Remove the silly meta-humor, deep customization, and level-based structure from Space Miner: Space Ore Bust and you get this spin-off, Space Miner Blast. The gameplay is nearly identical, but instead of fighting off the Mega Space Corporation, you’re fighting for a high score on the leaderboards.
If you played Space Miner: Space Ore Bust, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Space Miner Blast’s gameplay. The goal, as always, is to blast away asteroids, collect and sell their ore, and use the money to purchase upgrades between rounds. High scores are calculated based on the amount of money you earn.
The three upgrade paths are firepower, shields, and ore collection, each of which can be upgraded five times. Our strategy is to stack up firepower all the way to the max, and then work on the other two paths.
Blue ring of death.
Evil space robots also make a return, although this time they aren’t mining your ore. While these nuisances don’t have to be killed to complete a round (and in fact respawn once they’re killed), they often drop power-ups that can turn around the game in a big way. For example, one power-up makes your ship shoot twice as fast, letting you clear a level with ease.
One downside to Space Miner Blast is that you need to start at the beginning every session. In our opinion, the best pick-up-and-play games offer a hard mode that throws you into the thick of things quicker.
Also, Space Miner Blast’s controls feel slightly more cramped than in the original. Buttons are too easy to accidentally hit at the same time, resulting in wasted bombs or surging forward into asteroids you meant to shoot. We ended up having to pay too much attention to where our fingers were, which is never a good thing for touch-based gaming.
Space Miner Blast follows an interesting freemium model. Your initial game download includes a standard ship for free, with three others for $0.99 each (or $1.99 for all three). Buying any package will remove all ads from menus, take away the seconds-long wait time between upgrading the ship and getting back to asteroid blasting, and unlock Retina-optimized graphics on 4th-generation devices.
Not much to mine in space.
This last unlock is a mixed bag. When you first start the free game on a Retina display, it looks very low-resolution, giving a weak first impression. If you’re playing on a 4th generation device, you really ought to upgrade. It simply looks that much better.
Space Miner Blast includes Game Center leaderboards and achievements. Individual leaderboards are available for all four ships, as well as an overall high score. As with the original Space Miner, the achievements aren’t easy to unlock.
Space Miner Blast may not have the humor and depth of the previous game, but then again, it isn’t supposed to. For quick sessions, this is the perfect way to mine some ore and cry some meta-tears with Uncle Jeb.