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Dig or Die - A Review

1. Introduction

Side-scroller indie games are one of my weak spots, Terraria was certainly one of those games and I still have no idea how Dig or Die escaped my gamesradar. But when this game finally came out of early access I had to buy it immediately.

In this game you have to dig, craft and build all the necessary items to survive the enemy invasions. Your end goal is escaping from the planet by building a rocket/spaceship with the end game resources you have gathered.

2. Story

You are a representative of the CRAFT & Co company. You are selling automated fabrication tools across the galaxy when your spacecraft crashes into a hostile planet. Use the tools you sell and the local resources to build up all of what you will need to survive and eventually be able to escape this hostile planet

3. Gameplay

For starters, I started directly by playing this in multiplayer mode with a friend of mine as these kind of games are always way more fun to play with a couple of friends. If you die in this game you have to reload your last auto-save and the benefits with having a multiplayer game is that you get ten seconds of respawn time. However if everyone dies at the same time, the game is completely over as well.

You start off with a gun and a futuristic vacuum for digging instead of a pickaxe.

It will ‘suck’ the materials faster every time when you upgrade it and eventually can handle harder material to progress further.

All blocks have a certain amount of resistance and the building blocks you craft have a weight value. The more blocks you stack the easier it is for your whole construction to crash so you will need to keep in mind the weight of your construction and also will require you to fortify your ceilings with supports so the construction doesn’t collapse. You will need to learn to build up in the sky sooner or later to get new resources, so you better prepare a lot of building blocks to reach the top.

Building bases is completely different compared to other similar games because of the whole construction and support requirement,but also because of the weather conditions like rain. Rainwater stays in every hole you make, it gets drained slowly by dirt, but if your base is made of stone all the water will stay there forever. All crafting has to be done by a machine which is also upgradeable up to five times. Putting a background wall in your base is advisable as monsters do not spawn in locations.

Defense is done with turrets, lasers, flamethrowers and my favorite: the Tesla cannon striking every bug down in a single hit! Repair turrets repair all turrets and even blocks that have been damaged by monsters in a small radius. Place your defense well and do not close off walls as monsters in this game CAN dig through every block you place!

For people that like to go all technical, there is electricity and wiring in this game. The three ways to generate electricity would be: Solar panels, Water dam, and Thorium reactor. Solar panels generate one energy each and obviously only work during the day. Water dam generates energy depending how much water pressure there is and has to drain away, so when out of water or the water level is too low you run out of energy. Thorium reactor is almost end game and generates five energy each and requires nothing. Most of the turrets do not require energy. Tesla cannons, teleporters, and advanced auto repair turrets take 3 energy each.

Every night you get invaded by monsters that you have killed before, so don’t just random kill everything in sight unless you are strong enough or you have the whole family of that species against you. Luckily bosses do not join the battle during the night invasion.Going back to your fortified base at night is advisable unless your base is not strong enough after going to a new biome. 

As said before, this game has a huge lack of cosmetics, like clothes or decorations for your base but that is probably because your goal is to escape and not to stay and live here. The lack of melee weapons might be disappointing for some, but considering a lot of monsters can fly or crawl on background walls and dig their way through, every block it sure is assuring to have a lot of different kind of guns. My favorite would be the shotgun, as it can push you away from the monsters and can be used to fast travel across the world. 

Trading with other players is annoying as you have to drop items one by one, as chests do not exist in this game. Your whole inventory is unlimited which is the main advantage. Tools that need to be active like a flashlight have to stay in the toolbar though. After having over eight active tools, your toolbar becomes too small to put other things in, which makes crafting more tedious as you run out of quick slots to build.

4. Environment of the World

There are multiple levels under the ground and even above it in the sky. While playing it in multiplayer we enjoyed finding new challenges every time we went to a new area underground. Finding new resources and monsters so we could craft new weapons is always fun but knowing new enemies will attack you during the night is scary as well. So sometimes you would think twice before doing that and prepare yourself before diving into new dangers. The biggest disappointment about the world design would be that it is not 100 percent random generated as all biomes are always on the same area. The world is challenging to explore as a lot of obstacles occur during the journey, like regenerating blocks, deepsea diving, and erupting volcanoes!

5. Enemies

A lot of the enemies can fly, such as fireflies, bees and bats which will try to bite you and some even explode in your face. Piranhas and sharks lurk in the waters, ants and spikey dwellers lurk underground to make your life miserable. 

Bosses spawn only in certain areas. When the Background Music changes you know you are certainly done for! They throw massive fireballs or spawn 500 bats to attack you. After defeating the boss they just flip upside down, so zero points for death animation, but ten points for new item that makes you progress in the game to go to the next biome and encounter new enemies and the next boss. All enemies are biome specific, except at night they will all try to kill you wherever you are. (obviously piranhas and sharks will not reach you if you are not near water).

6. Conclusion

It is a solid game with unique properties like digging monsters, realistic building and crazy weather, but the lack of items is a bit disappointing. Considering it just came out of early access, new stuff might be added later.  If you like games likes Terraria with a bit of a challenge, i certainly suggest playing this game with various of your friends to really make it an enjoyable experience!

All in all I really enjoyed playing this game and face the various new challenges this game had to offer, it certainly can improve on various points but in general it sure was fun!

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Fun Factor

Pros & Cons

  • More challenging than other side scroll build games
  • Three different custom game modes
  • Good weight mechanic when building a base
  • Almost no cosmetics
  • Not many items
  • No melee weapons
  • Bad animation for enemies
  • Monsters can be too hard if you accidentally enter a different biome