Although we never played the original Cave Digger, the prospect of playing a brand new PlayStation VR release was too exciting to pass up. Here’s a look at Cave Digger 2: Dig Harder, which previously released on PC-based and Quest platforms.
As you’d expect from the title, Cave Digger 2 puts you in the shoes of a miner looking for riches underground – trying to find everything from gold to diamonds while growing the business at the same time. It’s a very hands-on affair though, so from hacking away at a wall with your pickaxe to extracting and carrying out the wealth you uncover, you’ll be making good use of the Move’s motion controls.
An elevator takes you to different layers underground, each of which presents you with a unique mine as they’re randomly generated for you. Your base camp can be personalized and customized, and the riches you earn can be spent on upgrades. You can buy a house, but also new tools, cosmetic upgrades and access to additional buildings. You can’t endlessly bring your purchases along though, as you can only carry four tools with you into the mines – two of which you’ll attach to your belt.
Surprisingly, there is also combat involved, and you’ll run into enemies while traversing the mines – with stronger ones appearing as you progress further into the game (and deeper underground). What could have been an overly simple game that relies on simple motion control mechanics for a bit of digging actually has a ton of mechanics in place and contracts that will guide you through most of them. And although we didn’t test it, the game even supports multiplayer gameplay.
Cave Digger 2 also pleasantly surprises from a gameplay design perspective, with a nice selection of tools and mechanics, and even some basic physics, which includes having to wield heavier tools with two hands. Sure, the Move controllers aren’t as immersive as other controllers when it comes to mimicking hand movements, but with interactive environments and several movement modes a lot of thought went into this one.
Visually, you can tell that PSVR is aging hardware at this point, and what wowed us five or six years ago feels much closer to what can also be achieved with a mobile headset like the Quest 2. There are some nice touches in terms of lighting though, which sets up a nice mood for underground exploration even when you’re inside the base camp – with atmospheric music and sound effects to back it all up.
Cave Digger 2 might not set the VR world ablaze, but this late into the PSVR’s lifecycle it’s great to get such a competently designed game that offers more than we would have initially thought. Maybe we need to dig up the first Cave Digger after all, just to see what we missed.