Day 534: Total Miner: Forge

Posted: 2012/04/27 in Indie Games

Of all the Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG) 3D mining games that came out in the wake of Minecraft’s success, the one that differentiated itself best seems to be “Total Miner: Forge”. What I love about it is it owes more to “Miner Dig Deep” than it does Minecraft, meaning that there is more game here than your usual sandbox mining game.

“Total Miner: Forge” forces you to find blueprints before you can build something, providing a collect-’em-up atmosphere that will be familiar to platform gaming and action-adventure game fans. This game-ifies the sandbox more than you would think. It also means you’ll have to travel far and dig deep to find not only the raw materials but the blueprints you’ll need. Getting a blueprint for a new item will let you construct new items, which let you return to previous areas and dig deeper than you could before, all with the goal of getting ever more blueprints.

You’ll also have to be conscious of how you’ll get back to the surface as there are no lifts here, but strategic ladder placement can conquer that (as long as you don’t leave a gap of uncrossable size). Getting back to the surface is important as you will need to periodically visit stores.
If you mostly want to mine, and care little for melding ores and crafting, then you have the choice to simply pay a store to make it for you with the provided blueprint (so long as you have enough money). Another reason to go back to the surface is to cut down trees for the lumber to make torches, pickaxes, and the all-important ladders. If you don’t have enough money, or if you enjoy the creating of new ores and the crafting of new items, then you’re free to dig for them instead.

That’s all in the main mode. There is an alternative “Creative” mode that gives you everything you need to build without stopping for hunting, gathering, and mining. Interestingly, this mode also lets you fly, which lets you build tall walls with ease. It’s an interesting feature, and one I don’t think I’ve seen in any other 3D mining game.

This is definitely worth purchasing. With a 240 Microsoft Point price, the game nonetheless boasts over 500K sales and strong after-release support that includes not only more modes, more monsters, and other content additions, but also included expansive online multiplayer for up to *24* players. This one is the real deal, IMO, the one that beats the competition on innovation and features.

Here’s what the developer (Greenstone Games) has to say about the game:

“Play Total Miner: Forge and enter a world of creation, construction, exploration, adventure and survival. Play online with up to 23 other friends. Play as one of 30+ different avatars. Over 50 NPC’s for RPG worlds. Explore monstrous cave systems, find treasures and battle enemies. Build epic creations with your friends online. How high will your server rate? Browse 1000s of Total Miner worlds.”

  1. Mike says:

    I love this game and have gotten well over my $3 worth. The combat system is its weak spot. There are only spiders which range from just annoying to ridiculously impossible (say if your last weapon breaks), but once you learn how the they work, its pretty easy to avoid them.

    The money system is a little arbitrary too. For example, I think one block of titanium is worth something like 64,000 gold. I don’t recall this always being the case, and it seems like it was done just so folks could afford the 500,000 gold pickaxe. Titanium conveniently appears right above the rock type that needs that pickaxe.

    I would revert my version back about a year or so if I could. The recent additions (multiplayer and character unlocks) don’t do much for me, and there are some new issues (getting pushed out of the world, odd save game behavior, etc.) that weren’t in the pre-multiplayer game.

    Overall though, it is a very solid game.

  2. It took me a few months to realise what the point of the game is. I’ve watched people playing Minecraft, and I thought the purpose was the same here. Once I realised that the aim is actually to delve as far into the earth as possible, it became more fun.

    As an aside, not to be pedantic but the Creative mode that lets you fly while building also exists in CastleMiner and the titanic Minecraft itself.

  3. Mike says:

    It will be interesting to see how the minecraft release affects total miner sales. I make no prediction. I can see a case for increasing total miner sales as well as decreasing.

    I didn’t realize how close a minecraft clone this game was until I tried minecraft this evening. The upshot is that I saved $17, because I have no desire to play minecraft now. I played the demo, saw the nighttime monsters, said “oh the monsters are cool (and annoying)”, and was pretty much bored. I did climb to the top of the big floating minecraft sign and jump off, but that’s about it..

    • Now that Xbox Minecraft is revealed to be a truncated and older-than-current version, my argument is that you might as well buy Total Miner. It doesn’t have all the features of Minecraft, but it has most of them and is $3 to Minecraft’s $20.

      • Now I think about it more, the one thing that counts against Total Miner in going head-to-head against Minecraft is the blueprint system. I quite like that system in that it gives me something to aim for when exploring, but it could count against the game for people who just want to build elaborate structures. You can’t mine properly until you find the blueprint for at least an iron pick, whereas in Minecraft you can build anything as long as you have the materials.

      • I agree with you that the blueprint system is a real strength of Total Miner. It’s part of what I enjoyed about the game.

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