Dig or Die has been in Early Access for some time. However, developer Gaddy Games have produced a game that contains crafting, tower defence and horde mode elements, combining them together to create an engaging experience with an intriguing progression system and the option to experience the game in multiplayer. An enjoyable title under a reasonable price tag that certainly shows promise as it continues to move through development.
As the player you find yourself crash landed on a hostile planet with the primary aims of surviving and escaping. Initially, surviving is the priority as each night waves of enemies will descend upon whatever makeshift defences you have prepared, attempting to destroy your defences and kill you. As you explore and gather resources you gain access to progressively better equipment and weapons through finding new materials. As you explore further and gather a better and better arsenal you gradually move towards your eventual goal of building a rocket and escaping the planet.
As you construct your base and make your way over and under the surface of the world you must be aware of physics and material strengths. Bridges must be constructed properly or they will collapse, bases must be built with both the materials and the weather in mind. Poorly built bases will become flooded and fall apart, or simply be broken into by the various creatures that come your way. As well as effective construction you also have access to turret defences that are a necessity for surviving the nights. This becomes ever more important as you move through the game because once you kill one creature from a species, that creature will be added into the horde that attacks you during the night.
The enemy AI is extremely basic and although there are different underground biomes the enemy variation still feel very minimal. They all essentially attack in the same manner and their differences mostly lie in the resources you can collect from them to help you progress. This does sadly make for the presence of enemies becoming more of a nuisance than any form of a challenge as you make your way down into the underworld where the different biomes can mostly be found. Being swarmed appears to be the primary way difficulty ramps up. There are a few differences in AI attacks but even then the close and long range attacks do all just feel like the same things copy-pasted over to different enemies and do not serve to provide any actual spice to the gameplay.
Graphically, Dig or Die is pleasing to look at. Despite it’s 2D style it has managed to avoid falling into the ever present trap of simply looking like a Terraria clone. The soft edges and muted colours give the world a mysterious feel while certain aspects of the visual have lovely amounts of detail in them. The Enemy animations do feel a bit flat and lifeless, as do a number of other animations in the game, but the environmental effects look very nice in conjunction with the overall graphical style.
As you journey through this unfamiliar land your adventures are set to an excellent soundtrack that provides a wonderful backdrop to the gameplay. Well crafted electronic vibes sit well with the theme of a lost, futuristic explorer and give life to your exploration and wandering.
Dig or Die is a sufficiently entertaining title that is perhaps lacking in interesting landscapes and biomes, which hurts it’s long term re-playability. However, there is plenty of areas the game can improve in a positive manner and it certainly has everything it needs to become something very enjoyable.