REVIEW: Murder Miners

I’ve mentioned it before; I’m not a fan of developers asking their audience to buy a product before it’s ‘finished’. It doesn’t make the review process easy, either, putting it on me to judge an incomplete product that could make a turn for the better or for the worse after I’m done with it. Murder Miners (80 MSP) is an FPS that readily admits to being in Beta form. It makes everyone who plunks down the dollar (originally, and when I bought it, it was 240 MSP…) an unofficial tester, basically asking for our trust and money, in advance, to maybe (they’re under no obligation, after all) build a more complete game in the near future.

Enough with my pessimism though. The game aims to recreate the look and feel of the original Halo, albeit in block form a la Minecraft, with up to 20 players online. Why try to mimic one beloved franchise when you can mimic two beloved franchises, am I right? There’s a huge risk involved in this, besides the inevitable jeers for the lack of originality, as you’ll need to be pretty on point with your controls and and gameplay to pull it off. The remarkable thing, is that JForce Games has succeeded in doing just that, crossing the two series’ styles and coming out (relatively) clean on the other side.

Ignore the single-player for now, which consists of a woefully-done ‘Zombie’ mode. There’s too many at once, they move too fast, and hit too hard to be any kind of fun, solo or with friends. The best you can say for it is the Devs do plan on tweaking the whole thing to make it (conceivably) more tolerable, adding new maps to the list, and actual breaks between rounds to build fortifications and plan an attack.

Zombie? Looks more like the Nemesis from Resident Evil, with Road Runner-like speed and Edward Scissorhands. It’s unholy.

Multiplayer is your ticket to ride. For now, it offers up the standard ‘Deathmatch’ and ‘Team Deathmatch’ varieties, the aforementioned ‘zombies’, and ‘Design Mode’, that gives you and your friends carte blanche to modify any of the current levels or construct a whole new arena, using the aptly-titled miner gun. It constructs, and conveniently doubles as a powerful weapon when called upon. You’ll also get the usual suspects— shotgun, machine gun, sniper rifle, pistol (some of them even have alternate fire modes, press B). When enabled, the destructible / reconstructible environments not only look neat (each block reacts differently to damage), it can alter the playing field. There’s certainly enough maps (10+ in-game, with the option for unlimited ‘new’ levels via the editor) and block types that you’ll never want for new creative avenues, although there are plans to add on to the available tools and maybe a weapon or two.

So how does it play? Really well, to be honest. The controls feel great, the weapons deal damage in credible proportion, and the frame-rate rarely dips or sputters. It’s quite balanced and fun. Due to its crafting options, each match is almost an experience onto itself, with half the players gunning for kills, the other half constructing walls to shield / hide themselves, placing jump blocks to access higher recesses, or even amateur house construction; I stumbled upon a guy building his dream home in a forgotten wing of the level. Had to put him down (this is a shooter, you know), though his place looked nice. Good luck in the hostile housing market, buddy.

Don’t sleep on the pistol. It packs a punch.

There is some visual personalization, in that you’re able to customize your helmet type and armor coloring (guys, the Spider-Man thing is cute, but enough already), with the promise of additional helmets / armor to come. While the game doesn’t feature unlocks or a leveling system, I would like to see some persistent stat-tracking. At least a general K/D tally, but I’ll take more if the Devs are willing. Updates don’t look to be a problem.

As a beta for a Halo / Minecraft amalgamation that’s off to a running start in fun, with a glimpse at something greater, there’s no shortage of promise. You can lose hours to the game just in tinkering with the crafter, and even more thanks to the solid online play. I can’t review the future, but I can give you an enthusiastic interpretation of the present; Murder Miners is worth your MSP now, and worth your MSP to see where it goes, absolutely.

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12 thoughts on “REVIEW: Murder Miners”

  1. Best xblig ever.
    19 updates, which adds:
    Vehicules
    Weapons
    Loads of maps
    Bugs correction (duh)
    New players options
    New zombies options
    better graphics
    New games modes (murder the flag, infection, murder games)
    Time limits

    And much more.
    Plus, there is still a lot of people playing it, even after 3 years!
    Finally, map editor is so freaking great …

    Best xblig ever.

    1. Hard to argue with that… so I won’t. 🙂 Not my own personal favorite (despite my love of FPS), but it’s hard to find another Dev / XBLIG that’s gone to such lengths to keep their game (and its community) relevant.

  2. Wow the graphics are way better in the newer updates, these pics are way outdated in the newer updates they even have vehicles

    1. Something like fifteen total updates in the first year of the game, which is really impressive. I don’t recall another game on XBLIG that’s added and continued to support a product as much as the guys at JForce Games. Congrats to them and to all the players in the community that have made the game what it is. Awesome example of what a dedicated community can do.

  3. Active community is an understatement for murder miners. We’ve got league vs league matches and the devs listen to ideas to put in future updates. If you don’t have this game, buy it. NOW.

    1. Wow. I’ve kept an eye on their site to keep track of news, but I haven’t played the game since the second or third update. I’m continually surprised (pleased) to see the game maintain and continue to build its audience. The JForce guys deserve all the credit and all the purchases they get because of it.

  4. Stumbled across this and played the trial and found it extremely interesting. I just came online to see what others thought of it, and I’m glad to hear that there seems to be a glimmer of hope that the full version will have an active community. If nothing else, it’s only $1 and I’m sure I can convince others to get it.

    1. I had no problems finding a game when I wrote the review, close to a month after it released. The developers seem to be fully behind the game insofar as supporting it with updates and new content, so I’d say your dollar will get you quite a lot here. Both this and Avatar Laser Wars 2 -seem- to have lasting steam.

  5. Ha, ‘hostile housing market’.

    I completely ignored this game when it came out. My perception is that very multiplayer XBLIGs retain enough players to be worth bothering with, and the ‘Minecraft plus shooting’ angle did nothing for me at all. Still, the way you’ve described it has almost got me interested…

    1. You can search by match type or any available (although, curiously, you won’t know what kind of match until you enter), and there’s been an average of 6 to 7 games going each time I’ve logged on. I’d say it comes down to Halo. If you liked the overpowered pistols and sniper rifle feel from that, you’re going to be right at home in MM. If they do end up adding what they’ve got listed in the menu, this could be a very large community for a long time. If nothing else, it’s -another- excellent FPS option for XBLIG.

    2. I’ve never done well in Halo multi. My interest in the franchise as a whole has waned, yet I’m positive I’ll end up owning Halo 4. Unreal I’m competent at. Wanted to buy Nexuiz in the arcade when it released, similiar game. I doubt there’s much of a community there anymore.

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