Xbox One

  All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


Dig Dug

Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Games America, Inc.
Developer: BANDAI NAMCO Studio Inc.
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Arcade/ Classic/Retro/ Platformer

Graphics & Sound:

Like an old friend you havenít seen in a couple decades, here comes Dig Dug, bringing retro goodness to a modern console. Itís timely in the sense that pixels are back in and blocky everything is all the rage. Kids may be amazed to find that before they were slinging crystal pickaxes, their parents were digging furiously and defending against subterranean monsters. Sure, itís a much more limited experience than the wonders of Minecraft, but it will definitely be an object of fascination to a generation rediscovering sprites and pixels.

The graphics and sound are perfectly grafted onto Xbox One from the arcade machines we used to play this on 20+ years ago. If you squint and ignore the 40% of your big flatscreen TV that isnít being used for the game, you might as well be in a dark, smelly arcade of yore. There is an option to reformat the game to fill your screen, but it hurts the feeling of authenticity that most core gamers will appreciate. Itís possible to choose between different backdrops and customize the game without moving too far away from the original.


If you missed Dig Dug the first time around, itís a game about digging and fighting monsters. Each level is a mix of diggable areas and tunnels that contain monsters. You can dig your way to the tunnels and attack the monsters, or wait for them to come to you. Scattered through each level are some boulders that you can use to spring traps on unsuspecting monsters. Things move quickly, with only a handful of monsters youíll need to take out before stepping up to the next level.

One of the best things about Dig Dug in comparison to other games of this period is that thereís always more than one way to attack each level. Sure, the monsters move in consistent patterns, but you have a ton of ways to attack them or let them escape. Your attack consists of a weird inflator gun that causes monsters to swell until they pop, and that stuns them in the process. This attack can be used to slow one monster down and give you a chance to run past, and this also sets you up nicely to take out a monster by dropping a rock on it.


All this sounds a bit relaxed, when in fact, thereís a ton of frantic action as you tackle harder levels. Monsters move quicker and youíre more likely to find yourself trapped between two of them, forcing you on the defensive. The so-called "Fygars" (great name) are difficult to take out because of the way they breathe fire, making it hard to approach them. Enemies that come after you come fast and become extremely hard to knock out, and there are times when youíll drop a rock on yourself while trying to set up a trap. Itís all a bit hectic, but you can beat the odds with persistence and share reflexes. The controls feel pretty much like they did in the arcade, which may set you back after being used to the silky-smooth controls of modern Xbox One games. If youíre signed up for retro, youíre not just accepting the old graphics, but also the sometimes quirky controls.

Game Mechanics:

Found in the gameís settings are some options for tweaking Dig Dug to ease the difficulty or change the core gameplay experience, which has the unfortunate side effect of locking you out of posting high scores online. New players wonít necessarily care about this, but it was always a big deal to have your initials on an arcade game, at least until they unplugged it for service. The controls donít require much thought, just a decision on whether you prefer to use the D-pad or the analog stick to move around. Since movement is limited to N-S-E-W, thereís no real advantage to using the stick other than familiarity.

Every console eventually gets its surge of retro gaming, and the newfound popularity of retro style doesnít hurt Dig Dug when it comes to appealing to a new generation. The biggest difference is that these old games are about a million times more unforgiving than most new titles, but thereís always the trend toward super-hard platformers to balance things out. Whether youíre trying to relive your childhood or expose a child-of-today to some fabulous '80s, Dig Dug is a winning entry, especially if you snag it as part of the 3-in-1 bundle that includes sister titles Pac-Man and Galaga.

-Fridtjof, GameVortex Communications
AKA Matt Paddock

Related Links:

Microsoft Xbox One Galaga Microsoft Xbox One SUPERHOT

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated