Mining is a hard and repetitive task. Smashing valuables out of the earth with a pick and shovel is hard work. It takes perseverance, strength, and skill. When the earth rumbles and shakes, it is no minor problem when the walls and ceiling start to cave in. Miner Problem tackles these falling rocks in a way any iOS title would, with an endless running game.

As you would expect, Miner Problems is a veneer over your standard style of endless running game. The 8-bit paint job and retro inspired graphics help it to stand apart from the rest of the heaving masses of running games. It looks good, and that is a tick in its favor even if it feels derivative of games that have come before.

You have a procedurally generated mine from which you must escape. Each time you load it up, there is a new series of platforms and enemies you have impeding your progress. The controls are as simple as could be. Touch the left side of the screen and you leap up into the air, touch the right to activate a special ability. Those special abilities are acquired while running along the mine and picking up bonus vehicles. Each one, like the hover board, grant you a new way of attacking enemies or leaping huge gaps.

This is where the game really sets itself apart from the others. Based on which power-up you have, the generated terrain adjusts to accommodate. When you get the hover board, gaps between platforms become farther apart. If you get the laser gun, more flying enemies head your way. This is a stoke of brilliance that keeps things fresh and interesting. No matter how many times you play, the game adapts and changes as you go. The gravity belt even places platforms on the ceiling.

Before you start each run, you have the chance to purchase some simple upgrades that help you to make it farther. The double jump is one of the more useful since you occasionally can misjudge gaps and find yourself plunging into a pit without a way out.

Not everything is hunky dorey down in the mine though. You'll occasionally find yourself at a loss for obstacles and gaps to leap. Inexplicably there will be a long platform with no hide nor hair of anything in your way. It really breaks up the frenetic pace that should accompany a running game. It borders on on being dull whenever this occurs, but I suppose they are there to give the game time to process what should be coming up next based on what power-up you have equipped. Still though, it feels a bit unpolished.

Other than that, Miner Problem is a simple running game with a facade of retro and some charming twists on an old formula. All of its parts add up to something that is a ton of fun and is well worthy of a spot on your phone.


App Store Link: Miner Problem for iPhone and iPad | By Everplay | Price: Free | Version: 1.01 | 12.1 MB | Rating 4+

8.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating