You know, I hate being sort of shallow, but I’ll admit that I don’t like playing games that aren’t optimized for Apple’s full screen “notch" devices. I appreciate that older apps will still run at all, but even when they do they’re in an awkward letterbox where the surrounding borders aren’t touch-friendly, and depending on the game that can make things darn near unplayable. And even if games are perfectly playable letterboxed, they just feel… off. So even though it’s a minor thing in the grand scheme of things, it’s for all of those reasons that I get overly excited when older games are updated with full screen support, especially when they’re one of my very favorite games in the world like Doug Dug (Free) from Electric Toy Company. Doug Dug is a simple game about digging into the ground, collecting as much treasure as you can, and avoiding being crushed by falling debris and all manner of dangerous enemies.
You might be asking “There are a bajillion similar digging games out there, what makes this one so special?" Well, this is a case of the game having a certain je ne sais quoi, as they say. I think what I love most about Doug Dug is how it’s the perfect embodiment of risk vs reward. You have a natural desire to go after every single treasure you see, and it’s often that greedy mentality that will lead you into a situation where the roof literally caves in on you. There’s a lot of random elements too, so even if you do try to play as conservatively as possible, you never know when an enemy might just come out of nowhere and kill you, or you might accidentally get trapped next to a box of dynamite and blow yourself up, or the ground beneath you might give way and you fall all the way down to your death. There are just SO many variables that each game is filled with excitement, and especially for those moments when you somehow evade the deadly situations you come across. Like most traditional roguelikes, this game has the power to absolutely screw you over out of nowhere, but also some seriously thrilling and memorable moments where you narrowly escape being screwed over out of nowhere.
Like I alluded to, Doug Dug is one of those games that’s a bit hard to understand why it’s so special until you actually put in a little time and learn its many nuances. It’s designed to be played with just one thumb and for years now it’s been one of my go-to games for when I have a little time to kill and don’t want to have to think too hard about what to play. The only problem is that I often find myself playing for far longer than I originally intended because of the strong “one more try" allure of Doug Dug. Our own Shaun Musgrave reviewed the game in depth when it originally released back in 2014 so I’d definitely suggest giving that a read as well. Doug Dug is free to try out in a limited fashion with a single 99¢ IAP to unlock the full game, and no other IAP or free to play shenanigans mucking up the experience. I am SO happy to see Doug Dug get proper full screen support and this has instantly reignited my love for this game, so I’d advise everyone who is reading this to check out the free trial to see what this somewhat hidden gem is all about.