Doug dug. ($1.99) by The Electric Toy Company is an endless runner, except you’re digging rather than running. If you enjoyed endless vertical games like Super Mole Escape, but prefer digging like in craft games such as Junk Jack X, then Doug Dug is the perfect little arcade game for you. As they say, “ya dig?”
I remember that as a kid, I used to like just being outside, with a shovel, and seeing what I could unearth in the ground. Even though I never found anything, I just loved the act of digging around, just hoping to find something, even if it was junk. I liked it because it was fun, and a great way to let time go by (and I was a kid who didn’t have a care in the world). Nowadays, I’m a bit old to just go outside and dig in the dirt for no reason, but I was pretty happy when I stumbled across Doug Dug in the App Store. This definitely satisfies my old digging pastime without the mess.
The visuals in Doug Dug are quite nice, featuring retro, 16-bit graphics that are quite beautiful, detailed, and lush. Things may look a bit simple and uneventful in the beginning, but as you dig deeper into the earth, you will discover what seems like a brand new world, filled with vibrant blobs, rich and colorful orbs, dangerous critters, and hidden treasure chests all over. Oh, and you can’t forget that hot, glowing magma that will be scattered around as you get closer to the core. Doug Dug just looks fantastic, and the vintage art style is a nice homage to the classic console games. Animations are nice and smooth, with no lag on my iPhone 5s. The chiptune soundtrack is also quite quirky, and the sounds are fun and charming.
There is only one game mode in Doug Dug, of course, and that is to see how far you can dig. Like the endless runner genre, you just keep going until you die by some hazard in the earth. Controls in the game are simple — just drag your finger around in the direction you want to dig in. You can dig left, right, down, and even up, as long as it’s a block that is right above your head. This control scheme also controls Doug’s movement when there are no blocks to dig up.
If you come across enemies, just jump on them to kill them and earn more money. But watch out for the dirt above you — there may be tell-tale signs of collapsing blocks, and you’ll want to watch your step at that point, because if they fall on top of you, then Doug’s digging time is over. And as mentioned, watch out for the creatures, hidden explosives, and even magma — one touch from any of these will kill poor Doug.
As you dig, you will find various ores and other blobs in the soil, which can be collected for cash. There are also some power-ups in chests that you can activate to help you dig faster, slow down your falls, and more.
Your final score is broken up into two parts: the amount of money you’ve collected, and the lowest point you’ve reached in the earth before your untimely demise. The game features full Game Center integration for leaderboards (Most Treasure and Deepest Descent) and 31 achievements to obtain.
It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you get the hang of Doug Dug, the game is delightful. I was pretty frustrated in the beginning, due to the fact that I wasn’t expecting the blocks above me to fall so quickly, but I have managed to get some pretty good digging sessions so far. The game is about patience and caution, as you’ll need to watch your step the entire way, or you’ll get squished. The dig-as-far-as-you-can part is simple, yet super addictive. This is definitely an enjoyable game that I will be returning to over and over again just to see if I can beat my previous score.
If you love digging, or simple arcade games, then I highly recommend checking out Doug Dug. Time flies when you’re trying to get to the center of the Earth and beyond.