Move along, nothing to see here. It’s just a Miner Disturbance.
There is something fundamentally fun about games involving destruction. Be it something as complex as destroying buildings with a massive hammer on the red planet, or something as simple as digging a hole, games that revolve around the act of demolition will always be popular. Haven’t we all wanted, at one point or another, to operate one of those massive demolition balls and be let loose on a derelict building? Or even better, to hit the plunger which is wired to massive amounts of explosives surrounding one of those massive industrial chimneys?
Well, Miner Disturbance from Jagex Games has brought a certain amount of this simple destruction to the iPhone. I am not saying that it is as much fun as blowing up a giant chimney, but it can also be said that it is not just mindless demolition. There is a purpose to all of the digging that can be found in this game and, as you may have guessed from the title, that purpose is mining for precious metals.
The player, taking on the guise of a grizzled old prospector from the wild west, complete with torch adorned safety helmet, begins the game on a simple map. From here the player can visit the Quickee-Mine, which acts as the in-game shop, or the museum, where the player can view artifacts they have found during their excavations. They also have access from the map to the first of 25 stages.
The idea is very simple, players are given a target that must be achieved in order to unlock the next stage. They are also given two further goals which can be achieved for bonuses, but are not required for progression and will encourage the player to go back at a later time and attempt these stages again. Indeed, some of these goals cannot be achieved until the player has earned some money and upgraded their equipment.
Players dig their way through the stages, gathering the minerals and avoiding falling rock and the various beasties that can be found within. Players enter the mine via a rope from the surface and, besides gathering the precious metals that will give the player cash and the ability to progress, the most puzzling aspect of this platformer involves making sure that there is a path back to the rope in order to leave the mine. It is very easy, and tempting, to simply hack away at everything in order to get the shiny rocks, but this can leave the player stranded and having to abandon the mine and start again.
Progression will, as would be expected, unlock new obstacles to overcome and new adversaries within the mines. Most of these obstacles can be conquered by simply buying the correct gear from the store. But this may require more money and this the repeating of old stages in order to boost the cash fund.
Controls are offered in the form of an on-screen directional nub, a jump button and dig button. Whereas this works to a satisfactory degree, I am still not sold on any of the games that use this control method. It is not especially precise and makes for some real frustrating moments, more so in a game like this where the player may be required to stand on a precipice and dig on the other side (which will involve tapping the dig button at exactly the same time as moving the directional nub towards the gaping chasm)
Still, this is the iPhone and it is known for it’s casual games. In this respect, Miner Disturbance does really well. It has the quick hit mentality that allows the player to drop in and out when they have a spare few minutes, without leaving the player feeling lost. The different stages are perhaps not as varied as would be nice, which will certainly put off the heavy iPhone gamer. This is another example of why the game is suited towards the casual audience.
Miner Disturbance is certainly not a game that will appeal to all gamers. But I am sure that the cute graphics, puzzling gameplay and relatively straight forward controls will gather a following. However, I cannot see anything that really makes the game stand out from the vast number of other platform/puzzle games that seem to constantly appear on the App Store. Is the game worth the asking price? Of course it is, the player will easily get 59p worth of entertainment from this title. Be aware that this price is for a limited time only. My only concern is that, without anything new to offer, will people buy it in the first place?
Miner Disturbance from Jagex is available here on the App Store for just 59p, for a limited time.