Murder Miners Review
Murder Miners is a first person shooting game from independent developer JForce Games for the Xbox 360. Like the other games I have reviewed, it is a mere 80 Microsoft Points ($1.) Graphically, it looks like Minecraft, everything is in block form. This game has some good customization, which is something I think every gamer loves. The first thing I did was change how my soldier looks.
The customization could be a little more in depth, but for an indie game, it works just fine. You can choose what style of helmet you want and then go through and change colors of various pieces of armor. The color choices are nice a varied with several shades, as opposed to say the Halo series where you get red, orange, or pink.
You can also customize the levels you play in two ways. Either build your own level or customize the map you are on while playing. This is covered in more depth under the description of the minergun in the Weapons section.
There are currently six game types available to play: Murdermatch, Team Murdermatch, Infection, Zombie Survival, Map Making Mode, and newly added Murder the Flag
- Murdermatch is essentially a free for all or every man for himself kind of game. You versus however many other people are in the room with you. You run around with your weapons and try to kill as many people and try not to get killed too often yourself. It is simple and straight forward.
- Team Murdermatch is like Murdermatch except… there are teams. Two teams going head to head and trying to kill more of the other team and reach the score limit. Another simple and straightforward type.
- Infection mixes things up a bit. Say there are ten players in the room. One person starts out as a zombie. You get claws for an attack and a secondary attack where you shoot your tongue out. If you hit a solid object, you’ll go flying towards that object which is very nice for getting around the level. If you hit another player, they’ll be forced to come to you and opened up for the killing. The other nine players are your typical soldier type, having access to whatever weapons the host allows. When a zombie kills a soldier, that player turns into a zombie as well. The infection keeps spreading and eventually it becomes all zombies versus one soldier. The game ends when a score limit is hit or all the players are zombies.
- Zombie Survival is a personal favorite, depending on the group you get. Most often it is a small group of people playing against a ton of computer controlled zombies. All you have to do is try to survive as long as you can. Zombies can take a bit of punishment and kill you in about three hits.
- Map Making mode is a bit confusing and seems to be mostly friends wanting to play with other friends. I tried a few times to join a game and ended up getting kicked out within five minutes. The one game where I actually did get to play for a little bit was interesting to say the least. The level is able to be completely transformed how you see fit. Using the mining gun, you can destroy or create blocks while you run around and try to kill other players.
- Murder the Flag is much like the widely favorite Capture the Flag, but with a bit of a twist. Instead of capturing the flag, you steal the other team’s flag and hold onto it for points while trying to keep the other team from having your flag. The main goal is to kill the opposing team’s flag carrier.
As for weapons, there are five to choose from. Four of them are standards for any first person shooter. You choose two weapons before you spawn; a pistol, machine gun, shotgun, and sniper rifle. The fifth weapon is the most interesting but also the most often disabled: the minergun. And of course, there is the classic grenade for some explosive power.
- The pistol is a staple of shooter games anywhere and everywhere. It’s normally either your default weapon or the first weapon you’ll find. Not many people use the pistol in Murder Miners, so there’s a bit of added humiliation if you kill someone with it.
- The machine gun is your basic assault rifle type of gun. You can either use it for normal rapid fire (controlled bursts are always recommended) or hold down the alternate fire button when you attack and discharge the entire magazine at once.
- The shotgun is my personal favorite for zombie matches. Nothing is so satisfying as blowing away a zombie just before it tries to kill you. The alternate fire will surround you in an opaque block signaling that you’re using camouflage.
- The sniper rifle is another classic, going for long range and power over speed of shooting. Of course you need to be accurate with it or it is useless to you. If you like taking out opponents before they even see you, this is the gun for you. If you’re more of a spray ‘n pray player, stick to the machine gun.
- The minergun is the most complex gun on this list. It is also the most commonly disabled for matches. The minergun fires lasers which can kill players, but that is the least interesting use of this gun. The best use is that it can modify the map. You can destroy terrain, you can build terrain, and you can pick what type and patterns you want. It’s a great strategy weapon. You could build a bunker to protect yourself from zombies or you could tunnel underneath someone and take them by surprise. It very much captures a Minecraft feel.
Murder Miners is a very fun game when you can play it. I personally have had a lot of issues with staying connected to games. I’m not certain how the servers are set up, if it’s one person hosting it, if it’s JForce hosting it on their own server, or if Microsoft lets indie companies use less efficient servers. I don’t know, I just play the games. Regardless, it does impact the enjoyment factor if you prefer to play with other people. If you’re more interested in designing your own levels and playing solo or split screen, by all means go for it.
Overall, I believe this game is worth the $1 price tag, despite the unstable servers, because being able to design your own levels is something a lot of people love to do. And with all the textures you can choose from, I think we could see some amazing things come from creative minds, much like the awesome things you see from people creating in Minecraft. As I said though, server instability is a big negative for people looking to play online, so I’m going to give Murder Miners a 6.5/10.
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