At first glance, Dig or Die looks a lot like Terraria or Starbound. All three utilize side scrolling mechanics that rely heavily on exploration and crafting new/better items to progress through the game. And although night time is dangerous in both Terraria and Dig or Die, when you compare the two, night time in Terraria seems like a minor annoyance compared to the relentless assault that Dig or Die subjects you to every single time the sun goes down.

The basic premise of Dig or Die is that you have crash landed on a hostile planet. Honestly, hostile doesn’t quite convey how dangerous this planet is, but because murderdangerslaughterific isn’t actually a word, we’ll stick with hostile. Your ship’s on board AI system managed to survive the crash and informs you that you should probably build a way to escape before succumbing to the aforementioned murderdanger.

You are equipped with a shoddy laser rifle and a generic resource gathering device called a “miniturizer”. You will use this to everything from chopping down trees to ripping iron from the earth. You quickly find that you can build varying levels of something called an “auto builder”. Each subsequent tier lets you build more and cooler stuff. One of those things being a laser shotgun. Yep. Go ahead and read that again. Laser shotgun. This weapon will quickly become your best friend.

Much like the other games of this style, there isn’t much in the way of directions or instructions (other than what your cheeky AI tells you), so you’re left to figure out what to do on your own. The world itself has a number of inhabitants, all of which hate you and want to wear your insides as a hat. They include a wolf creature that has mad ups, a spike covered turtle that can also shoot acid, bats, piranhas with super regeneration, person sized wasps that have laser shooters where their stingers should be, and giant ants. Oh, and all of these creatures have a stronger version that typically has more health and more attacks. If that sounds awful, it’s because it is.

The real kicker is that most of these creatures have a resource that you need. For example, the wasps drop a crystal that you need to create defensive turrets. And the only way to obtain these resources is to kill one of those creatures (and even then, they don’t always drop the resource). The thing is, after killing a creature, it will start spawning at night (in great numbers) to try and kill you. This is where those wasp-butt powered defensive turrets really start to come in handy.

The game suggests building a shelter or base of some sort to help defend against the nocturnal onslaught, but I found that advice to be less than useful. Why? Oh, did I forget to mention that every creature can dig? That’s right. If you try to wall yourself off for the night, you’re in for a rude and claw/laser filled awakening.

Honestly, this wouldn’t be a huge deal except for the fact that the monster’s path finding (specifically the wasps) is a little wonky.DOD wasp pathing

They tend to take the shortest route (red) rather than the path of least resistance (blue), even if that path involves ripping through concrete to get to you. Admittedly, Each time the game is patched the enemies’ pathing does get better, but it’s still not quite worth it to build an elaborate base with a kill tunnel because, inevitably, one or two wasps will get confused and take the red path instead of the blue one and ruin everything. Which is why I usually employ the “shitload of guns” defense instead.DOD Defense1

You may have noticed the support beams present in every picture of this game. That is because Dig or Die prides itself on having fairly realistic building physics. If you don’t properly support your structures, they will suffer damage and fall down. When the rain comes, if you don’t have a way for it to drain off the top of your buildings, the weight of the accumulated water will cause them to collapse. It adds a level of though and planning to the process of making your base of operations that isn’t present in other games of this style. This game mechanic is enjoyable to a point, but it can get a little tedious if you’re not used to actually having to think about architecture.

The map is not randomly generated, it’s the same every time. There is a large crevice off to the west/left that you’re clearly supposed to build a bridge over. But because I have little patience and even less understanding of structural stability, I ended up building tall platforms on each side and leaping from back and forth instead.DOD bridge1

Aside from those minor gripes, the game itself is well put together. The movement/combat mechanics are solid. Jumping around and shooting at multiple enemies is easy to manage (it helps that you are the only thing in a bright purple jumpsuit).

The graphics, while simplistic, give everything a very distinct look. I am never confused about what things are or what is happening around me during the game. Each “level” of enemy has a distinct color and it was never hard to tell that the blue wasp wasn’t as strong as the red wasp which wasn’t as strong as the black wasp. The only time when things get a little iffy is when you have all your auto builders lined up next to each other. They all look like machine boxes with a tiny image on them. This, however, doesn’t really detract from the game overall.

Die or Die was developed by Gaddy Games and costs $4.99 on Steam. Overall, I enjoyed the time I spent on this game and the developer is actively working on and patching the game. From when I bought the game to when I finished this review, there were a great deal of additions made to the game in both items and mechanics. If you enjoy the idea of a game that forces you to think (semi) realistically about how you build your structures, this game would be right up your alley.

Overall Score
75 %

Although the story is simply "get off this planet", Dig or Die a fun but challenging game that offers a good time for the price tag is comes with.

Graphics 80%
Fun 80%
Story 60%
Replayability 80%

About The Author

Things I love: Video games, comics, steampunk, space
Things I like: Cyberpunk, hard cider, not being in the sun, pokemon
Things I dislike: The sun

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