Gem Miner is a Strangely Compelling Old-School Style Game for Android
Jun 15, 2011 4:09 PM –
Gem Miner. Explore a huge mine to find ores, metals and gems and make your fortune! Buy upgrades from your profits, but be careful not to get stuck down the mine, fall down chasms or be crushed by rockfalls!
Price: Free, ~$2.20
Tested on: MyTouch 3G Slide
Pros & Cons:
- Easy game to learn.
- Updates bring new ore and new challenges.
- Challenging enough to stay interesting without being frustrating.
- Several modes to customize gameplay.
- It can take a while to get deep enough to find more ore variety, making the beginning sections a bit repetitive.
- Having to go up and down your shafts constantly to empty backpacks and replenish stamina makes for a lot of walking instead of digging as you get deeper into the mine.
- It’s easy to accidentally mine the wrong square when trying to climb a ladder.
Gem Miner, and it’s paid version, Gem Miner: Dig Deeper, harken back to an older style of game where you tunnel through an area to find ore, fossils and other goodies. Along they way, you sell the things you find to earn money for upgrades and to purchase more items like ladders, lifts and sleeping bags.
It’s an interesting concept for a game, and it is a lot of fun, but it can also get old pretty fast. There is way more dirt than ore, and while the developers update with new things to find, it tends to be the same graphic, just a different color and worth more or less. It does get more challenging as you get deeper into a mine, as you have to plan ways to get up and down without falling down a shaft or getting stranded. It becomes more a game of strategy to see how far you can get, and how much of the mine you can open up than just a game about acquiring ore.
My biggest complaint is that when you do get deeper, it seems like, even with upgrades to your backpack to hold more, and stamina levels to stay down longer, as soon as you get there it’s time to go back up again. And it can take several minutes of traversing lifts and ladders to get back to the surface, replenish, then get back to where you left off. I wish there was, maybe, an item you could find deep in the mines that allowed teleportation, or something of that nature to speed things up and give you more of an incentive to keep looking as the game progresses.
You can have up to three game slots, for multiple users or for playing different game modes – you can choose to play with or without stamina being a factor. The paid version gives you the ability to use a Bluetooth game controller, the Zeemote, with the game, and seems to be updated a bit more frequently with new items than the paid version does.
Gem Miner Main
Gem Miner Gameplay
Gem Miner Tent
Gem Miner Challenges
Gem Miner Saved Games
Gem Miner Options
Gem Miner Zeemote
It is fun to try and figure out ways to get deeper without boxing yourself in, as well as finding new types of ore. But it does get repetitive after a while, especially with the amount of travel back and forth to the surface required.
It’s a mildly addictive game, since it’s big enough that you’ll always have more mine to explore, and the strategy level increases as you get deeper and have to plan better.
The graphics are pretty basic, and reminiscent of an old-school game, which I like. It’s blocky and very stylized. I do with there was more variety than just color to the different ore types to find, however.
Accelerometer, Vibration & Sound:
This game doesn’t use the accelerometer or vibration, and the sounds, again, harken back to the old-school style of video games, giving it a very retro feel.