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iPad Game Review: Space Miner HD
      #39523 - 12/26/10 11:53 AM

iPad Game Review: Space Miner HD
Reviewed by JadeDragon

Space Miner HD is the iPad version of Venan Entertainment's popular iPhone game Space Miner: Space Ore Bust. We are not putting down the iPhone version, but with iPad's large screen it feels like this is how the game should be played. You see more space, more asteroid field and more enemies. The controls feel spacious also and you never feel your controls fingers obscure your view of incoming enemy fire or flying asteroids. Nice!

Gameplay

Though the gameplay hasn't changed much from the iPhone version, Space Miner HD gives you so much more space to dance around your targets and dodge dangerous objects. If you have ever played an old PC game Swarm, you will know what the gameplay is like. You control a spaceship equipped with weapons and cargo space, and you must shoot up asteroids to collect the ores they carry. Your family, more specifically your uncle Jeb, has an asteroid field and a mining company. Jeb, being not the most stable member of the family, gets in trouble and the family mining operation is in jeopardy of losing the business to the evil Mega Space Corporation. This is where you come in to save the day.



Starting with a homemade boat you set out to help your uncle and make name for yourself by mining the asteroid fields and take on side jobs like rescuing tourist and save Captain Slate from his many unfortunate run-ins with evil robots. Every job you complete and every cargo full of ores you haul in will give you credits with which you can use to upgrade your ship. The upgrades are extensive and include many parts of the ship such as the engine, reactor, hull, weapons, shields and more. It?s quite convenient to have a shop at the base too, and you can buy these upgrades anytime you have enough money. As you gain levels, new and better upgrades become available to you. So if you are a shopaholic, this game will make you a space shopping junky!

With over 75 upgrades you will need a lot of money to get them. Luckily the game offers a huge map of asteroid fields where you can mine, kill evil robots, discover other sectors and alien technologies, and complete special missions. Mining and collecting ores are the heart of the game. As you go far from your mining base you will see new types of mines and new robots that will get in your way. Most asteroids are harmless other than bumping your ship, but later on in some sectors there are different asteroids that can explode or shoot icicles, etc. and cause larger damage to your ship. So those hull upgrades and new shields will come in handy here. Once in a while you will run into some space junk in your travels. Don?t ignore them, you will find data on other sectors, and even alien technologies that you can use on your own ship from these junk pieces, and these you can?t buy from the onboard shop! Yeehaw!



Most enemies in Space Miner HD are easy to handle, robots with guns and drills are after the same asteroids as you and the competition is fierce. Different types of robots have different ways to damage your ship, but as long as you upgrade your weapons you will do just fine. The only places you might run into a jam is where there is a time limit to complete a task, but fortunately the game gives you chances to retry missions.

Controls work perfectly in Space Miner HD which isn?t an easy thing to achieve for a game that?s best played with a joystick. You can control the ship with a virtual 360-degree joystick that?s super responsive, throttle and turn on autofire with on screen buttons. The game offers plenty of flexibility to tweak the controls, including lefty control flip, drop joystick anywhere on the screen and more.



Graphics & Sound

Space Miner has good graphics on the iPhone but the graphics absolutely shine on the iPad. Flying through space feels ultra real, and the asteroids, ships and robots look very sharp. Each sector has its own design and special effects like flying under space gas or space weather is a big part of the appeal of this game. The mining station is also very well done, and you will feel like you are onboard of a real space dock. The game has different characters too. Even though they are only there to provide dialogues each of them has their own character. The evil robots too have nice designs, each has its own moves and weapon.

Music and sound FX are the only simple parts in the game design. Music has a simple and cliche Western style with banjo and harmonica performing the center pieces. There is also an option to play your own iPod music.

Conclusion

Space Miner HD is among one of the best games for the iPad. The graphics are top notch, the controls are very responsive and the gameplay is deep. If you want to practice your delicate controls and make your spaceship dance while blasting away asteroids and bad robots, Space Miner HD is the game for you!



Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: - 5 - Eye catching graphics that move smoothly with your ship.
Sound: - 3.5 - Music is very simple and sound FX is minimal. Has an option to play your own music.
Controls: - 5 - Smooth and super responsive.
Gameplay: - 5 - Lots of missions and ton of upgrades. It will take a long time for you to finish the game.

Playing Hints and Tips:

- If you want to slow down the ship against asteroids, throttle along the direction of the stars.

- Some robots can?t run others can shoot. Make sure you know what types of robots you are up against.


App Facts:

Developer: Venan Entertainment
Release Date: Dec 16, 2010
Price: $2.99
Buy App: Space Miner HD


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Check out our full list of iPhone/iPod touch game reviews:
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Check out our other iPad game reviews:
http://www.mobiletechreview.com/iPad-game-reviews.htm

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