After the unquestionable success of SteamWorld Dig, the appearance of SteamWorld Dig 2 is certainly a cause for celebration.
Though its predecessor wasn't perfect and ended a little sooner than you liked, this follow-up works on what the original needed more of. And then some.
There's no place like home
SteamWorld Dig 2 is a resource-collecting, Metroidvania-like platformer set in a post-apocalyptic, steampunk world. It follows a new protagonist, Dorothy, as she sets out from her quiet town to search for the first game's protagonist, Rusty.
This search brings her through ancient temples, crumbling mines, glowing, luminescent mushroom caverns, and more. Of course, she's never been down in the mines before, so needs to upgrade her equipment sharpish.
Dorothy is a deserved protagonist and makes getting around the various environments feel like an absolute dream, from her nimble wall-hopping skills to her adept movements in combat.
In fact, all of the characters are enjoyable to watch and witness. The townsfolk are helpful and filled with personality, and your little Navi-like sarcastic spirit helper, Fen, starts off pretty spunky but eventually warms to you.
The deeper you get into the mines, the more equipment you can use and the better your gear can get. Once you unlock certain bits of kit, you can progress and open up other areas of the level you have been unable to reach.
In other games the act of digging, mining, and creating pathways can be a bit tedious, but in SWD2 it's actually exciting. There's always a path to find and this has definitely been helped by scrapping the procedurally generated levels.
Each level in the game has been carefully and lovingly crafted, and it's a delight to see.
What's more, there are a bunch of cool caves to discover complete with puzzles to solve. Once you figure out how to get through them, you'll reach the shiny, golden cog at the end.
Speaking of cogs, you need to collect them to upgrade your kit. Interestingly, it's not a permanent effect as you can pop them out and re-use them in other areas if you think they'd be better suited elsewhere. It's all about your personal play-style.
During your digging adventure you collect all sorts of materials which you trade for cash at the surface town, and again can use to buy or upgrade your kit.
You have to learn to manage everything, from your health to your lantern, and know when you head back up to the surface to sell your goods, replenish your lantern's fuel, and upgrade.
Thankfully, the fast travel points make this far less tedious than it could have been.
There are only two small issues in the game. Occasionally, the controls are over-sensitive when you're moving past cave doorways. It's often far too easy to accidentally step inside when passing them by, but this really is a teeny-tiny gripe.
It's also hard to imagine too much replayability once the final boss has been dealt with and the story ends. Sure, you can nip back and continue digging and collecting materials to sell, but the question is 'why?'
Dig for your answers
SteamWorld Dig 2 is a fantastic addition to the franchise which uses everything we loved about the first game and builds on it, whilst also taking into account what fans have asked for.
It's strategic, exciting, fun, utterly enjoyable, and a must-have for the average Switch owner. Whether you've played the first game or not, you'll have a blast with this one.