Survival horror … this is something that we’ve heard a lot. Those two little words were the cornerstone of an entire genre of blood-curdling scream-fests. So let’s switch things up a bit. Survival strategy? Yeah, that sound a little bit different, right? Something that we haven’t seen anywhere near as much. If this is perking your interest, a new surival strategy game is about to hit Steam. See there had to be a tie-in there somewhere, right? The game is called Dig or Die and it’s going to be appearing on your PC screens on July 10th.
Dig or Die is actually a sandbox survival strategy (try saying that three times fast) game. Created by Gaddy Games, Dig or Die was inspired by other titles such as Terraria and Starbound but with a very particular focus being placed on the sandbox game genre. You will be taking the role of an employee of the space exploration agency CRAFT & Co. Your latest contract has gone awry and left you stranded on a distant planet.
Your objective is to build your base and then in turn find enough resources to craft a spaceship and get off the world. This would be all well and good if the planet wasn’t populated by hordes of monsters who don’t particularly like random strangers crashing on their doorstep and want to eat you. As night falls, your will find yourself doing everything in your power to survive. This will include building defenses such as barricades and turrets in an attempt to turn the tide of angry creatures and maybe get away in one piece.
“Dig or Die has received an incredible feedback from the community since we launched the Early Access. It has now scored an average of 91% positive user reviews out of 2430 total, and has sold over a 160,000 units on Steam. I’m so grateful to all the early adopters. They have made my indie developer dream come true, and I am looking forward to hear back from the fans at launch on July 10th,” says Nicolas Gadenne, founder of Gaddy Games.
The Early Access version of the game currently has a multitude of assets. These include a dynamic combat system. The first point about this is that the devs are staying on topic. This is a sci-fi-themed game. This means battles with laser guns; not swords, magic or any other randomness. This is of course good as it all helps with authenticity. Secondly, you can proceed at your own pace and only fight stronger monsters when you’re ready. Not being mobbed by new stuff is always good but don’t expect this to be a walk in the park. Your foes have brains and will always seek the best way through your defenses. This being said … just because something is at your level (whatever that might be) doesn’t mean it’s going to be a repetitive, grindy cakewalk.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a Terraria-esque game and of course building is involved. The building mechanics, however, don’t require a Masters with Honours from Yale just to get a feel for what it’s like. You dig for minerals, harvest your ingredients and kill bosses to build better stuff, and this isn’t new. What is new is that your inventory is bottomless, the gathering process is quick and most importantly all of the recipes you’ve uncovered are displayed and easily viewed. This is a massively big deal. There’s nothing worse than having to have a wiki open all of the time just to build basic items. While we’re still on the subject of building: your items are necessary. This is a heavily guarded fortress you’re building, not a resort for monsters. You won’t find a list of flowerpots and tapestries here. Items are things like turrets, which are, of course, important for survival.
Just as the finer details are important with building so too are they with the world. Your planet is procedurally generated and concentrates on real-time simulation of the environment and things like physics, water cycle and lighting. Plants also act as plants should in that if the right conditions are met, they grow and prosper. This means that you aren’t just randomly farming things but you’ll have to think about what you’re doing if you’re going to make the ecology work for you.
The release version will be taking everything I’ve just mentioned and adding three new modes including Under the Sea and Sky World. If you don’t want to start on terra firma, you don’t have to. You can play with the water-physics engine to your heart’s content having been started beneath the waves, or if that doesn’t float your boat, a world of flying islands might just do the trick. Random events are also being added including earthquakes, meteor showers, heat waves and more.
If you like building games this one looks very interesting, indeed. What I’m seeing is that this isn’t a title that’s trying to be complicated for complication’s sake. This is a case of the devil being in the detail. They’ve done the hardest part in making the world make sense. All you have to do is enjoy the fun of surviving and making that world your own. The fact that this is also a sandbox means that you aren’t being pressured into moving at a certain speed or forced to follow a certain set of overbearing rules. If you like this sort of game, Dig or Die might well be worth a punt come July.