Review: Robo Miner
At a Glance
|ESRB Rating:||NR - Not Rated|
|Review Published On:||September 30th, 2020|
There is an autosave, but it's only activated when you quit through the menu or by using the ESC key. Closing the game with ALT-F4 or the X button doesn't trigger the autosave (this can be exploited for your benefit).
Your robot can be destroyed by a number of different accidents. When this happens, it usually gets flattened and its eyes turn into X's.
The entire idea is very straightforward: you control a cute little robot, and your goal is to find a precious Diamond in each stage. This isn't exactly an easy thing to do: the Diamond is always far from the surface, so you'll need to do some careful digging to find it. Dirt and ladders aren't affected by gravity, so you can dig underneath them without a care in the world, but everything else -- rocks, chunks of lava, and even your own support beams -- will come tumbling down if the ground underneath them is removed. While your support beams won't hurt your robot if they fall behind him, rocks will crush him and lava explodes when it falls on something, possibly creating a dangerous chain reaction in later levels.
Early on, it's pretty hard to navigate underground. The robot's sensors can only see a few blocks around him, he can't carry very much, and there's no way to protect him if he falls more than three blocks. This is where the mining part of the game comes in. You'll find lots of minerals scattered throughout the levels, and by bringing these back to the UFO, you'll be able to sell them for money. In turn, you'll be able to purchase various upgrades or useful items from the UFO's shop.
You'll also occasionally find these items in "mystery" blocks in the level itself. In fact, a clever digger can keep themselves well-supplied with dynamite by searching for these mystery blocks, saving often, and using the lava chunks as makeshift explosives. The Diamond itself can't be harmed by anything, so there's no need to worry about accidentally blowing it up. The same can't be said for your robot though, so get him out of the way of any pending explosions quickly!
Personally, I love this little game, but it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea. The biggest drawback to it is that it doesn't explain its controls anywhere. There are a few useful tricks that the player really should've been told about from the start, or at least shown via a help menu or something.
Points of Interest
Additionally, as you go deeper, the types of minerals you'll find change. At first there's coal and iron, then silver and gold, and eventually you'll start coming across more exotic minerals like saphir or smaragd. These turned out to be the German names for sapphire and emerald. Minerals from deeper within the mine are worth more, and will help you afford those nifty upgrades for your robot.
I'm not aware of a key to use the parachute, so be prepared to hit the on-screen prompt!
Concerns and Issues
If you're carrying the Diamond when the robot dies, the Diamond will remain on that spot until you collect it again.
Of special note is what happens if your robot falls a great distance: it'll actually scream in terror until it smashes into the ground or you activate the parachute. I'm not sure why, but I find it oddly endearing.