Day 792: Murder Miners

Posted: 2013/01/09 in Indie Games

Today’s game is interesting in a several ways. For one, it’s officially been released in “beta”, which is unusual for an indie game where peer review stops games from being released in a buggy (or otherwise unacceptable) state. Yet, this game was bug-free enough to pass through peer review, and the “beta” component seems simply to refer to a tantalising list of options, some of them un-implemented as of yet, listed in the main menu.

But there’s never a guarantee of future investment in a title from a developer (though there have already been some post-release updates). So is what’s already there worth your 80 Microsoft Points? The answer is unequivocally yes, because “Murder Miners” takes mixing creation and destruction to new and innovative levels.

You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that this came from JForce Games, the infamous team behind several pissing matches between XBLIG developers. JForce famously released “Avatar Massage Online” to fund development of the most infamous piece of vapourware in XBLIG history: Unstoppable. Here’s the trailer for the chronically un-released title that’s pledged to come out for virtually every platform imaginable, starting with Xbox Live Indie Games, if it ever comes out.

For years they’ve been promising that Unstoppable will be the best game ever if and when it actually gets released. But when the only released products to their name are “Avatar Massage Online” and “Avatar Showdown”, those protestations seemed hollow. Screaming matches between them and the rest of the XBLIG development community didn’t help matters.

But now they’ve actually released something really good. Who would’ve thunk it. It’s a Halo-esque FPS, complete with one-shot-kill sniper rifles, overpowered pistols, and assault rifles that are only effective at short range. And the Minecraft inspiration is equally obvious. But what sets “Murder Miners” apart isn’t its Halo inspiration, or its Minecraft roots, but the melding of the two. While Halo has its excellent Forge mode, it’s focused around the idea of moving pieces around rather than building them from the ground up. Here you are building block by block, and you can modify the play area as you might a Minecraft map, but you can also do things like throw up blocks to quickly build a wall if you need cover during a firefight. Now that’s cool. And they have already started delivering new modes of play and other content post-release as they progress from beta to alpha.

With lots of modes of play, environments that are perhaps more destructible than any other FPS on the market, solo play, online multiplayer in every flavour (offline, system link, online), and up to 20 players online, this is a hell of a game for 80 MSP. I’ve got to admit JForce, I didn’t think you had it in you.

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

“First-person shooter! Destructible environments! 20 players online! 4 player split-screen! Deathmatch, zombie survival & Infection! CTF, vehicles & more modes coming soon! Create any level you can imagine with your friends in map creation mode with the miner gun! Explore new worlds made by our community! Build shelter and conquer the zombies! See why fans are calling this halo meets minecraft!”

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