The Nardio Review
Is Mines of Mars Zero worth your time?
What should I play Mines of Mars Zero on?
I can’t imagine playing this game on anything smaller than an iPad.
How it Plays and Why it Works:
Mines of Mars Zero feeds into the OCD progression addicted player in me. I love it for that. Mines of Mars Zero is the freemium version of Mines of Mars. Lots of ads and the option to buy gems. I randomly just felt like trying the free version of Mines of Mars.
Part of me thinks I should hate this game. You can honestly say there isn’t much to do here. But to do, what there is to do, you have to do a lot. That line makes no sense at all until you start playing Mines of Mars. Another part of me was hopelessly addicted to and enthralled by the way Mines of Mars was created. In the end the later won out and this is a long review trying to explain that to you all.
Mines of Mars has you stranded on Mars. The last person alive and the lone miner in a group of people meant to explore the world. Well, now its all up to you, your trusty pick axe and your standard issue jetpack. Yep. We have a jetpack! Mines of Mars has you digging to explore an underground area, while also mining to get enough your materials to upgrade and proceed further. It was progression crack for me.
I can mine as much as I want…. O yea.
That was all well and good, but there was a story that was happening in game. One half of it dealing with who you are and who you are working with . It feels like something you can’t totally trust. But it seemed like more story with your company would open up the more you play. The other side of the story is the alien civilization you start to slowly learn about as you play. Again, even with this side of the story it seems you can’t be sure what to make of them. I have to say learning about it all and trying to uncover everything was a huge part of why I kept going despite the grind of the game.
Grind of the game? Well yea. Mine of Mars feels very, very grindy and kinda repetitive as you start out because you can only dig so far before you need to worry about your jet pack fuel. On top of that you can only carry so much ore. So you have to make lots of trips back to the surface. At first this is very frustrating and just screams bad design, but as you dig deeper it also makes you more cautious about getting lost in the mines. You can get lost trying to find your way out and die. Causing you to loose all the loot you collected and get yelled at by your superior officer. This makes you learn to mine smarter. Memorize paths and try not to branch out too much. It wasn’t until I hit the lowest point that my gear allowed before I started to take heat damage for digging too far down that the game reminded me of the upgrade facility. I didn’t think that I could upgrade anything beyond my pick! Once I realized I could upgrade my gear the game opened up. My investment grew. All of a sudden the annoyance of having to constantly go back up to deposit my ore wasn’t a a huge problem, but just a small step towards upgrading my gear. The progression bug hit me and I was hopelessly addicted. I dug. I upgraded. I dot a lot more and upgraded even more.
Eventually I made paths that I could rely on to take my back up top with ease. I found areas of the game that had me fight mini bosses. They were frustrating, but doable at first, and then quickly became too much to deal with. No huge problem. I just kept working to upgrade and explore. By the time I went back to deal with that pesky mini boss I was on the final armor and had unlocked almost everything. I made quick work of that boss and the next one. The bosses felt more like gear checks that actual enemies that had to be overcome. They moved too much and combat wasn’t great. I just geared out of the problem with better armor and more ammo and that seemed to take care of them. I would have loved it more if the boss fights actually felt like boss fight. With strategy and whatnot. I have the same kind of problem with the enemies in the game. They were all way too easy. Sure they would show up every now and then. But they were almost never an actual issue. Even the platforming parts of the game felt badly implemented int hose boss areas. Some areas were designed so that it was impossible not to take damage.
Mine of Mars Zero was mostly about mining with a few quickly dispatched annoyances mixed in. This was weird because my superiors would always warn me about the baddies and how they were worse the deeper I went. The warnings were so dire that I avoided buying the teleporters for a good long while because they were described as a huge risk/reward device. It turned out that they were just really convenient with no downside whatsoever. I think this may have been an issue of the developer catering to the players of the game. Earlier reviews of the Mines of Mars and Mines of Mars Zero had a lot of complaints at being constantly under attack. I guess by the time I got to Mines of Mars the developer (Crescent Moon Games) just got rid of most of the enemies to keep the player base happy. I guess this was cool since the over all experience was ok for me, but you get a huge assortment of weapons that you really almost never need. Speaking of the weapons, a few of them were just useless. The shot gun was so bad to use that I just almost never used it. When I did I found myself cussing at its totally uselessness. The same can be said of the grenade launcher and the horrible MP5. I felt as if a bunch of these guns were just thrown into the game without even trying to make them work.
Eventually I made it to the very bottom and the final boss. At this point it seemed that the plot just kinda stopped explaining things. My human superiors just kinda stopped talking to me besides whenever I would unlock a new upgrade. Which was kinda weird at that point. I mean what about my mission? This lead to another problem I had with the game. After getting to the last boss and beating it, the plot just got weird. I guess I had an ending. But I feel like the ending was underwhelming and empty. I think I did everything I could do in game, but it just sorta ended in a way that made no sense. I feel like there was supposed to be another chapter released in the game that would have allowed you to continue, but it never materialized.
So all that said, do I recommend Mines of Mars?
Yes actually. I found myself really enjoying the journey, exploring, and the upgrading. This goes back to that line I said in the beginning when I described the game
” You can honestly say there isn’t much to do here. But to do, what there is to do, you have to do a lot. That line makes no sense at all until you start playing Mines of Mars.”
There are only a few area of the whole game that have you platforming and fighting bosses. Like six maybe. Besides that it’s just lots and lots and lots of mining and backtracking. But to beat those areas and the final boss you need to do, you guessed it: lots and lots and lots of mining and backtracking to power up. I know this is going to sound weird, but it made up for the lackluster platforming, boss battles and plot. Which is weird coming from me because normally the platforming, boss battles and plot are what should always be perfect in games I play and recommend. In playing Mines of Mars all of these were just kinda minor let downs in an otherwise engrossing progression/exploration game. This is gonna sound weird, but I recommend this game despite all of its glaring problems.
Did I buy out of the ads while playing Mines of Mars Zero?
No. Not while I played it.
I wanted to see if it really was beatable without having to do so. It was. I spent almost 14 hours playing this game. After I beat the game and mid way through writing the review I did pay to unlock the ads to thank them for the wonderful experience. I mean you can say that all the ads I’ve watched would have been enough, but I know how hard things are for indie devs. I just hope they are working on a sequel that addresses my concerns.
Agree? Disagree? Write your comments below
Read our other App Reviews
- Free on iOS with ads. You can buy out of ads for $2.99
- Paid version of Mines of Mars with no ads whatsoever is $4.99
- Universal app