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Dirt Review

By , on February 9, 2011


Dirt
Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5

PROS

  • Clever 'found object' narrative style.
  • Insanely huge persistent world; reshape the underground world permanently.
  • Additional artwork as an incentive to keep playing.
  • A variety of great musical themes ranging from relaxed to creepy.

CONS

  • Short 'story'; open-ended style makes it hard to know when you're finished.
  • No tracking available for the artwork you 'find'.

VERDICT

Dirt is an appealing exploration-based game, but it's hard to remain invested after the main story is completed.


  • Full Review
  • App Store Info

It's getting harder and harder to escape the influence of the time-vacuum that is Minecraft and its inspirational affects seem to be leaking across the gaming world as a whole. Dirt by Broken Kings is a relatively short abstract narrative title that places you control of a cat-skeleton attempting to work out who he is and why he's digging around underground in a persistent world.

Players start out in a large, empty room armed with little more than a pickaxe and the ability to switch the gravity by rotating their iDevice. Tapping the screen with allow you to move and dig in the direction indicated, allowing you to explore beyond the screen you're on to an infinite collection of randomized screens occasionally populated with collectable gems and strange artifacts. In a neat twist, the world is persistent and any progression made through the endless underground environment is saved so you can backtrack easily.

Given the brevity of the story I'll not go in to details, but much like Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor it's told via 'found objects' that are unlocked as you progress through your random ramblings. Once you've reached the (current) ending all that's left is the ability to explore to your heart's content, finding all the weird and wonderful pieces of artwork hidden throughout the game.

There's a zen-like appeal to the simple act of exploring environments without pressure, especially when you can backtrack quickly simply by 'falling' back through the passages you've made, but without a way to track the objects you've found (via a checklist or a similar system) the novelty of finding new ones can wear thin.

Dirt is a pleasant heart-warming title, but beyond the narrative it fails to remain an engaging experience.

Screenshots

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