I dig it, I dug it, I still dig it.
Mankind has always looked to the heavens, and then tunnelled down. Leaping upwards has always been hard, but digging in the dirt can be done with bare hands. Finding precious metals, fossil fuels and diamonds has always been a goal. Finding Notch of Minecraft fame might not have been expected, but that is something you can find in the bonus levels for Micro Miners.
Micro Miners is a mining game using similar mechanics to Digging Dogs where you dig away dirt with your fingers. Much like a vertical line drawing game. Micro Miners is so much more than that though, as it has got a Lemmings vibe along with some Minecraft inspiration. The miners are as clever as Lemmings. That is they don’t think too much on their own, and tend to die horribly. For those not familiar with Lemmings I would say that the closest game on iOS is the brilliant Spirits.
Controls are all touch based, and you use a finger to draw paths in the ground. A tool to build also becomes available to allow you to build new paths, trap the miners from falling into lava and separate different types of miners.
There aren’t only silver, and gold in a mine that the basic miner can take care of. There is also coal that special coal miners able to only dig coal, and gold can fix. The game introduces new obstacles, goals and techniques at a steady pace. Every new technique has a tutorial video showing exactly how it is done. Zig sagging paths upwards allows miners to climb for example.
The game starts slow, and easy but soon becomes hard as nails. It is all over when your miners are all dead, or if you miss to mine three deposits. Every deposit can be mined more or less thoroughly giving you one to three stars. The screen scrolls down quite slowly, but as the miners are quite slow to move you still have to be several steps ahead at all times.
The presentation is old school in every regard from the cool map, to the miners themselves. It all reminds me a bit of Sandbox from Bulkypix with the same kind of organic pixels. I would have liked the build tool to be clearer, as it is hard to distinguish where I have built, and what is background. Other than that this is a cute pixelated classic in the making.
Micro Miners is one of the biggest surprises of the year that came out of nowhere. Unique intensely satisfying gameplay paired with a cool presentation makes it one of those games that should be part of all iOS collections.