Miner Dig Deep
March 6, 2012 11 Comments
Occasionally I’ll get bored trying to pick from newly released Xbox Live Indie Games and put out a call on Twitter asking for older stuff on the platform that has the chops to compete for my leaderboard. Normally, this results in stuff that I like. Sure, I thought Apple Jack was hugely overrated, and in retrospect the choice of NYAN-TECH was baffling, but a pair of games have landed on the board. Those being Decimation X3 and Johnny Platform Saves Christmas, if you were curious. Of course, I don’t take on every game that’s suggested. Since starting Indie Gamer Chick in July, one title has popped up more than any other, by far. And yet, I avoided it. Why? Well, call me shallow, but the game had box art that looked like this.
And screen shots that looked like this.
Plus it seems to be riding coattails on the Minecraft craze, which I’m not against, but I just haven’t given it a try yet. I just figured Miner Dig Deep would be no good. So I ignored it. And now I feel like this.
In Miner Dig Deep, the object is to collect precious metals from deep inside the Earth. Why? So you can buy better equipment. What do you use that equipment for? To collect precious metals from deeper inside the Earth. And so forth, and so forth. I don’t get the comparisons to Minecraft myself. My understanding is that game is equal parts harvesting and building. Besides the occasional elevator, you have nothing to build here. So it’s all digging, all the time.
Make no bones about it: Miner Dig Deep is a time sink and nothing more. It has no purpose and no clear objective. It’s also got addiction potency that rivals weapons-grade heroin. How addictive are we talking here? I was ready to write a Dear John letter to Brian and let him know that I had discovered a new love in life and it was time for us to go our separate ways. And I totally would have done it, if I could have pried myself away from the game long enough.
The grind of making minimal progress and trying to figure out exactly what upgrades to get, only to come up just short on funds and having to dredge back into the mine is both soul-crushingly dismal yet oddly satisfying. Not so satisfying was filling my pockets with premium materials only to get cocky and stay in the mine long after the kerosene for my lantern had run out, usually resulting in me getting bludgeoned to death by a falling boulder. If you die, all metals you’ve pocketed are lost, so save often and remember to load if you die, because that stuff you lost isn’t coming back. It’s gone to where your dog Spot went when it got ran over by that UPS truck. You know. Hell.
I wasn’t kidding about the “just a little bit longer” quality of Miner Dig Deep. I put about six hours into it. I’m pretty sure I was having a good time. Brian said it was hard to tell from his perspective. I tried to explain to him that joy is expressed in me through slumping six inches down into a couch, mouth gaped, drool slowly cascading off my lips, unblinking eyes locked on a television. He said “whatever” and spent the rest of the day playing Gears of War on his Xbox and trying to convince people that he really does love his girlfriend, the carrot.
But all good things must come to an end. I got to the point in the game where I could no longer place elevators and had to dig for myself. After finishing upgrades to my drill and buying a large tank of gas to go with it, I dug myself to about 1,500 meters. Down there, I was harvesting dozens of gems worth 250K a pop. I was so excited I started singing “We’re in the Money!” while birds fell dead off of power lines and the seas started to boil. I dug a little more and came across an enormous diamond. My eyes bugged out and I screamed to Brian “OH MY GOD, LOOK AT THIS ONE!” And then, as I approached it, the screen faded out and fireworks started to go off. The game was over.
No, come on, Miner Dig Deep. Maybe we were spending too much time together, but I think it was too soon to call things off.
I had been dumped.
What followed was the gaming equivalent of a jilted lover cutting her ex’s brake line. The game gives you the option to continue with your current mine or start a new one while retaining your current items. For some reason, I figured a new one might have new things. Sadly, that’s not the case. Even worse, if you gather “blueprints” that allow you to buy new items, you can’t get rid of them, and they take up a spot in your inventory. But that’s no problem. I just bought 100 large elevators and proceeded to line them all in a row across the top of the map. Now, if you dig too wide open a space in your mine, it can result in a cave in. Well, elevators can’t be caved in. So instead the game shook, declaring that a cave-in was happening, although none could be seen. Finally, the frame rate sputtered and the game crashed. Ha, serves it right.
Yes, I gave the game the best 300 minutes of my life and it left me high and dry. But that’s okay, because I’ll always have the memories. Was Miner Dig Deep the leaderboard contender everyone told me it was? To hell with the leaderboard. If things hadn’t ended when they did, I was totally prepared to bear its children.
80 Microsoft Points tried to explain to their boyfriend that the game really meant nothing to them and he was the only one for me in the making of this review.
Gameplay footage courtesy of this guy.