Developer: Roofdog Games
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.2.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

Graphics / Sound Rating: Rating: ★★★½☆
Game Controls Rating: Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Pocket Mine is a fast-paced arcade game about mining. The goal of the game is for players to dig as deep down underground as possible before breaking their pick and being crushed to death from the top of the scrolling screen. The game has a great feel and includes a lot of extra progression hooks that help make Pocket Mine a fun and varied experience every play.

Playing Pocket Mine is simple. Players tap around on the screen where they want the miner character to go. Tapping objects causes the miner to move to said objects and interact with them, while simply tapping on open space moves him. With this simple control-scheme, players dig deep into caverns to discover additional mining tools, powerups, treasure, and minerals. In a way Pocket Mine is reminiscent of Ridiculous Fishing in that each round presents the goal of going as far down as possible, so as to reap the most rewards possible on each run.

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However, there is always a point in time where the miner’s pick breaks. When this happens, the round is essentially over, as the miner can no longer dig, and the scrolling screen quickly overtakes him. After each round, players then tally up the money they’ve earned and can use it to upgrade their pick or buy cards. Upgrading the pick makes the digging tool last longer, while buying cards affects the way each round works. To explain, each round in Pocket Mine starts with a pop up displaying the three cards that will apply that round. These cards grant items like dynamite and grenades or can increase the likelihood of other items appearing.

To keep players coming back for more, Pocket Mine also includes secondary objectives for players to complete on each run, making each new dig present a new challenge. Unfortunately though, a bulk of the challenge feels like it has to come from these secondary missions since digging itself isn’t hard (I usually only lost whenever my pick broke). Also, Pocket Mine has plenty of in app purchases and social hooks.

In the end, Pocket Mine is a heck of a lot of fun. The speediness of the miner keeps the scrolling screen from feeling too dangerous, but the retro-inspired soundtrack reinforces the hectic, arcadey nature of the whole experience. This balance feels really great, and is ultimately what makes Pocket Mine worth checking out.

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