When people think of space mining, they generally don’t picture rednecks running faulty business plans and coming up with cheesy taglines such as ‘We DelivORE’. This is exactly what makes Space Miner: Space Ore Bust one of the most clever and enjoyable iPhone games we’ve played. It’s a blast to handle your redneck uncle’s comical misadventures, mine ore for profit, and fight a powerful corporation that has sent drones to steal from your asteroid fields, all while raising your space license level.
As a newcomer to your uncle’s mining company, your job is to mine as much ore as possible by blowing up asteroids and pulling their contents to your ship with a tractor beam. By doing this you will raise your license level, giving you access to new ship parts and mining locations.
As the game progresses, you’re also tasked with destroying drones and other enemies mining ore in your fields or trying to blow you up. The only downside to mining is that you can’t micromanage which ore you pick up, meaning if you’re low on storage space and just want to collect the most profitable ore, you’re out of luck.
Saw blades from outer space!
Occasionally a special mission will become available to you, like fending off attackers to keep a friend’s ship alive, rescuing tourists trapped in space, destroying a variety of crazy bosses, and much more. One of our favorites was when we had to send a time-erasing bomb our uncle accidentally set off into another dimension by opening a rift in space.
Instead of going the usual route of dual-stick controls, Space Miner takes a unique direction that works perfectly for this style of game. A wheel controls the direction your ship faces, and tapping and holding the thruster for different amounts of time varies how fast and far your ship moves. Action buttons for different types of attacks can either be set to manual use or automatic, in which you tap them to toggle auto-firing.
Space Miner has a great ship upgrade system where you can purchase new pieces of your ship individually. The higher your license level, the more pieces are available. There is a catch, however: you must have enough energy from your reactor to power an upgraded piece, or else your ship won’t work. In the beginning this isn’t a problem, but once you buy hulls with multiple weapon slots and power-guzzling parts, it becomes important to weigh what features are most important to you and suit your play style.
Space-themed games don’t generally have a lot of personality, but Space Miner is bursting with it. The silly characters, witty dialogue, banjo music, and entertaining story keep the fairly large amount of reading palatable.
If you like ‘pluses’, there are two to be found here. Plus+ integration brings leaderboards, achievements, and everything else you would expect from the platform. Most important, however, is new game +, which allows you to play through HardcORE difficulty with all your items from previous playthroughs.
Few games truly stand out like Space Miner does, and we can’t wait to see what this developer has in store for us in the future. Even if a space shooting game doesn’t usually appeal to you, there is something here for everyone and Space Miner shouldn’t be missed by any iPhone gamer.