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.”