Tag Archives: 3ds

SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt Review (Nintendo 3DS eShop)

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SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt Review


Digging in the dirt isn’t a new concept in the video game world, but none do it quite like SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt. Being dubbed a “platform mining adventure” by its developer, SteamWorld Dig is exactly that, a 2D platformer with adventure elements and, of course, mining.

You play as a mining steambot named Rusty. Upon arriving in the mining town of Tumbleton, Rusty assumes the role of miner to provide the town with resources, the same role previously occupied by his late uncle Joe. As Rusty digs through the depths of uncle Joe’s mine, he begins to uncover not only an ancient civilization, but also a new source of power.

steamworlddig-3ds-ss1Story elements are slowly revealed as you play. The citizens of Tumbleton will exchange small snippets of dialogue with Rusty; some conversations reveal details of his uncle’s mining expeditions. In general, the story isn’t particularly compelling, but the mystery is enough to keep you digging.

Of course, SteamWorld Dig is a game about digging, an enormous amount of digging. Rusty starts with a humble Rusty Pickaxe that can only dig in soft ground. As you dig through the underworld of Tumbleton, you’ll come across certain blocks of dirt that contain resources. After mining these resources, you can take them back to Tumbleton to exchange them for cash. With this cash you can buy upgrades for Rusty’s equipment, and a variety of additional items that will make the adventure a little easier. This is something you will be repeating often throughout your time with SteamWorld Dig.

Exchanging resources also increases Rusty’s level, which is essentially like gaining experience points in an RPG. As Rusty’s level grows, you’ll unlock new upgrades for Rusty’s equipment. There are a lot of upgrades to buy in SteamWorld Dig, and each one will make digging less of a chore. Also, new shops and locations will open in town as you gain levels.

While mining for resources is a big part of SteamWorld Dig, to continue your adventure you must uncover a number of uncle Joe’s caves. Each cave contains a new ability that Rusty must use to continue his descent. Some of these abilities take advantage of Rusty’s steambot features and will consume water. One of these abilities is a steam powered drill that Rusty can use to drill through hard ground.

My favourite part of SteamWorld Dig is the large interconnected map and non-linear progression. You literally get to dig your own path through the earth, and that path will be represented on the underworld map. Personally, I think this is a nice touch, and because the game is structured this way, you will inevitably uncover different paths each time you play. While your path isn’t a predetermined one, a marker will appear on the map which indicates the position of the game’s important caves. Lastly, controlling Rusty is extremely easy, and it’s a lot of fun to use his large repertoire of abilities and equipment.

steamworlddig-3ds-ss2Unfortunately, there are a couple of things I didn’t like about SteamWorld Dig. First, while there are enemies in the game, they feel like a complete afterthought. Combat is practically non-existent and the enemies hardly pose a threat. My second complaint is the digging in general; this activity is quite boring and can be compared to the monotony of doing chores. Thankfully, upgrades do help lessen this painful task.

Back on the positive side of things, SteamWorld Dig looks fantastic with 3D enabled. Its gorgeous sprites pop nicely against the layered backgrounds, offering a nice sense of depth seen in the best Nintendo 3DS games. Also, I really dig (I couldn’t resist) the game’s western themed soundtrack, though nothing really stands out.

Final Thoughts:

SteamWorld Dig is an interesting game, but is weighed down by some small flaws. In general, you can tell there was a lot of work put into the development of the game, and that can be seen in its upgrade system, and inviting non-linear structure. Personally, I would have liked the digging mechanic to be less of a chore, plus it wouldn’t hurt to add more variety to the gameplay. I was able to finish SteamWorld Dig in approximately 4 hours, but you could easily get more out of the game if you continue exploring and upgrading Rusty. SteamWorld Dig is $8.99 and is available now on the Nintendo eShop.

7/10 – Good

Purchased on the Nintendo eShop

Bike Rider DX Review (Nintendo 3DS eShop)

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Bike Rider DX Review


Bike Rider DX – developed by Lireneosoft and published by Spicysoft – recently cycled onto the Nintendo eShop. Bike Rider DX doesn’t feature a story, but it doesn’t need one; instead, Bike Rider DX is about mastering a one-button control scheme and enjoying its challenging gameplay.

You play as a stickman riding a bike as levels continuously scroll forward. While the rider’s pedaling is automatic, you do have some control over his actions. You must jump (performed by pressing A) to avoid a variety of obstacles, and move right and left to adjust your position. Bike Rider DX is extremely easy to control, ensuring gamers of all experience levels have the ability to jump in and start playing.

BikeRiderDX_Screen1There are two main modes in Bike Rider DX: World Tour and Grand Prix. World Tour can be thought of as the game’s “Story Mode” as it features level-based progression, culminating with the game’s ending credits. World Tour features 50 levels across ten locations. You’ll bike across the icy land of Antarctica, through the crowded streets of New York, and eight other locations based on the real world. Each location features five levels that gradually increase in difficulty as you progress, with a goal of reaching the flagpole at the end of level.

The level design in World Tour is exemplary when compared to other games of the endless runner variety. As you progress through the game, the difficulty slowly increases and the game continuously introduces new obstacles that will challenge you until the end. It never becomes too frustrating because you will constantly learn the techniques needed to be successful.

While getting to the end of the stage is the ultimate goal, there are still other things to see and do. Each stage holds three coins that can be collected, and once you collect a specific number of coins, you’ll begin to unlock even more levels. Getting all three coins can be a challenge, especially when you come across levels that feature multiple paths, some of which are cleverly hidden. Also, the game features three power-ups (speed boost, triple jump, and glider) that must be mastered if you want to collect every single coin.

So, that was just the game’s World Tour mode, there’s still a Grand Prix mode for those that want even more Bike Rider DX. Grand Prix mode operates more like the endless runner games you’ve probably played on various flash-based gaming sites. Grand Prix mode challenges you to bike as far as possible without dying. Your course is randomly generated each time you play, essentially giving you even more levels to play. You can also compete locally with friends to get the highest score on the Grand Prix leaderboard.

BikeRiderDX_Screen2Bike Rider DX features simple sprites in the foreground, and well-drawn, layered backgrounds. The game takes advantage of layers to create a convincing stereoscopic 3D effect. In fact, I believe it’s one of the better uses of 3D on the Nintendo 3DS. My only complaint would be that the graphics are a tad generic looking compared to other Nintendo eShop games.

Lastly, Bike Rider DX features an awesome soundtrack composed by a Japanese studio known as SUPER SWEEP. I really enjoyed its fast-paced, electronic sound and have been listening to it all day.

Final Thoughts:

Bike Rider DX is a great game, especially for those looking for simple, fast-paced, and fun platforming action. It shines with great level design, an impressive soundtrack, and lots of challenge across two modes. While the game’s World Tour will likely take most gamers around two hours to complete, there are achievements to be found, coins to be collected, and bonus levels to master. The game is available now on Nintendo 3DS eShop for $5.99.

8.5/10 – Great

Review copy provided

Mighty Switch Force 2 Review

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Mighty Switch Force 2 Review


Back for another round of puzzle solving, block switching and platforming is Patricia Wagon in Mighty Switch Force! 2, sequel to the instant Nintendo eShop classic, Mighty Switch Force!

mightyswitchforce2_ss5This time around, instead of seeking and arresting the Hooligan sisters, Patricia Wagon has a bigger problem… fire. Planet Land has spontaneously combusted, and as part of the Galactic Fire Brigade, it’s up to Patricia Wagon to wield the Infinity Dousing Apparatus to put out the flames, and rescue the reformed Hooligan sisters.

Mighty Switch Force! 2 plays similar to its predecessor, in fact, the general gameplay structure is identical. On every level, you must save five of the Hooligan sisters, and then reach the end goal. Of course, each level still challenges gamers to finish under the Par Time set by WayForward, and block switching is back and just as inviting as before. In addition to the game’s structure, controlling Patricia Wagon is once again a breeze with some of the tightest controls seen in a platformer. However, its differences are what make Mighty Switch Force! 2 superior to the first adventure.

Instead of a Pellet Gun, Patty Wagon is sporting a water gun, also known as the Infinity Dousing Apparatus. This dousing apparatus must be used to put out flames blocking Patty’s path. While most of the time these flames are a minor obstacle, there are some blocks that can reignite, forcing you to act quickly. Patty’s new water gun is also used often to solve some of the game’s new types of puzzles, and to defeat enemies, of course.

Puzzles combine the best of the block switching mechanic with new types of pipe blocks that can carry water along a path. This is useful for clearing the stage of the new muddy blocks – which must be sprayed to be eliminated – or for defeating certain enemies.

Level design in Mighty Switch Force! 2 has been improved, being brilliantly crafted to balance the block switching and water elements. Combined, both of these elements make for more interesting, and challenging puzzles. Also, I find it more challenging to beat some of the game’s par times, which I believe is a testament to the complexity of the level design.

mightyswitchforce2_ss3If you’re looking for something to do other than beating the game’s par times, Mighty Switch Force! 2 has an “Ugly Secret Baby” hidden on every level. Most are easily obtainable, but a few of them will definitely challenge every technique you know.

Graphically, the game looks identical to Mighty Switch Force!, which isn’t a bad thing considering WayForward is one of the best when it comes to 2D sprite art. One thing in particular that I noticed was the art for one of the game’s final stages. This level was absolutely gorgeous and I wish more of that particular style was used throughout the game.

For its soundtrack, WayForward has again called upon Jake Kaufman (a.k.a. Virt) for the job. While I enjoyed the first soundtrack, I feel the soundtrack for Mighty Switch Force! 2 is some of Mr. Kaufman’s best work. The style is the same, but the trance-like music is more catchier and ear pleasing than before.

Final Thoughts:

If you’ve played and enjoyed Mighty Switch Force!, then Mighty Switch Force! 2 is a must buy. In fact, I recommend Mighty Switch Force! 2 to newcomers over the original because of its superior level design, and soundtrack. Whether or not WayForward adds new content like they did with Mighty Switch Force!, Mighty Switch Force! 2 is worth every dollar, especially if you enjoy beating the game’s par times.

8/10 – Great

Purchased on the Nintendo eShop