Dig or Die – Review
Follow Genre: Action Adventure
Developer: Gaddy Games
Publisher: Gaddy Games
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Dig or Die – Review

Site Score
6.0
Good: Cool environment, The game doesn't tell you what to do except for a long-term goal
Bad: Little to craft or do on a long and rather tedious road.
User Score
7.3
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.3/10 (3 votes cast)

Ah yes, the era of survival games: Crafting, farming, mining, surviving. What started with ever gold hit-game Minecraft and was followed up by 2D Terraria sprouted many games that adapted the concept to make something of their own. Some good, some bad. Dig or Die is also one of those games that ride the bandwagon while encouraging you to build turrets and keep baddies of your body. 

Note: No matter if you think it’s better or worse, because of the resemblances, people who played Terraria will compare the games to each other. In many cases, this will work to the disadvantage of Dig or Die. So for the purpose of journalistic integrity, the game will be seen as a product of its own as much as possible.

Story

You are an employee of a company called CRAFT and Co. The spacecraft you were traveling in landed on a foreign planet. Luckily, your company represents automated fabrication tools, supplying you with everything you need to start your immediate survival. The planet you landed on is rich in flora and fauna, but at night it becomes a very different and dangerous place. Dangerous in this case means that the original inhabitants go apeshit and become very aggressive towards you, beginning a relentless attack until you are gone. So you are advised to dig in, stay strong, survive, and build a rocket ship to get the hell away from this planet. The story you live through is mainly given through experience. By finding the next piece of environment and new stuff to build, you will discover more of what’s to find and fight on the planet. There are no cutscenes, just very little text to explain what’s up every now and then.

Graphics

The graphics are one of the reasons when people see this game they think about Terraria. It’s the same simplistic, 2D style of characters and environmental objects. Colorful yet simple. Pretty much every bit of the environment is interactive, and you can grab the environment for your own resources, allowing you to disintegrate and store most things you come across. The character and NPC animations are rather simple and without much effort, yet the generated effect such as water and lava have a nice touch to them. Overall, it’s fine, but it also has this touch of not going the extra mile that many things in the game have. Don’t misunderstand, after a bit of research it’s clear to see the developer cares about his product and is still working hard to improve it, but a lot of things could have been better than they are simply by creating and improving more. More about this when talking about the gameplay.

Sound

When first starting up the game, the menu track is already a bit disappointing and feels like a royalty-free placeholder. The in-game music pretty much the same quality. It’s fine as a half-mysterious background track while discovering what the game is all about, but it’s far from good or special. The same goes for the sound effects. They are bland Pew Pew laser sounds and footsteps. In a game like this, it doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker, yet it’s one of those extra effort subjects that especially contribute to the game as a whole.

Gameplay

Dig or Die is an action adventure with survival elements. The moment you start, you pick up an ”auto-builder”, which is basically a machine you put resources and ingrediënts in to get a new item out of it. Next to the auto-builder, you get a gun with minimum damage to defend yourself, and a different type of tool that you use to farm the environment around you for your own (crafting) resources. As you start exploring, you will notice much of the flora is the same, and so are the enemies. It’s almost inevitable to fall in holes which there are many off, and it’s very hard to build bridges with the limited materials you got.

These limitations are immediately a very big downside to the game. It’s entirely focussed on finding new places to farm and fight to get stronger by creating new items, and it forces you each night to craft a made-up base with whatever you gathered. You can arm your base with turrets and get ready to fight, provided you have enough resources. However, the options of block-types and turrets are so limited that it sometimes feels more like smashing lego bricks on top of each other without really having a point. The ”defensive” capabilities of your quickly crafted bases are about as good as running around shooting in the open world, it takes a long time before you will get to the more advanced ways of crafting such as having doors and cubes sturdy enough to last for a while. And even then, the horde of enemies coming towards you will be able to gnaw its way in. It’s way more of a hit-and-run game where you don’t have time to settle down, which frankly makes it very boring and unentertaining at times. If you can’t savor whatever you made cause you have to keep moving, what use are creativity and invention?

This lack of objects is yet another point of why the game misses its target. Sure, it’s fun to build your base and defend it against others. And it’s cool to explore new areas. Yet the entire game is build up around a few biomes to explore and gets repetitive rather fast. It’s like an add-on has been made for different games, but the actual main game has been left out, leaving you behind with the functionality to create pop-up bases, combined with the tough movability that quickly makes you fall in holes and limits your freedom to explore and conquer. The thing the game lacks most is just more functionality to become more fun. That, and more short-term goals that divide the adventure into different stages could actually make the gameplay a hell-of-a-lot more enjoyable.

Conclusion

Dig or Die got some good things going on. The graphics are alright, there are some things to explore and experience, yet as a total game, it feels way more like a framework that needs proper content to actually be a good game. As it is right now, it’s mainly okay to play, it gets repetitive fast, and it just needs some effort to show the passion and love the developer actually has. By making the focus literally ”Dig or Die”, it’s all a bit gimmicky, and a gimmick as a game is not a full game yet.

 

 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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Dig or Die - Review, 7.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Pim Hoogeveen
Pim Hoogeveen


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