A Diablo-themed Rock Raiders Funfest!
Really great game you've got here! The graphics are great and don't look like they were done in Flash... They've got an interesting 3D look to them, and there's a neat steampunk thing going on as well. I also like how as you dig deeper and deeper, the transmissions suggest something dark at the bottom. The one problem I did have with the graphics, though, was that the background behind the tiles seemed to cycle the rainbow and the soil stayed the same color. At the same time, it was just a plain gradient and didn't look like there was soil behind what you were drilling, so it looked kind of odd.
The music is nice and the sound effects are as well. As with all XGen games, the music is techno and loops well, with nothing eye-catching. Sound effects are nice, and I really like some of the roaring near the end. It would have been nice if there were more than just three songs, though.
The gameplay has more than meets the eye. For one, the entire map is right there, giving you the option to mine however deep you want. This means the difficulty curve is chosen by the player, although you got to risk it to get the biscuit. The tile-based system and the way you drill also adds a puzzle element to it, making it key to think things through. As you progress, the danger is shifted from your tiny fuel tank to the gas pockets you encounter in the late game, and I really like how later on you have to choose between drilling through a lava pocket that deals a little damage or risk drilling through dirt that might contain a gas pocket... Or might not. Pile on the rocks, risks, and minerals, and the game has a lot of depth, pun not intended. Also, while the game gets harder each time you play through it, keeping the player on their toes, it's nice that the dinosaur bones, treasure chests, etc. keep their value, giving players a chance after they've played through 5 or 6 times. Dynamite, plastic explosives, and teleporters add yet another layer of depth, although the matter transmitter is kind of useless and overpriced. The only other problem here is that you can exploit the game by reloading it, filling the soil with minerals again, yet by the same token you have to drill a new shaft again, which is annoying and unrealistic. There's also a glitch where you can get sucked into the wall, or where you can 'snag' on walls, landing on them and being able to set off explosives there. All in all there are kinks that need to be worked out.
I also like the theme of Mr. Natas bringing out human greed. Very fitting, in my opinion. The concept and style are top-notch, and you really get a weird feeling as the game goes on and on. Mr. Natas is creepy, but even moreso the transmissions of pods that get picked off are eerie. You get a sense of accomplishment from each upgrade, as few upgrades are negligible, and the player gains a certain pride in that compact little pod.
Great game!!! I've played through it 5 times and I can't wait to see how the difficulty progresses!