light and to sell the goods, well, it makes for a rather rewarding experience if I say so myself. There’s something about the level of progression in SteamWorld Dig 2 that just catches my fancy. There is always something driving Dorothy forward. Progress is the name of the game but it doesn’t feel trivialized either, since it still takes effort wise decision-making. As she earns the cash, will she spend it on armor, weaponry, or maybe something else entirely? Each surfacing is a new push forward and luckily for her, there are plenty of tube chutes to utilize for fast travel. A Steambot doesn’t have much time to waste when looking for her best friend.
Digging down in the mine is dangerous. Rusty sure knew that and Dorothy is learning that herself. There is familiar terrain and there are dangerous creatures down there but it’s nothin’ a little pick-axe can’t handle. However, she needs to watch out for falling debris! Boulders and acid can fall and drip and enemies can get the drop on you. You need to be on your titanium toes! Life in the mines can be tough, but it’s fair though. Nothing feels cheap as the world down there has rhyme, reason, and intent. Learn the rules and you can move the dirt. That’s how it always was, and that’s how it’s always gonna be.
Unlike when Rusty was digging, Dorothy’s journey is going to bring her to new locations she’s never seen before. She might come to them totally by accident, and that sense of discovery is strong in the dirt. Doorways aren’t the only thing hidden as there are plenty of artifacts to find. Folks keep leavin’ their belongings down there, and luckily they happen to be clever and fun things to discover. Nothin’ like hitting a square and finding something secret. SteamWorld Dig 2 is just full of them there secrets. The sense of discovery is unlike most experiences in its genre or otherwise. It’s what keeps bringing me back.
Every upgrade Dorothy finds and every step she takes makes for a logical progression on a journey of an important magnitude. All said and done, Dorothy’s adventure is larger and more grandiose than Rusty’s ever was! This is just what the miner ordered. Whatever sentient beings created this world threw away the randomized nature of Rusty’s old life and instead crafted a specific experience with its own specific challenges. Some may curse the lack of a randomized structure as it gave the original a bit of uniqueness. In fact, when going into this I was truly skeptical as I worried that losing the randomization would also make the adventure lose some of its identity. In the end though, I never found this missing attribute to hinder the experience. I think that on repeat adventures I likely won’t even notice it’s the same world as before. Since the sub-caves are still fully developed like when Rusty roamed the land, the overworld being structured feels natural anyway. The world structure fits into the story quite well and the only real downside is that every square of the map is not fully utilized. It would have been nice to see even more secret side areas but perhaps that would exhaust Dorothy though.
The journey looks beautiful, full of rich colors and boldness. The audio that surrounds Dorothy during the experience is mellow and ambient. It’s a shame our favorite ‘Steam Powered Giraffe’ bots don’t make an appearance on the soundtrack but from a story-perspective it makes sense. Lyric-less tones help make the depth-digging more enjoyable than if there were just the shuffling of tiny pebbles.
Dorothy’s journey takes place after Rusty’s and there are subtle story elements that may be missed for new folks in this part of town. If you didn’t know Rusty first-hand, the impact may be lessened. Despite that, the journey itself can be, and should be, experienced by diggers of all experience levels. Dorothy needs your help and she can adapt as needed to assist you. These adaptations, good or bad, are done using special cog wheels. A handful of them can be bought from good ol’ Trader Carson, but you’ll find them amongst everything else deep underground. Once you find ‘em, you should bring them over to Turtle Bucket to exchange for blueprints that’ll expand what you are capable of. My personal favorite enhancements are the Hunter’s Edge, the True Survivor, and the Double Rainbow. Respectively, those will provide bonus XP for your attacks, health support a fairy would be proud of, and a chance at even more loot. Considering the large and useful array of options, every found cog is a delightful treat to help you feel stronger. If you’re ever so inclined, cogs can also be used to make life harder too. One such cog-mod will make enemies explode upon dying. Completely up to ya’ll. Whatever turns your wheel and all that. You can modify these at any time, on or off, so do what suits ya. Keep in mind though, cogs aren’t infinite so you’ll need to make a choice about what to prioritize.
SteamWorld Dig 2 is, at its core, a game about exploring, discovering, expanding, and repeating that cycle. Luckily, the repeat-factor incorporates the grander aspects of the experience that you want to see repeated. On my run-through with Dorothy, I managed to find and do every single thing the world had to offer and this took me 17-and-a-half hours to do. Perhaps an hour or two could have been removed due to just finding a handful of remaining bonuses. Just like Rusty before her, Dorothy tends to be a completionist, but lucky for you, she doesn’t have to be. As strong-willed as she is, she does need your help though. It is my sincerest recommendation that you do so. An adventure with Dorothy is axes-down one of the greatest adventures in the Switch universe and you’d owe it to yourself to give it a try. Now go on… git! Don’t leave a Steambot waiting.
Thanks for reading Lou. I hear you with these great games releasing so much. I'm hoping I'm making good progress through Golf Story in anticipation of Stardew Valley. I'm glad I was about to give this title all the time I did.