Steamworld Dig reminds me of another game, a game that this game was probably inspired by, and a game that, unlike Steamworld Dig, is free. Motherload. Motherload had the concept of you being on... Mars, I believe? You're given a machine to mine for ores, you sell the ores for money, you buy upgrades. The difference was that Motherload was actually good.
Steamworld advertises itself as a "platform mining adventure". Well, it has mining, it has terrible platforming, and its a very boring adventure. It seems to be trying to have some steampunk western feel, but its just that. A feel. The western part feels poorly thrown in so that there wasn't more steampunk crap on the market, but as far as the game is concerned, it is very steampunk robot, and the only "western" part is that the main hub is a very "kid's cartoon version of a wild west town" town, and you got a cowboy hat. Yes, this is very western. The platforming, as said, is bad. Until you get a certain upgrade, you can suffer fall damage, which can hurt your "adventures" until you get it. Why fall damage in a platformer? Motherload also had fall damage but 1) It was not a platformer, 2) It gave you rockets from the start to get yourself out of a hole and to soften your fall. Here, you're expected to waste valuable orbs on teleporters, buy cheap ladders, which you can only carry 5 of at a time, or make your own "platforms", but if you got some TNT nearby, or a creature/robot that destroys tiles, then oh no, your platforms are gone.
Motherload had a world that made sense. Sure, its final boss might have been something people didn't want/expect from that game of mining resources, but as you gain more valuable minerals, you could reasonably say you can sell them and expect a paycheck, since you're working for a corporation that has enough money to pay for you and another miner. In Steamworld Dig, you get a mine in a failing town, yet the town always has enough money to buy your full-to-the-brim inventory of diamonds, worth about 500 gold each. Why is this town paying me for ♥♥♥♥ it ain't using, when it could use the infinite money it has to improve its town? Nitpicky? Maybe, but Motherload had a believable world, where as this world is just... ehhh.
This game involves something terrible. Backtracking. You'll have to go back to old zones, or back to the main hub at times during the game's "story", so some random woman robot can tell you something you already figured out. There's a bunch of lasers blocking your way, and you already had to deal with lasers before by destroying their generator? Nope. You gotta go back to town so she can tell you what you already figured out. Speaking of story, its not a very good one from what I've seen. "Oh hey, your uncle is dead, and there's this strange stuff below the mine that gives you upgrades, I wonder what it was all for" repeat ad nausem. I'm feeling like I'm near the end of the game, and there's nothing like a journal entry to give me a hint of what's happening soon. Why my uncle was keeping this tech a secret. It's just... tech. That no one knows about, that gives me upgrades, and no reason for its secreacy. I'm hoping that if I continue to play this game, I get an answer to that, but for now, the story just doesn't advance. You just get upgrades, and people talk about how odd the upgrades are, and nothing happens.
$10? No. Don't pay $10. Wait for a sale, or for it to appear on the Humble Bundle.