Gem Miner: Dig Deeper review

Reviews Damien McFerran 17:25, 30 Jul 2010

We review Gem Miner: Dig Deeper to see how the classic PC mining game does on the Android platform

Rating: 
4.5

Ever since mankind mastered the art of digging things out of the ground we’ve become obsessed with collecting shiny jewels and precious metals – so much so that people are perfectly willing to risk life and limb to descend thousands of feet underground to acquire these valuable lumps.

Gem Miner: Dig Deeper feeds on this human preoccupation with inanimate shiny objects and places you in the grubby overalls of a budding gem gatherer. Starting off from your trusty tent above ground you’re tasked with heading below the surface to hack away at mud and dirt in order to uncover valuable commodities, which can then be sold for cash at the general store. The money you earn is then spent on upgrades, supplies and other safety equipment, allowing you to dig deeper, collect more and survive for longer should anything unsavoury occur.

To begin with you’ll only find coal which isn’t worth a massive amount of cash but as you burrow ever deeper into the soil you’ll uncover rarer and more prized items. However, as with real mining there’s a risk element involved – the further down you go the more rock and mud you have above you and you’ll therefore need to prop up hazards with wooden supports to avoid a cave-in.

Similarly, clawing away at the earth in a vertical fashion can leave you stranded so you’ll come to rely on an incredible network of ladders and lifts to get you from the surface to the rock-face as quickly and smoothly as possible.

To top it all off your plucky little avatar can only do so much strenuous activity before he gets worn out. A stamina gauge is swallowed up by walking and digging and can only be replenished by sleeping in your tent, cracking open a sleeping bag or using a special item.

Gem Miner’s gameplay is built around expanding your mine and purchasing upgrades and as such it’s tremendously addictive. You always have an objective in mind and the tension when you’re several hundred feet below ground in search of that fabled gem is incredible.

The downside to the game is that it betrays its web-based roots a little too clearly – the simplistic visuals certainly do the job but compared with the best the Android platform has to offer it all looks very basic. A lick of paint would have been nice.

Another unavoidable issue is that of repetition and although your character does develop via the gear you purchase the core gameplay never really evolves beyond digging and trading items for cash.

Gem Miner is best experienced in short bursts rather than in extended plays. The jewel-snatching mechanics are enjoyable enough to fill the odd spare moment you may have and the sense of progression ensures you’ll be coming back for more, but just don’t expect a massively varied experience.

Specifications

Typical Price £1.35
Platform Android
Cost £1.35
Version 1.2.14
Developer Psym Mobile
Website http://www.psym-mobile.com/
Longevity
3.5
Graphics
2.5
Gameplay
3.5
Category Games
Publisher Psym Mobile

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