[iOS] Mars Miner is an addictive mining game

mzl.htuslggd.320x480-75It really seems like we might go to Mars, with manned missions, in our lifetime. How cool is that? Of course, not everyone will be able to make it to Mars. Some of us here on planet Earth will just have to make do with simulations. If you’ve got Mars Mania, a game called Mars Miner, developed by Tuna Bowl Software, might amuse you.

What is it and what does it do

Main Functionality

Mars Miner is an iOS game. Kidnapped and forced to work on Mars, you must dig up buried artifacts to make your way back home.

Pros

  • Free game (upgrade to the full version via in-app purchases to easily transfer your saved games)
  • Multiple levels of difficulty: “Pie”, Easy, Moderate, and Hard
  • Mines are randomly generated, ensuring a different game experience each time out
  • Three save slots

Cons

  • Sound design is okay, but some players might prefer a more melodic background tune rather than the SF/X-heavy approach used here.

Discussion

mzl.voismgtu.320x480-75Mars Miner is a ton of fun. You need to balance your mining exploits with your resources, all while chasing goals and selling what you find down in the mine so your can upgrade your abilities.

Mined items can be sold so you can get new equipment. You just need to be careful not to stay down the mine too long. As your oxygen supply gets depleted, you’ll need to refill it at the surface, or using an item in your inventory.

Mars Miner has four levels of difficulty: “Pie”, Easy, Moderate, and Hard. “Pie” (as in “easy as pie,” presumably), has no rock barriers, allowing you to mine more quickly and return to the surface more quickly.

Overall, Mars Miner is a really simple game. You go down into the pit, you build ladders to get you back to the top, you trade in your mined items for cash, and then you do it all over again. It’s repetitive, but never boring or mindless because you always have that ticking oxygen clock to consider.

I like the graphics here. They are somewhat simple, but that works well for this genre of game. I liked the sound design a lot: you really do get a sense of being underground. Still, there is a part of me that can’t help wishing for a more traditional chip-tune background theme. Call me old fashioned, I guess.

Conclusion and download link

If you’re looking for an addictive new game to pass the time, Mars Miner is a ton of fun. The gameplay itself is quite repetitive, but the game never feels stale, because you’re always exploring some new quadrant of the map. It’s extremely hard to put this game down once you’ve picked it up. There’s something really fun about exploring, upgrading your mining equipment, and searching for artifacts. There’s a good level of excitement as your oxygen meter winds down, which makes this game lots of fun for casual gamers.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 3.2.0

Supported OS: Requires iOS 4.3 or later

Download size: 22.7 MB

Mars Miner on Apple App Store

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