Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Summer Update! Plus SteamWorld Dig!

It's been an extremely long summer, and I've been working like crazy, as usual on stuff I can't really post. Work on Boon Hill has gone really well, with most of the graphics basically done! Secret comic project I probably shouldn't talk about is well into its second issue, and a few other smaller projects have been coming together very nicely!

While I haven't had much time to post any fan art, I have been making time to actually play new games occasionally. I'm happily making my way through Pikmin 3, which is charming as all hell, and was lucky enough to win a copy of Mutant Mudds Deluxe from Jools Watsham himself! Awesome! I even  beat Dillon's Rolling Western, after putting it aside for months due to the last level kicking my ass too hard.

Among all the gaming fun, I think my personal favorite has to be SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt by Image & Form. This game totally snuck up on me, but I'm glad I took the plunge and bought it, as it was one of the most fun experiences I've had on the eShop, which is already full of great games. Set in a goofy, steam punk Wild West populated by ornery robots, SteamWorld Dig sees players taking the roll of Rusty, a young steambot who has inherited a mine from his now deactivated uncle. Rusty takes over the mining operation, but his approach is more Megaman X than Harvest Moon.

The game is basically a sidescrolling platformer of the highest sophistication. A combination of wall climbing, double jumping, running, and high jumping means your range of movement is pretty damn impressive by the end of the game, which is important because your environment is unpredictable and complicated in the best way possible. The three major areas of the game world are basically giant sandboxes, and you're free to dig your way through them at your own discretion, so the layout of the level is largely up to you. Want winding corridors? How about a straight drop down hundreds of feet? Need steps? Carefully tunneling can yield whatever result you like! Each area ends up looking like the inside of an ant hill, and I found myself eagerly tunneling and retunneling, making short cuts and alternate paths. The act of actually tunneling is just so satisfying. It's like Dig Dug, but massive and full of exploration and wonder.

The other major component of the game is character progression, which comes in two forms. The first is through Metroid or Megaman X style powerups that augment your abilities, thus granting the aforementioned super jumps, double jumps, and running, as well as a few different weapon modes, good for both combat and tunneling. The other form is through RPG style purchasing of equipment, which basically serves to raise your stats. Armor gives you more health, new water tanks allow you to use your steam items longer, upgrading your core allows you more light for exploration, and each of your weapons can be upgraded for easier digging and destruction. The deeper you go, the heartier the earth becomes, so its important to keep on top of these upgrades. The growth of your character really feels palpable, and its extremely satisfying to see how strong and mobile Rusty becomes.

I really can't say much more about SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt without giving away too much information, so I encourage anybody with a 3DS to at the very least check out some videos. Image & Form has apparently experience some success with the game, so I look forward to their future outings on the eShop.

That's pretty much it for now. I'll probably post some stuff in the near future about my time with Game & Wario, which I liked but don't have time to talk about now.

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