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Video Game / SteamWorld Dig

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SteamWorld Dig is a 2D platforming/adventure game and the first game of its series, Steam World, released in late 2013 to PC and the Nintendo 3DS, and later ported to the Play Station Vita, the PlayStation 4, the Wii U, and the Nintendo Switch. Set in a world of steampunk robots, the game stars Rusty, a steambot who's just arrived at the sleepy desert town of Tumbleton. Equipped initially with just a pickaxe, Rusty explores the depths of his late uncle's mine in search of valuable ores and gems. As his wealth increases, Rusty acquires additional equipment to help him dig deeper and deeper, where he comes across something else deep below the surface...

Has a direct sequel which continues the story with similar but expanded gameplay, SteamWorld Dig 2.

Tropes found in SteamWorld Dig include:

  • After the End: The game takes place after something destroyed the world, leaving most of the surface as a desert and sending humans underground, with Steambots becoming the main inhabitants of the planet.
  • An Economy Is You: Tumbleton is populated with handfuls of NPCs who only exist to service the player character or sell you upgrades, with some only providing dialogue. It's justified, as Tumbleton is in the middle of nowhere.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Normally, when you die, you respawn at the surface with half your money lost and your minerals dropped where you died, but while in a bonus room, you can die as much times as you like with no cost. And you respawn at the start of the room.
  • Apocalypse How: Prior to the beginning of the game, Class 2 occured, which forced surviving humans to retreat underground while Steambots occupied what's left of the surface.
  • Big Bad: Vectron is the one leaving upgrades for Rusty in an attempt to lure someone down to his lair to manipulate to further his goals.note  When that didn't work, it's implied he lived on in his cyberspace and continues to be a problem in the sequels.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Rusty defeats Voltbot, absorbing its power and blowing up everything within Vectron, himself included. Dandy builds a statue in his honor, but Dorothy isn't convinced that he's dead and sets off to find him.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: The purchasable health extensions are armor upgrades, implying this.
  • Body Horror: Voltbot attempts to invoke it— the upgrades Rusty found were deliberately placed there to make him more compatible for assimilation; Voltbot tells Rusty that he's barely himself anymore with all the new parts. Rusty tells Vectron to stuff it, and while he does appear to absorb lots of Vectron's power after destroying it, he's no worse for wear when Dorothy finds him in SteamWorld Dig 2.
  • Bonus Feature Failure: The game has cross-buy on PS4/Vita, so you get both versions if you buy one of them. Most cross-buy games have a feature called cross-save which allows you to use the same save on both devices. This game doesn't have such a feature.
  • Collision Damage: Touching enemies deals damage to Rusty.
  • Dug Too Deep: Going deeper into the mines starts revealing more unsettling enemies and obstacles, such as the Shiners and the mysterious technology in Vectron.
  • Evolving Title Screen: After beating the Final Boss, the title screen changes from a shot of Rusty walking in a desert during daytime to a shot of him walking in a desert at night with Glowing Eyes of Doom, signifying that something's wrong with him.
  • Falling Damage: Occurs before you get the upgrade that stops it from happening. Human enemies aren't immune to it either— it's possible to kill one by digging the ground out from under them.
  • Funny Background Event: One of the upgrade areas has a background showing a video game store advertising the imminent release of Half-Life 3, with a line of (long-dead) fans camping out front.
  • Ground-Shattering Landing: Fall from a great height onto soil, and you'll crack the ground. Also happens when you dig under a boulder trap.
  • Hearts Are Health: Averted with Rusty; while health pickups are marked with hearts, he just has a health bar.
  • Metroidvania: Downplayed; at some points, you'll be faced with an obstacle that will require a specific upgrade to pass, but everything is gotten in a linear fashion and secret areas only contain extra minerals and orbs.
  • The Morlocks: Disturbingly, it appears all of humanity has degenerated into this. They're known as Shiners by the Steambots and treated as savages, and they don't do much to disprove that fact.
  • Never Say "Die": Played completely straight in the Steamworld universe. Killed steambots are "scrapped". This is semi-justified since it's completely possible to reassemble a scrapped bot. And it's implied that bots can live for centuries. On the other hand not all scrapped bots get reassembled, it's entirely possible for them to be permanently dead. This is especially apparent in SteamWorld Heist where your entire crew is scrapped in the cold-open. And it's very clear that they're dead for real.
  • Non-Combat EXP: Selling mined materials earns experience for the town, unlocking higher tiers of upgrades and eventually bringing new merchants into Tumbleton. Monsters serve as a way to replenish health, water, or light.
  • Permanently Missable Content: In any given run of the game, it is technically possible to be unable to afford certain upgrades (especially Dandy's more expensive ones) as cash and orbs used for buying them are finite. Half your carried cash is lost upon dying for repairs, and teleporters can be repeatedly bought with orbs (which are much rarer and usually only used for special upgrades). However, if you thoroughly explore, there are enough minerals and orbs to buy all upgrades, buy a few optional teleporters, and even die a handful of times without losing too much. So while certain things might be lost forever for a given run, it's pretty unlikely.
  • Rocket Punch: The Steam Punch upgrade, which allows you to break blocks at a distance.
  • Sequence Breaking: The Steam version of the game has an achievement for destroying the first two generators, which you'd normally only do in the endgame, before reaching the final area. This may sound impossible since accessing these generators requires the Double Jump upgrade found in the final area, but the trick is to use sticks of dynamite to propel yourself.
  • Sequel Hook: Despite defeating Vectron, Rusty never returns to town, leading most of the townsfolk to assume he's dead. Dorothy, however, refuses to accept this, and the game ends with her resolving to find Rusty, whether he's alive or not. Notably, SteamWorld Dig 2 does actually follow through with this sequel hook, with you taking Dorothy to head off to look for Rusty.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Rusty is a tin man with a (pick)axe working with a pigtailed girl named Dorothy. Near the end, Voltbot mentions it needs his "true heart."
    • In the Old World stage, it's possible to find a half-destroyed video game shop. It's adorned with Half Life 3 logos and posters (It's Finally Here!), and has a line of skeletons in costume who were presumably queing for launch day - shame about the world ending first. One of them is even wearing a rather familiar HEV suit... Also, one of the Steam achievements (for collecting and selling 8 Uranium ores to Dorothy at once) is called "Half-Life 8 Confirmed".
  • Silent Protagonist: Rusty does talk in this game, but only at two points: The intro level before reaching the main portion of the mine, and the cutscene right before the final boss.
  • Springy Spores: Found in the Old World.
  • Steampunk: All technology in the world is steam-powered, including the robots. Until you get to Vectron, which has electrical machines.
  • This Is a Drill: One of Rusty's later upgrades, which is just as capable of attacking as the pick and the steam punch.
  • Unobtainium: Appears as a high-end treasure, but has no other special function.
  • Walk, Don't Swim: Played straight with Rusty.
  • Wall Jump: An innate ability of Rusty, which is very useful for climbing up the mines.
  • The Wild West: Tumbleton, the hub town, is strongly influenced by this.