Tips and strategies for unlocking “The Impossible Dream” achievement in SteamWorld Dig 2 by finishing the game with a gold star in every category.
This is a guide for completionists like myself who are on their way to 100% SteamWorld Dig 2 but struggle with achieving “The Impossible Dream”.
The Impossible Dream requires us to reach a gold star in every of the four categories when finishing the game: time, deaths, wealth and secrets. This must be done in a single playthrough meaning that all four stars in the end screen summary will have to be golden simultaneously.
I highly recommend you not to try this on your first playthrough. Unlike the title suggests this achievement is definitely not impossible but it’s still rather hard, especially for new players. It will be much easier to achieve when you have already familiarized yourself with the game world and its inhabitants. SteamWorld Dig 2 is a wonderful game full of secrets to discover and when playing for the first time you should take your time to explore at your own pace instead of constantly watching a timer.
This guide is structured into four main sections where I will give you the best strategy for each of the gold star categories I could come up with for my own attempt. This is not meant to be a detailed step by step guide but rather a compilation of general advice for each category.
Note that this advice will mostly also apply to the four stand-alone achievements rewarded for reaching the gold stars individually: “Speedrunner”, “Hardcore”, “Gold Farmer” and “Explorer”.
If you have further tips and strategies that should be included here or other suggestions feel free to leave a comment. I hope this guide will be helpful to many fellow achievement hunters!
By itself a gold star in the time category isn’t too hard to accomplish. When trying to get all four however it soon gets a bit trickier.
The time limit we have to meet here is 4 hours. From my own attempts I know this can get rather tight in the end but trust me, if you hurry a little it is doable without too much hassle.
Things you can do to save time:
- Skip dialogues by pressing Y on your gamepad.
- Avoid backtracking to pipes by making use of the Portal of Pardon mod.
- Prioritize pickaxe upgrades to be able to dig faster (still second priority after backpack as discussed in wealth section).
- Focus on progressing through the story instead of resource farming until your sell bonus is sufficiently high. The Criss-Cross Combustion engine mod is particularly useful here if you just want to dig your way through the rocks as fast as possible.
- Try to pick up all the secrets you come across along the way so you don’t have to come back later.
You don’t need to follow any optimized speedrun routes to succeed here though I recommend that you follow the story as intended at least to the point where you get the ignition pickaxe upgrade. I then went straight for the extended grapple by igniting the three braziers scattered around the Temple of the Destroyer. Following the story has the big advantage that you can pick up most of the secrets along the way immediatly without having to come back later when you have found the necessary upgrades.
Along with the time star this category definitely brings the most pressure with it. If you die just once your run is over as the gold star is only granted if you have exactly 0 deaths in the end.
Fortunately there is a way to cheat death:
If you die your death will only be registered when you have been reassembled in town. This means in principle you can always just crash your game by pressing ALT+F4 and your progress will be reset to the last checkpoint as if nothing had happened.
Of course this feels a bit unlegitimate as you have to be aware that this is cheating. Honestly though, if you are like me not always an absolute pro gamer and you still want this achievement without restarting every few hours this trick (or abuse as we should rather call it) will be your best friend at some point.
Regardless what you think about this abuse you will most likely agree with me that avoiding death altogether remains our best option. That’s why I have put together some survival tips below:
- When you are at low health try to use the Portal of Pardon or a nearby pipe to retreat to town as soon as possible.
- Armor upgrades should be given third highest priority after backpack and pickaxe. Also get the Gordon Reflexes mod and the Aramid Armor mod as soon as possible to avoid getting crushed by rocks or blown up by projectiles respectively. Temporary lava and acid resistance from the Vidar Boots mod will also come in handy.
Important to know:
- When you die by falling into the void in some caves, this will not be counted towards your death count.
- Don’t die in Vectron. When dying there you will be respawned immediatly without a chance to reset your save file. Same might be true for other situations like in the end boss fight (?).
Again, this would be quite easy on a normal run but combined with the time category you now have two problems to solve:
1. How do you get enough money before the time runs out?
2. How do you even know when you have reached the $15000 necessary for the gold star?(1) To answer our first question, here are some tips:
- Wait until you have reached at least around level 15 before you start farming money as your sell bonus percentage stat will scale with your level. Equip the Thrillseeker’s Tale mod you get from the Yonker brother in Yarrow to boost your XP rewards for killing creatures.
- Prioritize backpack upgrades above anything else as the last tier will grant you an additional sell bonus of 30% on all your resources.
- Besides the gems we get from caves the most valuable resources can be found at the bottom of Yarrow and the Temple of the Destroyer respectively. Both areas are also very efficient for farming XP from killing enemies.
(2) Don’t worry too much about your wealth until you have found all the secrets and completed the story. Then get a calculator and add up all the prizes for the upgrade tiers you have purchased at this point (I had backpack, pickaxe, armor and jetpack upgrades maxed out when I did this). You can look up the prize for each upgrade in the upgrade table by Demajen from his 100% map guide I have linked in the secrets category section. Now you can easily calculate how much money you still need before you can finish the playthrough.
Doing most of the resource farming just in the end has several advantages:
- The longer we wait the higher our level will be and therefore our sell bonus percentage. Especially when the backpack is fully maxed out at this point.
- Due to the higher pickaxe level and all the other upgrades we already unlocked it is less time consuming and you are way less likely to die in the process.
For a gold rating in this category you will have to find 100% of the secrets. This means in the end you need to have completed all caves, met all three Yonker brothers, found all 84 upgrade cogs and excavated all 42 hidden artifacts. In addition there are even a few more secret areas you have to discover.
This seems a lot but it gets a lot easier when you already know where to look from previous playthroughs and if you consult the super helpful 100% map by Demajen.