Appolicious powers Verizon Educational Tools

Strategy Android game Gem Miner feels fresh and clever

by Ian Black

Apps imitate life, at least in the case of the Android strategy game, Gem Miner. The story of the miners trapped underground near Copiapo, Chile, captured the attention of the world. Fortunately, the story ended happily. How Gem Miner ends will be in your hands, but you'll have a lot of fun before you get there.

You control a brave miner who works in an unstable mine. The miner digs for coal, iron ore and precious gems – all of which are worth money that he can use to buy additional mining equipment in the store. The deeper he digs, the more likely the mine shaft will cave in. So, you must strategically place support beams and ladders to keep the mine safe and your exit clear.

The game is clever and challenging. Planning your route so you can get the goods, but also stay alive, will keep you thinking. Ladders and support beams are critical gear, but you only have as many as you purchase. Seismic radar and other tools will give you a wider view of the mine and where the treasure lies, but they cost money, too.

The sprite-based graphics feel fun and fit, playing via phone nicely. Iron ore glows brightly. Shaft elevators move up and down quickly. Dim lanterns show only the cave around you. And, swinging a pickaxe satisfyingly cracks rock. When the shaft rumbles before a cave in, you'll feel the phone vibrate in your hands.

Ultimately, saving the mine and the miner is up to you. Download Gem Miner, and start digging.