We have recently reviewed two games for iPhone that relied on simple design and gameplay to entice budding iOS gamers away from their pocket change. One, Highway Madness, we felt got the balance nearly right, better than the other game, Fish Catch, where we felt the base gameplay not compelling enough to be worth parting with your cash for.
Here we have another attempt from a small developer at cracking the simple mobile game market on iPhone, so does it fare better or worse than Highway Madness and Fish Catch?
A bit better than both, as it turns out.
Miner Escape puts you in the shoes of a hardy miner, trying to survive in a cave where there is a cascade of deadly icicles constantly falling all around him.
The game is played on a 2D plane, with the character moving left and right, with a wrap around screen, which is quite handy when your in a pinch. There are three forms of control; tap, button and tilt. Tap and button work fine, but tilt is far too erratic and quite broken as a control method. The other two are responsive and well designed, so stick with one of those.
Three levels of difficulty are offered, with the ‘hard’ setting living up to its name. The game keeps a track of your best score, which can also be reset if you like. The graphics have a real charm to them, with pastel shades and a nice, hand drawn style throughout. There is only one level background, which is a shame, as I like the style and would have been happier to have seen more variety.
The music is good, although the lack of sound effects is a disappointment.
Really the main complaint here is the lack of variety, but this is a game that doesn’t suffer too much because of it, as the gameplay is pretty strong. For this kind of thing, the two things you have to get right are the collision detection and controls. The collision detection is spot on, and the controls are equally good, aside from the tilt option.
These two things combined means that the game actually becomes quite compelling, with the simple need to beat your own high score bringing you back time and again. Nice graphics, decent gameplay and an addictive core means that the games simplistic nature becomes its strongest selling point.
It is lacking in a few areas, such as graphical variety, sound effects and simple things to dodge(how about some icicles that fall in different directions etc?), but for the low price, this miner is one that’s worth rescuing.