SteamWorld Dig Review | Nintendo Switch

SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt

I’m really starting to believe in the Nintendo Switch. I didn’t pick one up at launch and actually still don’t really own one now. My son does. We got one for him on Christmas and he’s been having a blast with it. I’ve been playing a bit of it myself when he lets me and it’s actually a pretty solid machine with what seems like great 3rd part developer support. That includes indie developers such as Image & Form. One of their most popular games, SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt just hit the Nintendo Switch and while there aren’t any changes to the overall game, it’s still just as fun to play on the Switch as with any other system.

Just to get this out of the way, nothing in the game is different. That means nothing has changed and if you have SteamWorld Dig on the PC, other consoles, or other portable consoles, the Switch version is exactly the same as those There are no new features, no new added content, nothing. It’s just a straight port of a really fun game that will reach new audiences that might not have played it before. With that said, most of this review will be the same my previous review for the PS4 version.


The story isn’t too complex here and the devs made it easy to follow. You play as Rusty, a robot who has come to discover that his uncle has recently perished in a mining accident. Because of this, you are left as the sole beneficiary of his mine, located underneath the town of Tumbleton. It’s your job to keep the mine running by mining for minerals and ores while also helping the town of Tumbletomn flourish and grow. You soon discover that there’s a deeper mystery connected to the mines and your uncle and it’s up to you to discover what that was.


screenshot_2_hdSteamWorld Dig is actually quite an interesting game to play. It’s mainly a digging game where you start off in this huge area and must dig your way through it looking for valuable minerals and ores. You are literally digging your own world below the surface creating tunnels and platforms to stand on. All you’ll have at first is your trusty pickaxe that can be upgraded to dig faster and through harder materials. As you progress, you’ll also receive a drill that dig through solid rock, explosives to destroy larger areas, and other upgrades to help mining much easier.

Since this is a 2D game, your digging is limited to either horizontal or vertical square sections. Not only that, there is gravity involved so you can’t go digging in any direction you want, only in the direction gravity allows. What that means is that despite what might seem like a simple game, there is real strategy and planning involved when it comes to how you want to dig your tunnels. Dig haphazardly and you may find that you can’t reach certain spots anymore or will have to find an alternative route.

screenshot_3_hdWhile digging, you’ll also come across areas where enemies reside that once laid dormant until you came along and disturbed their slumber. This is where a portion of the platforming elements kick in and you’ll have to find ways to vanquish your foes. You can either use your trusty pickaxe, drill, or a variety of explosives to get the job done. The enemies aren’t terribly hard to beat especially after your upgrades, you just have to keep an eye on your health and make sure you don’t die.

Speaking of death, if you do happen to die, you’ll be resurrected exactly at the point where you left off.  However, you’ll start way back at the surface in the town of Tumbleton and all your possessions at the time get bundled into a bag and left exactly where you croaked. You’ll have to make your way back to where you died to gather all your belongings. Although you get your stuff back and continue where you left off, I would still suggest not dying as you do incur a monetary penalty for each death. The penalty is 50% of your current loot which is quite steep so you’ll want to stay away from death or you may find that you won’t have enough to fully upgrade Rusty.


As fun as the mining portion of the game is, the ultimate goal is to discover the secrets that lay below Tumbleton and what your uncle had discovered before his death. I won’t spoil that part of the story for you.

What’s awesome about the game though is that when you do finally beat the game, you can replay it all over again and it will not be the same experience twice. The world is randomly generated during each playthrough meaning it’ll be a unique experience each time, though the storyline and general outcome is the same. The randomly generated levels means you can play each of your playthroughs a different way if you like.

Graphics and Sound

screenshot_4_hdGraphically, the Nintendo Switch version of the game looks just as good as all the other versions out there. The game looks just as good on the big screen as it does on the little screen and either way you play it, it just looks good.

Sound wise, there is a decent background soundtrack and each little action has its own sound effect. The characters too even have their own sounds though they speak in a nonsensical form of gibberish.

Overall, both graphics and sound add to the over all atmosphere of the game and really immerses you in it. The graphics work very well for the type of game it is and really keeps the the focus of your attention on the gameplay.

Final Thoughts

I was and still am a big fan of SteamWorld Dig. While I’ve been enjoying it on the Ps4 and PS Vita, my son is now able to enjoy it while at home and on the go on the same machine and that might actually make the Nintendo Switch version, the best version. The fact that you can just play it at home and pick it up and go and still be playing the same exact game. No fussing with syncing saves or anything like that.

If you’ve never played SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt before, I highly recommend picking it up along with all the other SteamWorld games. They are great with an excellent cast of characters and almost endless amounts of fun.

Received preview code from developer and/or publisher for coverage purposes.

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