I Dig It: Expeditions in Review – Can you Dig It? I can’t…

I’ve had a really hard time giving I Dig It: Expeditions a fair shake because I just can’t get into it. The game has traces of Boulderdash and Lode Runner, but really isn’t comparable to either. In fact, I’m not really sure how to classify the game. What I do know is that the pace is a bit slow for me, and I spent way too much time doing nothing more than going back and forth between the surface and the last place I dug. There just wasn’t enough here to capture my attention for any appreciable length of time.

Basically, I Dig It lets you pilot a big drilling machine, making tunnels underground and collecting all sorts of things. On top of that there are four ways to play the game: expedition, free play, point challenge and money challenge. You’d think there would be a recipe for fun in there somewhere. Sadly, free play isn’t even really worth playing. It’s just like any other version of the game just without a real purpose, and that doesn’t take long at all to get boring. That brings us to the “ever so slightly more exciting” modes, point challenge and money challenge. At least here there’s a purpose, but personally I need to have a lot more of it in a much shorter amount of time. In other words, it takes too long to get to the goals in these modes.

Then there’s expedition mode. This is the most interesting in the sense that you get little “quests” to complete throughout each level. There’s even a story that goes along with it wherein you’re trying to locate a missing expedition crew. The problem is that even this mode quickly gets bogged down with the actual mechanics of the game. The basic game flow is to dig for objects, return to the surface to sell objects, refuel, repair and upgrade, then return to the underworld to collect some more. You have four meters that you need to be aware of. These meters monitor your fuel, heat, hull and storage. When your storage is full you must return to the surface to unload so you can collect more things. When your fuel is low or your hull is severely damaged you must return to the surface to refuel or repair your driller respectively. If your machine gets too hot you aren’t automatically forced to the surface, but it will damage your hull, which could in turn force you to the surface. Moving to shallower levels and taking breaks every so often when drilling will reduce your heat.

The first problem as you may have noticed via a common action in the game play description above is that you spend a lot of time returning to the surface. This just gets to be tedious after a while. It wouldn’t be so bad if you could at least clear an objective or two before heading back up, but most of the time it could take you two or three surface trips before completing one objective. What’s worse is the need to constantly stop and let your driller cool down while you’re down below. The combination of these two elements makes for a very slow paced affair for which it doesn’t feel like you’re adequately compensated.

On the plus side, the game is pretty easy to control. You have a virtual joystick to maneuver the digger, and it seems quite responsive. Along the way you’ll get the opportunity to purchase useful equipment like dynamite that has to be activated manually. To do so you can either open up your inventory and select the item you wish to use, or you can place items into one of three available “quick slots”. These slots are available outside of your inventory and simply require you to tap them to use whatever is being stored in them.

The aesthetics in I Dig It Expeditions are okay. The visuals are best when at the surface, which is ironically where you want to spend the least amount of time. Everything under the surface (or underwater, depending on the level) starts to look the same pretty quickly, and in the end makes for a fairly dull experience on the eyes. The sound effects tend to mirror this feeling. There are some nice effects at the surface, like a dog barking on the farm level or waves rolling on the water level. When you get down below, though, the noises for digging and collecting items are pretty “blah”. I actually like the music, which often reminds me of the soundtrack from Jurassic Park. Sadly, the music doesn’t actually play during the actual game play segments, which makes no sense to me.

Unfortunately, after spending as much time as I could muster with I Dig It Expeditions, the best I can say is “I don’t dig it”. I don’t know if it’s the game’s slow pace, the constant back and forth between the drilling area and the surface, or the general lack of excitement in the overall goals of the game, but I Dig It just didn’t grab me and demand my time in any way. The sad thing is that it’s not by far the worst game I’ve played on my iPod Touch, yet I feel hard pressed to come up with anything overly positive to say about it.

slap

App Summary
Title: I Dig It ExpeditionsDeveloper: InMotion Software, LLC
Reviewed Ver:1.3Min OS Req:2.2.1
Price:$2.99App Size:23.1 MB
  • It didn’t crash at any point
  • The renderings of the various people in the game looked pretty cool
  • Monotonous constantly traipsing back and forth to surface
  • Overall objectives were bland
  • Cool music only played when in selection screens

appstoreicon

Next ArticlePreview with hands-on video: Caligo Chaser – Chasing after whispers of glory