Dig!, a QiX-style arcade game from Tasty Poison Games and Crescent Moon Games, is now available from the app store. Featuring a familiar game style and numerous attempts at humor, Dig! simply doesn’t do enough to stand out from the pack.
- Cartoony presentation
- Upbeat soundtrack
- Simple tap and swipe controls
- Familiar gameplay and fun collecting mechanics
- Interesting power-ups and hat perks
- Gameplay feels stale
- Not a lot of replay incentive
You play as Douglas Chase, a backyard archeologist of sorts who is tasked with digging up his yard in search of artifacts to go into a local museum. For some odd reason, toilet seats and old sneakers pass as items that people will pay to see. Douglas must dig through layers of Earth, clearing at least 75% in order to move to the next layer. He does so by digging in straight lines from one edge of the excavation site to another, at which point one section will be subsumed into the ground. The sunken sections will expose spots where “artifacts” hide, which can be tapped to collect and earn points. Complicating matters are a number of enemies who can end your game by catching you within the gaming area, such as Nigel the mummy who gains a speed burst if he reaches your digging line. Annoying little gnomes also orbit around the perimeter, attempting to meet you when you get from one side to the other or taking off in a whirling dervish into the dig site itself. Your only recourse is to sell your artifacts for money that can be used to buy power-ups or hats that impact gameplay and bring protection from enemies.
Graphically, Dig!’s style is cartoony without being overly cute. The dig site takes up the bulk of the screen, and the pulled-back viewpoint makes the characters seem small. Artifact locations actually gleam a bit at the surface, making it easy to anticipate where to dig to find treasure. Enemy behaviors are a bit unpredictable, which can make things a little frustrating as Douglas doesn’t always react quickly when directed to do something. The mechanics and storyline behind why you are carving up the square add a little something to the game, but ultimately it remains a fairly shallow and simplistic challenge. The soundtrack is decent, and the controls are easy. Simply tap on an edge to send Douglas to that spot and swipe in a direction to make him start digging. You can change his digging direction with another swipe, creating convoluted shapes in order to avoid capture by enemies. Unearthed treasures can be collected with a tap. Controls weren’t quite as responsive as we’d like, often requiring a re-tap here or there. There are checkpoints along the way that prevent you from having to restart a location from the top layer. There are 4 locations to dig up, with at least a half-dozen layers to get through at each site.
Replay value is low, as you can always replay levels to try to snag more artifacts to earn more money. However, the gameplay got stale pretty quickly and we didn’t feel the need to keep pressing on for very long. GameCenter integration provides a bunch of achievements to earn. A universal app for $2.99, Dig! earns a 3.5-Dimple score.