Last year, Adult Swim released a game called Super Mole Escape. The challenge? To steer a prison-breaking mole along a downwards journey to freedom. Last week saw the release of another vertical scroller by the name of Gold Diggers, and there's certainly some common ground between the two titles.
Your objective in this case is to simply burrow underground as far as you can, swiping left and right to hoover up gold, while avoiding the many and varied enemies and traps littered all around you. The drill moves downwards automatically, so all you need to worry about is controlling its position along the horizontal axis as it travels ever-deeper beneath the surface.
This drill is comprised of a handful of pieces, and each time you bump into a wall, collide with an enemy, or hit one of the fiery rotating underground traps, you'll lose one of those pieces. Mess up more than a few times and it's game over and back to the starting line for you.
In the early days, this happens all too often, and so you'll soon want to head over to the shop where a number of upgrades can be picked up in exchange for some of that hard-earned gold - sharper drills, powerful gold magnets, performance-boosting characters and so on. All in all, there's nothing particularly original about this area of the game, but it's fair to say there's everything you'd expect from this type of title.
The gameplay's all well and good - if a little unadventurous overall - but you will find yourself running into problems with what should be a very simple control system. There's a sense of disconnect between your finger swipes and the movement of the craft, meaning you'll crash "unfairly" more than a few times. The most comfortable way to make those swipes is at the bottom of the screen - but that's where the threat comes from so you end up obscuring what's about to get up close and personal.
These problems are redeemed somewhat by the impressive variety in the game's environments. At times you'll simply focus on survival as underground beasts race towards you, while elsewhere you'll have to switch between precarious minecart lanes to avoid plummeting to your death, or pick up temporary speed boosts to stay one step ahead of a gigantic worm chasing from the rear.
In other words, there's just enough that's good about Gold Diggers to overcome its occasional frustrations. It won't revolutionize the genre, but if you can overcome a few control niggles, there's a decent game to be enjoyed here that packs in all the gameplay staples we've come to expect from the genre.
What's Hot:A safe but enjoyable auto-scrolling game with plenty of power-ups to unlock, and a decent amount of environmental variety.
What's Not:A pretty unadventurous experience, and those sliding controls don't work quite as well as you suspect they should, and could.