Dig Out! Review

Dig Out! Review

Feb 26, 2016

There a many a digging/mining game on Google Play, and several puzzle capers, so Dig Out!, a new-ish title from Banda Games, does have its work cut out for it.

Bright colors? Expressive visuals? Fun Sounds. All here.

The main gameplay area keeps to the 2D motif, and splits the it all into grids that represent physical underground. Each square generally represents some sort of material, or houses an object. For example, one can have dirt, rock or contain goodies, ghouls or just empty space. Our digger is armed with a rudimentary pick that allows him to get through regular dirt squares, but at a cost; each use of the pick reduces its efficacy, up until it is useless — which equates to ending the run.

Solid rock cannot be drilled through with rudimentary tools, so one has to navigate around them. Boulders can’t be chipped away at, but can be rolled, and there are colored jewels that one can collect by contact, and these or more or less the game currency. One can also collect special jewels that replenish one’s digging tool, but must look out for the bad critters and cretins, several of which can give chase.

The summary gist is such: one use gestures swipes to control our protagonist, one square at a time, past the baddies and obstacles, collecting goodies while traveling ever deeper and discovering new worlds.



The way the game is designed opens the door for a surprising amount of strategizing. For example, one quickly learns that the digging tool is definitely a very limited resource, as are the replenishing jewels. So, re-using paths and traveling through empty space is preferred to digging through dirt without purpose. Also, keeping the replenishments and only using when truly needed might be prudent. As noted, running out ends the session, as does getting crushed by an errand rock or caught by a creepy crawly.

The same opportunity costs apply to other pieces. Yes, one can try to use a boulder to destroy the movers, but could it be smarter to avoid them and save one’s tool? Decisions, decisions…

The colored jewels can be used to upgrade existing tools and procure new ones. there are tasks and rewards, and the game allows for in-game cash spending, but does not force it; in some cases, watching videos can be done to earn “continue” money.

All in all, it manages to stand out for it’s simplicity, groovy sounds and involved gameplay. be warned: it might be hard to put down…

Android Gamers Can Dig Through Mines of Mars Really Soon

Android Gamers Can Dig Through Mines of Mars Really Soon

Mar 7, 2014

Mines of Mars, Crescent Moon Games and WickeyWare’s mining game with Metroidvania elements, is making the jump to Android shortly after its iOS release. Available next week, players will be able to dig through procedurally-generated mines while also trying to uncover the mysteries that lie deep within Mars. Also, there’s the ability to interact with friendly robots that become not-so-friendly if they’re shot. Also, there’s gravity boots. Huzzah! For more on the game, watch 148Apps’ livestream of the game and check out their review today on the site. The game will be available next week – likely on Thursday, but no specific date is available at this time.

Mine Maze Review

Mine Maze Review

Sep 5, 2013

I am positively sure that mining is the most popular current profession in all of gaming culture. Not even counting Minecraft, there are tons and tons of games that are based around mining, or have it as one of primary mechanics. It could be great to actually have a realistic game about mining, but it would probably be something completely dull, except for occasional cave ins, which result in an inescapable death traps – so, it wouldn’t be great at all, come to think of it. Mine Maze was released recently, and although it revolves around mining, it has about as much realistic mining gameplay as Angry Birds have ballistic models.

Mine Maze 2Mine Maze puts the player deep into the ground, and tasks him with finding three gold pieces in a series of levels. The levels are tiled with square blocks. Most of them are filled with dirt, some of them are empty, and some of them are impassable. The miner is controlled by swiping in four directions, but has quite limited mental capabilities, as he keeps on digging, until he hits a rock, reaches an opening, or goes off the limits of the level. It seems that the limits are lined with dynamite, as the hero dies if he does that. So, the player needs to move him around the level very carefully, so he would always have an opening before him. The miner leaves a trail of empty squares behind, and can travel inside them, stopping when he hits a rock. The fact that he can’t be stopped differently means that Mine Maze is a challenging puzzle, where the player needs to think his position through, and try hard to collect all of the golden prizes. I didn’t have any significant problems running through the first bunch of levels, but the do become progressively harder, and it’s getting a bit more difficult after a while. There are really lots of levels, so I think that it can get quite a lot more tough later.

Mine Maze is a fun game. It’s free-to-play, so the ads are there, but otherwise – it’s a sweet puzzle with lots of levels, which are a joy to complete. It does have some levels removed, which are accessible through an in-app purchase, but never mind them, as Mine Maze is quite long even without the additional levels. All in all, it’s a fine, simple game.

Boulder Dash-XL Review

Boulder Dash-XL Review

Apr 29, 2013

1984 was chock full of good stuff. Michael Jordan. The Mac commercial. Miami Vice. It was the year of the unforgettable Icon.

It was also the year of Boulder Dash. Y’all remember Rockford and his timed adventure hunting for diamonds. Well, Rockford is back in HeroCraft’s remade retro Boulder Dash-XL.

It’s always a challenge to redo favorites. A balance has to be struck between original elements and newfangled components. At first glance, however, I suspect the developer was able to navigate that treacherous road; I was able to pick it up immediately. The gameplay was all about mining; as the protagonist (Rockford or Crystal), I had to make it to the exit before time runs out. However, the exit was never initially open; to open it, I had to collect boulder1enough gems scattered around the playing area. Between me and the gems (and the exit) were plenty of obstacles. Some could be moved, some could be dissolved. The boulders, with nothing supporting them, could be deadly, so it behooved me to move quickly if I ended up underneath one with space for it to gather lethal momentum.

Further on in the game, there were monsters of different types that started appearing, roaming and reducing my life expectancy. To counter the tougher portions, there were also pickups I could burrow to.

To “solve” the puzzles, quick thinking was the name of the game. A false move could cause the gems to cascade to their destruction, meaning I would not get enough to unlock the door. I could use gems to attack monsters too, so there were opportunity costs to consider when making drilling decisions.

When you toss in the cool graphical touch-up (which matches console versions), it’s easy to like this game. Sharp graphics and subtle animations rounded out a game boasting five modes, ambidextrous touch controls and leaderboards.

All said, I thought it was an excellent reboot of a fantastic retro title.