Welcome to Mars! Building (haha) upon the successes of Terraria and Minecraft in the block style mine-em and build-em category comes Mines of Mars. This game hits the sweet spot between creativity and Sci-Fi action as you run around mines trying to collect resources while battling hostile bugs. The main quest is to level up your character and your equipment in order to escape.
Here is my take on this new addition to the iPad (there will be gameplay spoilers ahead so consider yourself warned).
When mines of mars opens up, you are treated to a great opening sequence and loading screen.
When the game starts, you are on a space ship that is looking for a place to go. You are leaving titan because it is just not for you and you think that Mars might be a better spot. When you get close, your ship is shot down. You are the only person who makes it. Luckily, you happen to land in an area controlled by one of the mining corporations and there is some infrastructure for you to use. The first thing you do is portal down into a little cavern to start working.
As you explore the caverns and mine some of the rocks (which you do by simply walking into them) you will find several robots that have been taken down into the depths by the corporation. They all talk to you and serve as great place markers as you explore the depths.
As you mine, you will come across portals that allow you to return your collected minerals to the surface. Keep track of how to get to the surface. If you happen to run out of fuel while exploring you lose everything and are returned to the surface – which is quite unfortunate.
The Surface uses some nice Day/night rendering and is a great place to visit from time to time.
While you are at the surface, you will do a couple of tasks to cut down on the inventory that you are carrying. Those actions are: smelting, crafting, and refining. In the smelting process, you take the metal you collect and distill it down into bars of that metal. Refining takes the gems and cuts them into stones. Crafting uses both of the refined materials in order to create new and exciting gear for you to use.
So as you are collecting the minerals and gems, your ultimate goal is to purchase the gear upgrades to let you explore to greater depths and mine better materials (oh and get bigger guns to defend yourself with).
As with most of my games, I am actively playing this game and will update this page when I have reached the logical conclusion of the game or I have tired of it and removed it from my iPad.
This game is a great foray into the 2d Mine and Create genre. If you like space and Sci-Fi related games and other mine-em and create-em games, this will be a great fit. Unfortunately, I see little education value in the game but it is fun to play and a good game for personal use on the iPad.