Ninja Miner Review

Ninja Miner Review

Sep 27, 2013

I feel like I’m going to travel down into the mines myself any minute now. The number of games that have something to do with taking rocks out of Earth’s crust, and that I’ve written reviews for, will soon become immeasurable. And it’s not like I’m a fan of this. My ancestors must have been some sort of miners, since I have this strange attraction to the mining games. Hope some of them were ninjas, too, as Ninja Miner is also about that.

Ninja Miner 2Ninja Miner is a very simple arcade at heart. The hero, not surprisingly, is a ninja miner, who collects precious stones and golden stars, scattered across many levels. The levels are all squarely tiled, and walled in. The miner is controlled by four arrows. He doesn’t move around, but rather, jumps between opposing walls. Probably due to his kneecaps being crushed by a bat as a child, he isn’t able to move differently, so you can’t move him around normally. The whole game is built around this restriction, and the player needs to be aware of his surroundings, in order to evade hazards and enemies, but pick up the gems and stars. Sometimes, there’s also a key or a pickaxe that needs to be picked, in order to move through different parts of the level, but Ninja Miner is generally pretty straightforward. Not easy, but straightforward.

Although Ninja Miner seems a bit cheap at first, there’s a lot of fun behind the primitive idea. The game has parts where fast reaction is required, and it also has parts where the player needs to carefully evaluate his moves. It seems a bit cheap at first, yes. But this feeling quickly moves to the background, and the game engages the player in its gameplay pretty fast. Although the idea of Ninja Miner is quite an old one, the execution is still important, and I think that Ninja Miner nails it pretty nicely.

Miner Review

Miner Review

Jul 26, 2013

Miner is an interesting game, with an interesting difficulty curve. I suggest teaching it to kids at school, to give an honest, un-romanticized outlook on life and work. At the core, Miner is a distant relative to Minecraft – but without the crafting part. Actually, yeah, Miner is a pretty sufficient explanation. Player controls a small private mining vessel, using only four arrows to move around, and embarks on a journey into the bowels of the Earth in search of various precious metals and minerals. After digging for some time, the vessel has to return to Earth to unload a cargo, refuel and repair, and this is where the challenge hides.

When the vessel moves through the ground, it runs through the fuel supplies quite quickly, and refilling those not only costs a significant amount of money, but also requires getting back up to the surface, and then – going all the way down again. Driving through already existing tunnels doesn’t require as much fuel, but still has its cost. The other problem is that the minerals are quite rare to come across in the beginning, and require lots of exploring around – again, eating the precious fuel. If Miner vessel gets too far down, it will overheat, and damage itself.

Miner 4The unusual part in Miner is that when the vessel loses all health, or fuel, it doesn’t get destroyed, but is instead transported back to the surface, repaired and refilled, but this costs a great deal. If the player doesn’t have enough money on his account, it goes into negatives. This puts miner into a tricky situation, where he not only has to repay the debt, but also try to earn money for the fuel resupplies. This is definitely a problem with the game’s design, as it won’t allow purchase anything, if there isn’t enough money to pay for it. So, stalemates will happen, when it’s impossible to repay the enormous debt, impossible to purchase upgrades for the vessel that would allow mining in the deeper layers, and thus – impossible to make any progress. The player will sells his soul to a company store, as the song goes. So, it’s almost a guarantee that the first try is going to be unsuccessful. Second will probably be as well. This can probably lead to some frustration.

But, in my opinion, it’s a golden mine for people who strive for a challenge and competition. It’s almost impossible to succeed in this game, but “almost” is enough to try again, and Miner has lots of stuff to purchase and upgrade, to provide hours of gameplay. It’s a very unusual game, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody. However, for people who like their games like they like their coffee – bitter, agitating, and potentially dangerous to one’s health – Miner will definitely be a welcomed addition to the library.