April 26, 2010

It’s a dig, but it doesn’t involve aliens, like The Dig.

I once saw a link for an iPhone game on FurAffinity.

Now, I tend to have a sort of love/hate relationship for specific “furry” things. In general, I don’t feel like they’re needed. The subculture’s tastes are not so crazy for things outside of fetish sex that it really needs it’s own, say, music, for example. Yet, when I see these links for these “furry” music labels, I have to click on them and see. I have to attempt to figure out how the hell a music label could be that. I rarely find an answer, but it’s an interesting couple of minutes while I explore. (Most “furry” music tends to be chiptunes and electronica, by my research, if you care to know.)
In the same way, when I saw the ad for Mole: Quest for the Terracore Gem, I kind of had to see what it was about. Why would you make a game specifically for furries, and what would it be? It also helped that it was free when I picked it up. That also didn’t hurt.

Still, I suppose I got lucky. Mole is actually a pretty fun game, and if I had spent the 2 bucks it now costs, I probably wouldn’t feel gypped. It would be an easier recommendation at a buck, but it’s a solid bit of momentary distraction.

The easiest way to describe what this game is would be to compare it to Miner Dig Deep, but since that’s an XBLIG game nobody has probably played, it’s probably stupid to make that comparison. Basically, Mole is a casual game of risk/reward. You dig down as the Mole guy, and search for gems and minerals. You only have a certain amount of air, and if you pass out, you lose everything you collected during a run. If you return to the surface, then you bank all your gems and money, and can buy upgrades to your equipment, so you can go deeper. Then you do it all again, and keep repeating until you’ve upgraded enough, and unlocked enough elevator drills that you find during your trips, to dig all the way to the bottom and get the MacGuffincore Gem found there.

Controls are simple. Tap, and Mr. Mole Guy moves there. Walk over some goods, and he picks them up. You can tap on hard rock to bomb it open to get at the goodies inside. That’s basically it. The game is a race against time, but it rarely gets tense. You’re simply trying to maximize your profits per trip. A trip looks like it’s not going to get over 5 minutes or so, (I can get down through all but like two of the strata, and I have enough air for 3 at the moment, so I assume 5 after two more upgrades) making this fine for short bursts on the go when you’re bored. It’s music and podcast friendly, so if you just like having something to mess around with while you listen to such things, this is perfect for that too. It’s casual, relaxing, and non-stressful.

Basically, the fun comes from feeling a plan come together (If I circle down that way, I should still be able to make it back up in time, and I can get that big chunk of minerals I noticed over there) and from the progression. Slowly, but surely, you’re always making progression towards your goal, and that’s something that I can appreciate. Progress is only lost if you play it too risky, but even that doesn’t set you back too much. If you’re not holding back and grinding, you can almost always buy a new upgrade every one or two dives, so you’re always doing better and better. It’s that kind of progress which makes it fun, for me, anyway. I enjoy that sort of stuff. It’s why I played CoD4 multiplayer so much, for instance. It’s just enjoyable to see goals constantly being met. If that sounds like fun to you, then Mole might be a game for you.

As far as the “furry” nature goes, the two characters in the game, the Mole and the shopkeeper, are drawn as furries, but that is it. There’s no weird stuff. It’s really just a game with a couple of pictures that might not appeal to you. They made a little game, and decided that putting that spin on it would get them more purchases. Honestly, I do hope it works for them. Mole is a fine little game, and if appealing to the furry niche works, more power to them.

Yeah, so that was that experiment. It worked out well! Always nice when that happens.

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