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JadeDragon's game reviews and playing tips: Pocket PC and Phone games

Super Miners by Infinite Dreams Price: $10
Reviewed May 2005 by Attila Katona

It is well known fact amongst software developers that choosing to recreate a hugely successful classic game is an easy way to create a recognizable title. But unfortunately they often seem to forget the fact that it is also a big responsibility to match the expectations generated by the original game. Luckily the Polish developer team Infinite Dreams is doing their work to keep classic games still jazzed for today's PDA gamers. Their latest title is based on one of the 80's most remembered games, Boulder Dash.

The task in the game has not changed in the last twenty or so years: you have to collect all the gems in every level and reach the exit within the time limit while avoiding any monsters or unfortunate accidents of gems or rocks falling on your head. You get to choose between two highly qualified miners to finish the 95 levels of the single player modes. I say modes because there are two of them. In Free game mode you will finish the levels in a linear fashion in preparation for the tougher Challenge mode where you have to complete the same 95 levels but in 6 stages. You get your scores saved only after finishing a stage of at least 13 levels. To make the adventure a bit more challenging, you can upload your scores to Infinite Dreams' online high score table and see if you are the miner king not only of the shafts of your living room but the whole wide world.

The first stage with its 13 levels is the tutorial which tells you how to use the numerous pickups you can collect during the game. This is one of the areas where Infinite Dreams' personal touches put Boulder Dash back into the eighties and make Super Miners one of the best mobile games of its genre today. Besides the usual speed and direction manipulating bonuses you will come across several types of shields, balls and a trusty drill. Some of the most challenging levels include a bonus which switches your miner's ability to fly on or off. The complexity of levels is gradually increasing from "you can't be serious" to "you can't be serious" with a totally different meaning. Puzzle games tend to get a bit repetitive especially with huge number of levels, but Super Miners is the kind of puzzle game which keeps you asking for more.

A great game is not just a great idea. It also needs to be user friendly. Super Miners with its straightforward menu system and highly responsive game controls certainly make the game easy to play. Apart from the four direction buttons you need to use only one action button so the purists can't complain either. The graphics are far better than the average mobile game but it's not a real surprise from Infinite Dreams. The use of dynamic lighting, huge transparent explosions and advanced particle system makes this game a visually stunning wonder you hardly get to see on mobile phones. The sounds are spot on also with the catchy main theme. You have options to switch the sound effects on or off.

Being able to play this game with your friends in either cooperative or competitive modes is another great feature. There are several more levels made especially for these multiplayer modes to keep the game exciting even after finishing the single player levels or all the 6 stages.

Super Miners is one of the best mobile/PDA games up to date and certainly the most stunning puzzle/arcade for series 60 devices, it puts its creators in the very top of mobile game development industry.

Playing Hints and Tips

Giving hints and tips in a puzzle game is pretty much about ruining the pleasure of figuring out the solutions yourself which is the very essence of this game genre, although there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure that you can get to the next level without damaging yourself or your phone.

- picking up gems with the action button will not only save you time but pretty often is the only way to avoid a long lasting concussion.
- don't be afraid of the ghosts, they are scarier than dangerous. Just keep your distance and there won't be trouble.
- The monsters with red eyes will turn into a heap of nine gems if you kill them. Don't forget about it when the minimum number seems too high.
- Mining is a hard but rewarding work. All the levels can be solved, with little or more frustration caused during this process - but hey! That's what puzzle games are about!

 

Screen Shots:

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Pocket PC
Symbian Series 60

 

 

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics

Stunning graphics, several worlds with their own visuals - a real piece of eye-candy.

Sound

There is no real need for sounds besides the obligatory clings and pings but if you turn the sounds on, you won't be disappointed.

Fun Meter

I wouldn't offer this game to shoot 'em up fans but the number and quality of levels will keep the puzzlers busy for hours.

Addictivity

You just have to try it again, and again, and again. Just one more level. Just one more. Damn battery is dead again!



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