November 17, 2012 12:00 PM | John Polson
Micro Miners for iPhone and iPad takes elements of Lemmings and Where's My Water, creates an ever-expanding set of rules for digging and surviving, and wraps it all up in a charming albeit visually raw game. The basic rule is to mine every deposit in sight. However, the white and black miners can only dig the deposits that correspond to their color (aside from the gold). Touching the wrong color results in death, and missing three deposits results in a game over.
The game later introduces land- and miner-clearing bombs, deadly lava, lava-only red miners, deadlier earthworms and drill machines, and collectibles that add more miners to each round. The secondary goal for each round is to complete it with 100% of the deposits mined. Missing one or part of one and using the super miner to clear a section subtracts from that percentage. Digging up different-sized diamonds adds back to that percentage.
It all adds up to very hectic, multi-tasking mayhem. And I love it.
In the end, Micro Miners packs so much gameplay in its three worlds that it feels like I learned something new in practically all 40 levels. Among those levels are several 3-5 minute, painfully fun challenges with no checkpoints. I admit that I was turned off by less the than pixel-perfect graphics, but beneath that surface lies a deep, engaging experience for $1.
Incidentally, how many new iOS games are compatible with iPhone 3GS+, iPod 3rd gen+, and all iPads these days?