Have You Played… SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful Of Dirt?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Fantastic on the 3DS, and then fantastic with much prettier graphics on PC, SteamWorld Dig [official site] is a combination of Metroidvania and mining, that manages to deliver that most difficult to balance of genres with aplomb.

On a water starved planet, only rusting robots remain, and you step into the metal shoes of your grandfather to search for jewels, technology and mystery by drilling ever deeper into the ground. The farther you get, the more abilities you gain, and most crucially, the tougher stone you can drill through, opening up new areas in a very satisfying manner. Regular returns to the surface let you sell off goodies you’ve gathered, buy new upgrades for yourself and your equipment, and be given further goals to complete in your underground adventures.

Water is your most finite resource, and used to power your main abilities, so you must constantly look out for pools to restock. And light plays an interesting role, ever-diminishing, letting you see less of the screen, until you top that up too. But neither is fiddly or annoying, instead preventing the game from being too easy.

It’s a finite thing, wrapping up rather nicely as a good Metroidvania should, rather than a sprawling open world affair. With follow-up SteamWorld Heist approaching the PC very soon, this is a great moment to become familiar with the universe in which the games are set, despite their completely different styles of play. It’s £7 on Steam.

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  1. jj2112 says:


  2. Okami says:

    A truly wonderful game. I was truly sorry when it was over, but I think the length is just about right. It doesn’t outstay it’s welcome and for the prize it’s still a hefty amount of content.

    • eeguest says:

      I’d love to see some other mode than the base story that would just keep me playing.

    • SomeDuder says:

      Yea, it’s short compared to most games, but I love it anyway. The drilling mechanic is used to tell a story, and the story runs its course just before the eternal drilling gets tedious.

      But yea, its cute, effective, interesting, addictive (“Just a few more of this resource and I can buy !”) but most importantly, I actually finished it before I got bored with the mechanics.

  3. Jiblet says:

    >It’s £7 on Steam.
    Actually it’s on 50% sale. Huzzah!
    So no I haven’t, but yes I will.

  4. Alevice says:

    For a while I thought it was more roguelike-y or terraria-y, but was a bit sad to find that it wasnt. It aint metroidvania-y either, since it is quite linear. Still a fun and well balanced game. Money is more finite than water tho.

  5. ZombieFX says:

    As soon you get the STEAM-JUMP (ability) – the game gets good.
    Before that its annoying to move around.
    Takes about 1~ hour to get it.

  6. Synesthesia says:

    Breezed through it on my 3ds, it really got it’s hooks on me. Very fun little game.

  7. Jay Load says:

    This started well but I got bored of it quickly, probably when the grind set in.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      There can’t be grind in SW:D, because most everything you do is permanent. You mine out some tunnels, find some gold or whatever, that earth and those gems are gone forever. You can’t hang around doing the same thing over and over; if you want to progress, you’ll have to move on and find deeper troves.

      If you mean that it gets kind of repetitive, I’ll agree with that.

  8. Premium User Badge

    SimonOrbit says:

    Loved it on the DS. I have the PC version but haven’t played it yet … are there any differences besides the graphics?

  9. Premium User Badge

    caff says:

    Took me ages to discover this existed, then was happy when I did. Fun lil game with a lot of charming character. Looking forward to Heist.

  10. kwyjibo says:

    Finished it during a slow weekend. Too grindy.

  11. syllopsium says:

    Brilliant game. Horribly addictive on the 3DS. There’s now Steamworld Heist out, which features similar characters and art style but completely different gameplay. Worth a look..

  12. HigoChumbo says:

    I have surprisingly played (and finished) this game.

    It was better than I expected for a game I got almost for free, but I would not call it “fantastic”.