DIG VR Feels Like PowerWash Simulator For Power Digging

DIG VR feels like PowerWash Simulator for digging, and it’s coming to Quest soon.

Developed by Just Add Water (Sniper Elite VR), DIG VR joins an increasing range of sims on Quest like PowerWash Simulator VR and Lawn Mowing Simulator VR. Revealed during Wired Direct ‘24 by publisher Wired Productions (Arcade Paradise VR), you’re tasked with excavating different locations across Diglington, starting with a mini-digger and various attachments before unlocking more.

Calling DIG VR a “deeply personal” game, Leo Zullo, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Publisher Wired Productions, says the idea was conceived during the early days of 2020’s COVID-19 lockdown. “Looking for things to do, I hired a digger and that eureka moment came – the controls of the digger would be perfect for a VR game,” Zulla confirmed in a prepared statement.

I went hands-on with an early build during GDC 2024, playing the opening tutorial on Quest 3. DIG VR aims for an authentic control scheme that uses two levers for movement and two sticks for controlling the dipper. Adjusting to these controls took time, though there’s pleasing physicality to this approach and I eventually eased into them. I’m told thumbstick controls are also supported.

That physicality extends beyond the immediate controls. Similar to your booth in Border Bots VR, your digger includes a radio with eight in-game stations ranging between lo-fi, classical and country western. As someone who loves playing PowerWash Simulator with an external musical playlist, it’s a welcome addition that keeps you motivated.

Naturally, each mission’s main goal involves digging up dirt with some variances. You need to guide the dipper into the ground, scoop up the dirt, and deposit it onto a nearby patch of land. Straightforward on paper but this required considerable finesse. On several occasions, I accidentally tipped it too far forward and the dirt suddenly fell back into the hole, so getting it right felt satisfying. Eight different tool heads are available that you can swap your dirt bucket for, though I only tried the drill for breaking large rocks.

DIG VR features two difficulty modes – Graded awards negative marks for infringements, like running over garden objects or not placing the dirt down correctly, while better performance awards a higher payout for your services. Zen is a more chilled-out option that doesn’t penalise you, though it only awards a default payout. It’s a risk vs reward trade-off that I didn’t get to properly compare, though I appreciate it’s inclusion. Once you finish a mission, you’ll return to a fully explorable office where you can select your next job.

There are a few features I’ve yet to try, like co-op, mini-games, and the sandbox mode. Still, DIG VR has left me pleasantly surprised me. Just Add Water is taking an activity you wouldn’t traditionally consider adapting into a game and creating an entertaining lite simulator with enjoyable gameplay depth. I’m optimistic for what comes next.

DIG VR is “coming soon” to the Meta Quest platform.