Dec 2, 2009

Gem Miner: Dig Deeper

I didn't notice this until just now, but Gem Miner: Dig Deeper is another title by Phil Symonds (author of Abduction! World Attack). Clearly he's building a name for himself as one of the better Android developers.

Like his previous effort, Gem Miner is a simple game that grows with you. The premise is simple... you are a miner and you're digging up wealth from the ground. Typically that wealth will come in the form of a coal (or iron...) deposit, but sometimes you'll get lucky and find other stuff like fossils, gems, and maps. When you dig deeper you need to make sure you have enough ladders to place to get back out of the mine. Likewise, some rocks are unstable such that when you release them your Android will begin to vibrate and you'll have a little time to place a support otherwise the rock will fall either closing off an area or worse; crushing and killing you.

The fun of the game comes from trying to get more and more stuff to sell and then buy the higher end tools and thus be able to "dig deeper" and get even more valuable stuff. While digging, however, you'll be limited by your own stamina on the green stamina meter at the top of the screen as well as your cart's storage limit of 10 items.

The game offers 3 difficulty levels and has a nice tutorial mode. The graphics are very sharp and the sound is simple, but appropriate. The game is controlled entirely by the touch screen so there shouldn't be any issues regardless of the type of Android device it is played on.

This is the type of game that I see a power gamer drooling over as there always seems to be something better to get as you "level up". The exploration factor isn't bad either, but is somewhat repetitive. Find the coal... drop it off for cash... buy stuff... find more coal... You do have tools such as the seismic analysis to get a picture of the mine area surrounding your miner which should help eliminate exploring sections with no value. And the tutorial indicates there's a "fabled giant amethyst" to uncover, but I have not yet succeeded at that.

While downloading the game I couldn't help wonder if the game would be a Boulder Dash type game, but it isn't. There's no real puzzle... just exploration and the occasional rush to drop a support. For under $3 this is a nice little game with a lot of polish on it. The game does offer a trial version in the marketplace as well called Gem Miner (i.e. no Dig Deeper tacked onto the name).


  1. If you like this then you'll love Miner Dig Deep on Xbox Live Indie games, the game he ripped off down to the last detail, even inserting "dig deep" into the name because his thievery is completely shameless. One of the better developers? Hardly. His implementation is completely standard considering it's someone else's idea.

  2. (SPOILERS) By the way, even the "fabled amethyst" thing is a direct copy of MDD (Miner Dig Deep). Once you get to 1450 meters in MDD (pretty deep - 1 tile = 1 meter of depth), there's a huge gem at the end that takes up half the screen. In Motherload, the other game of this concept (which probably inspired MDD) you fight your boss because it turns out he's the devil. You dig to hell. Both Motherload and MDD are iterations of a concept from 1989, a DOS game called "MinerVGA", which in turn is an unauthorized "upgrade" of a Commodore PET game simply called Miner!. So, the concept doesn't belong to Motherload or MDD, but the disgusting part here is that Gem Miner copies the entire look and feel of MDD, all its mechanics, everything, down to the smallest detail, completely ripping it off, ripping off the exact design of a concept

    So no, this hack of a coder doesn't deserve to be praised for anything

  3. Personally I'm just glad to see games make it over to the Android platform at this point.

    I think there are plenty of "rip off" games out there... take the often immitated Pac Man as an example. But it takes work to make a game and I doubt Phil started with source code from another game here. At the same time I'm not endorsing blatant rip offs just because it happens all of the time... I just don't know enough about the other games you mention here to compare them.

  4. Now, I'm not saying it's okay to steal from big businesses, but when you steal Pacman nobody is confused about where it came from. Everybody knows it's a Pacman clone. But when you steal from an indie game, people write reviews and blog articles praising you for YOUR originality. The identity of the author becomes lost, whereas nobody will ever believe that you're the original creator of Pacman. I just wanted to spread the word because, as an indie dev myself, I find his theft very offensive. Now at least one small corner of the internet will know the story.

    If you'd like to further explore the others, 2 are free and one is cheap ($1 aka 80 Microsoft Points)

    MinerVGA is freeware:

    which links to this file on its author's site

    These days you'll probably have to run it through DOSBox (free and open source)

    Motherload has a full Flash version on its official site

    Miner Dig Deep is available on Xbox Live Indie games for $1. Just navigate to the channel from the 360, it's one of the most purchased and highest rated games of all time on the service (which is why it's so ripe for ripping off on Android - a proven winning formula has been established, so just go ahead and swipe it!)

    If you have trouble finding it, however, you can use this direct link instead:

  5. These posts stired up old, very old memories... i remember playing a game called Digger around 1988?!? It had sounds from jean michel jarre so it kinda sticked on me:) gmdd is still a good game even tho is 100% ripped