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Rating: 4.7/5 (53 votes)
| Comments (15) | Views (694)

Dig n Rig

JamesFrom the study halls of Digipen, whose alumni include parts of the teams behind Portal and Portal 2, comes an epic tale of digging, rigging, and more digging. Sounds as exciting as bathwater, right? But I'll bet you a load of rare minerals that once you get started in Dig-n-Rig, you'll lose your evening. Maybe more!

Dig n RigDig-n-Rig's creators, a team of students at Digipen, describe this free game as "a 2D, futuristic, mining simulator that combines resource management with creative building mechanics." That is like calling Minecraft a "logistics and surveying management experience" or Canabalt a "look into the experience of an Olympic athlete." It's so much less and yet so much more.

There is no real simulation or management in Dig-n-Rig, not in the conventional sense, unless you count checking for bottlenecks and keeping out of the blast radius as management issues. You are Diggit 6400, a robot designed to reach the core of the Earth. Behind him is a sea of white coats — scientists who provide him with new technologies. That tech is not cheap, so Diggit has to transport minerals back to the surface where he can exchange them for more rigging equipment, upgrades and items. Not only do you scoop your way down and down, but you also get to build platforms and ladders (the "rig" part of the title) to help you make your way back up. Nifty!

As Diggit digs deeper down into the dirt, he encounters environmental hazards, giant caverns, and mole people. The journey isn't really that far, but it does take some time. Diggit needs to periodically upgrade his wireless signal, which determines how much further he can descend. Upgrading his three drill bits gets him through the dirt faster, while explosives are useful for some mass mining or taking care of the mole folk — somewhat antsy for you invading their world. Fortunately you are a cold, unfeeling robot. Soon enough you have a jetpack, which like all jetpacks opens the game up to a whole new level. Well, you stop using ladders, any way...

Dig n RigAll this, as mentioned, comes at a cost and is paid for by minerals you mine. Unlike Minecraft, which hides its minerals with the zeal of a neurotic squirrel, Dig-n-Rig's walls literally explode with the stuff. Nearly every pixel you drill or blast apart seems to yield a bounty of the Earth's secrets. To get these upstairs, you have to construct a network of conveyor tracks and scoopers to do the carrying. These you also need to buy, but they are cheap. Diggit uses a lot of rigging equipment and visits to the Lab — the game's shop — are frequent. Fortunately you can call up the store menu no matter where you are.

Analysis: So far this review has referred twice to Minecraft, the indie hit of the past year. And it should probably reference Terraria, I Dig It, Mega Miner, and Motherload, as well. Dig-n-Rig is not Minecraft nor any of these other games, except that both involve obsessive amounts of digging. The Digipen team created a straight-forward platforming experience: you'll have your head wrapped around it in minutes, despite the busy tutorial area. In many ways it resembled the Robot Wants series of games and plays just about as well.

Dig n RigIn all honesty you can rush to the bottom — the only restrictions are your WiFi range, drill upgrades and investing in a jetpack. There is no avoiding the mining and rigging, as you can't afford the upgrades otherwise, but Diggit can reach the core with a minimum of environmental disturbance. Yet the hypnotic lure of rigging systems and high explosives can be very strong — don't be surprised if you end up blasting and mining every inch of dirt between the surface and the core.

Sadly this is where the novelty ends. You might go back and play a few more times, but eventually Dig-n-Rig shows its limits. Being a student project, it lacks all the elements you require in a full title and more resembles a prototype or ambitious browser game. While mining and such is fun, there are only so many approaches to it. The journey to the core is not that long and once you rock some decent upgrades and technologies, no hazard or creature from the deep is much of a match for Diggit. The selection of tech is limited as well and the biggest portion of your riches will pay for rigging gear and items.

None of that is raised as negative points against Dig-n-Rig. It's simply to illustrate that this is still only 80 percent of a game — a fantastic idea and a great framework, but not a full experience yet. It also bears mentioning that there are a few bugs and interface design issues. But the core mechanics are nearly flawless. If Dig-n-Rig ever does take a turn towards or inspires a fuller game, it will be very, very popular!

Download the free full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Not available.
Try Boot Camp or Parallels or CrossOver Games.


tinyflames Author Profile Page July 24, 2011 10:58 PM

This looks so cool, too bad I have a Mac. D':

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CatalystParadox Author Profile Page July 24, 2011 11:52 PM

Not a bad game, I played through and mined nearly everything out in the course of a few hours. No big surprises or twists (though don't forget to look upward, too!) but, as the review says, surprisingly addictive. Worth a play.

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Menashe July 25, 2011 2:51 PM

Wow! I consider this to be the best free game release so far this year. The whole look reminds me of playing a game back on the old Apple II. The addictiveness reminds me less of Minecraft and more of Sim City 2000, also from yesteryear. There is a certain charm and addictive quality to it that make you wonder why games such as these don't have the backing of big-budget studios, and instead are backing the latest Call of Duty.

It's a shame that the game is so short. I hope it will accomplish the same thing as Tower of Goo, which went from cute demo to full-fledged award-winning indie game in World of Goo.

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Awesome! Though the only feature I'd like is to be able to convert "cheese"

rariest from the moon

to some of the rarer minerals, like Atomicide or radioaction. And yes I know there are pockets of it, but very small ones.

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charlatan Author Profile Page July 26, 2011 8:05 AM

Nice little game! I'm wondering whether I've missed something because I could still upgrade the WiFi range but reached the end anyway...

And the megabombs are totally unbalanced, they pretty much take away the need for any drilling.

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Talonic July 26, 2011 2:56 PM

Once you get the dirtzooka, you can utterly ruin the game beyond all imagining.

^image of ruination^

I took that picture 5 minutes ago. It's still not done processing all the materials.

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*cries inside* Why must such luscious ASCII goodness be kept from me?! It's too bad it wasn't written in DOS so I could boot up DOSBox on my mac....

[With all Macs sold nowadays, you can also boot up Windows (though Windows install CD sold separately). -Jay]

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So, the first time I played, I suddenly had the vac pack- transporter thing beside me. Didn't know where it had come from. Now I'm playing again, and don't know how to get it! *confused*

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stupid law of posting....

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Anonymous October 27, 2011 4:09 PM

jay, will you PLEASE swear that i wont get viruses downloading from your website? please? pinky swear?

[I will swear that we test all the games we link to and review before recommending them to you. We are very careful about linking only to reputable game developers and malware-free games. You are very unlikely to get a virus by downloading any of the games we feature and recommend. That's the best I can do for a promise. -Jay]

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Anonymous October 27, 2011 4:37 PM

thanks jay. frankly, the only game download so far that i ever downloaded that's safe is smbx:P

[Then you haven't downloaded many games from JIG. There isn't a download on my site that isn't safe, to the best of my knowledge. If there is, we would remove the link immediately. -Jay]

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I got a problem. all the colour is like chinese words. please help me fix it here. Please watch and see if you know how. maybe I'm missing something? like a translator?

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CaptianCommy January 21, 2012 1:25 PM

That awkward moment when you've mined every thing possible in the game and it says you need more minerals to buy an upgrade.

And yes, I did mine the Stars and Moon

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Feel kinda trolled.... everything's gone and i need .01%....

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I can't save, please help.

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