Features & Use
Planning is everything when it comes to Gem Miner, although this isn’t clear right from the get-go. Once you dive deeper into the game, however, you’ll soon realize that without a well thought-out strategy you’re not going to get very far.
You play the role of a mine digger who’s on the prowl for buried treasure. In order to find the goods you have to develop and expand your mine, which isn’t as easy as you might think. Rocks will come crashing down and cause parts of the mine to collapse if you don’t secure the areas immediately. Furthermore, you have to make sure to always have enough material on you – ladders and supporting pillars, for instance –, otherwise you risk getting caught in a trap you’ve more or less dug yourself and not be able to get back out of it.
If you do find treasures you can sell them at a warehouse. Use the money you earn to buy new equipment and tools that will help you in your endeavors: flashlights, backpacks, ladders, new hooks, and so on and so forth. The longer you play the more you will come to realize just how important having a good strategy and being able to plan ahead really are.
There are three different levels to choose from:
If you’re playing the lite version only the first level is available, so you’ll have to purchase the full version if you want to try out the other levels.
I’m really enjoying this game. It makes you think, it makes you come up with strategies, it’s entertaining and hence you can play for hours on end. The easy level is perfect for getting to know the game and sussing out the different functions and gameplay. That being said, the easy level gets a bit old pretty quickly, so if you like the game I recommend buying the full version.
Screen & Controls
Gem Miner’s graphic design is really clean and concise. The app definitely has its own look, just as Abduction and co. have their own style, too: simple, but still very artful.
You control the game via the screen, which is a good thing in my book, but there is one downside:
The little guy moves ahead by one square only. So, if you have a long stretch to walk (which is often the case) you’ll constantly be clicking on the next square. I find this to be annoying. It would’ve been better if the figure keeps going until it hits an obstacle.
The way the extra equipment is displayed isn’t particularly helpful either: for instance, if you’re looking to buy a new ladder you will a) have to keep clicking in the shop until you get to the ladder, b) click Purchase (and I tend to click on the object itself, thinking that I can buy it that way, but this opens up a description box telling you what the object can be used for), c) go back to the shop, d) click on the ladder again… you get the picture. It would make more sense, in my opinion, if the shop were shown as a list that can be scrolled through instead of having to click your way through the entire repertoire.
So, I have to take some points off, which is too bad, because the game really deserves five stars. Otherwise the game is a success and fun is guaranteed.
Speed & Stability
Everything runs smoothly, there were no crashes. There was a bug which prevented the score from being saved, but that’s been fixed.
Gem Miner can be downloaded for free from the Market, or rather, the lite version is free. If you want to try out the other levels you have to fork over 1,35 Pounds, which is absolutely justified.