by Charles Perez (Kingsdecree)
Featuring hectic multiplayer action and some elements of economic management, Miner Meltdown is a refreshingly unique mashup of several different genres and visual styles. However, while built upon a cool eye-catching concept, there’s a lot left to be desired considering the lack of content and gatekeeping seven dollar price tag.
Looking somewhat like Terraria, the pixel-art graphics are pleasant without being overly simple or distracting. I would’ve liked more variety in what the actual environment looks like, but it’s not a big deal since you won’t be seeming much of it anyway with the limited lighting and over-the-top effects from all the weapons, which are powerful and aplenty. From a cheap reliable pistol to a devastatingly powerful rocket launcher, when you need something dead, you’ve got options.
In addition to the guns, you’ve also got some helpful auxiliary items like mines, glow sticks, and your choice of either a rope or jetpack to navigate around the map with. The rope in particular, which seems to be borrowed and improved upon from Spelunky, can be fired off infinitely and allows back-and-forth swinging to build up momentum for long distance gap closing. It’s certainly a blast to use and even more fun practicing to get better at it. Although, there are often times when you’re pretty much forced to use the boring jetpack instead due to the layout of the map.
In fact, the whole map design is infuriating. Usually these make-your-own-way multiplayer games (such as Ace of Spades/Block N’ Load) will have a default open path for a player to take if they just want to get right into the action and save the tedious underground-path creation for the infiltrators. Here however, you’re forced to start digging from the very beginning.
This is especially frustrating in game modes other than Crazy King (King of the Hill variant) because without an actual objective to seek out, you’re just milling about hoping to run into someone to fight amidst all the destructible terrain. It can be difficult to find people even with an objective because of the ever-dim lighting showing only a small area around you and your teammates. It’s neat to have some additional sight through glowsticks and the flare from jet packs, but otherwise it’s fairly rare to engage in combat without shoving your barrel down someone’s throat in close quarters – which, in turn, makes the expensive longer-range weapons much less impactful than they should be.
Show Me the Money
Even with the previously mentioned issues, you still have a relatively fun visually appealing multiplayer game with a unique twist, so why isn’t this game more popular? Well for starters, there’s no one actually playing it, and that’s not an exaggeration. Over the several days I was playing, and at various hours, there wasn’t even a single lobby hosting a match nor did anyone join the one I started. A low player count seems petty to complain about but it makes all the difference in a multiplayer title. It might be fine to start with, but playing against bots in the long run is not fun, exciting, or engaging.
And the reason why there’s no players? Because this is a free-to-play game that costs 7$. I totally get that making games costs money and the developers need to be able recoup their costs, but when the market is already so incredibly saturated with F2P battle arenas how can you possibly expect someone to pay for one? And just to be clear, Miner Meltdown is a multiplayer-only game. There’s no solo adventure or co-op content to speak of.
I seriously don’t get it; there are even cosmetics in the game, why not sell those instead? Or take this cool gameplay concept and make some non-PVP content for it. The tutorial already established it was possible, why not take it one step further? At least then when someone buys this game they would get something other than dull matches filled with dumb bots. And you know, there’s even healing gun available to unlock. It’s completely useless in the multiplayer, but I could see it being very helpful for co-op shenanigans like in a wave-based survival game mode.
I encountered this bug in particular quite a few times.
They Dug too Deep (2/5)
Miner Meltdown at its core is a damn cool mix of so many different kinds of games, but was mercilessly kneecapped by a myriad of questionable choices and a non-existent playerbase. Even though I did enjoy some of my time with it (against bots), it isn’t worth your time and definitely not your money.
Note: A game key was provided for review purposes.