Thursday, February 13, 2014

Quarries of Scred (Game Review)

Normally I only review games written for Firefox OS here, but I ran across a game that I think is a type that could be adapted to Firefox OS without a lot of trouble. Games don't have to have elaborate graphics, they just need to be fun to play. Don't wait, get it today, only $3 Australian!, created by the mysterious Darkest Kale!

Quarries of Scred is fun to play but has graphics as primitive as you want. And takes you back into a history of the IBM PC graphics cards.

Do you miss that monochrome green screen?

I remember those screens and what a joy it was when you could finally get color. The first color screens for the IBM PC were CGA and they looked like this:

4 bits for a whopping 16 colors. But it was exciting back then, but we were eager for more!

Next came EGA!

Now you could have 16 colors at a time but chosen from a 64 color palatte with 4 bits, masking, and bit planes. Wow!!!

But we're in modern day and you may want more, so Quarries of Scred offers you 

Super Awesome mode indeed (probably VGA). Those colored balls positively glisten. Beautiful.

Here's what a typical screen looks like:

You are a tiny character at the top, on the left side just to the left of that green building. Along the top are a series of buildings that you can go to that will let you sell your ore, buy supplies, and eventually go home. By the way, in case you couldn't guess, this is a mining game and your job is to travel down into the mine and gather ore but don't get killed.

Here are the rules:

That's it. I could fault this, but this type of game is called a rogue-like because it is modeled after an old game called Rogue where the board is generated new every time you play. Also rogue-like has come to mean that if you die, the game is over, and it wouldn't be fun if they explained too much about the rules.

Your main danger are stones that can fall on you if you're not careful. Not just the stones above you that will fall on you when you remove dirt from between you and the stone above you, but also stones that are not supported on both side.

Some of the shops are fun (they're at the top):

Here's the Bum's Shop. Buy your mines and your mine layer here.

How about the drone shop?

And that all-important Terrence's Gem Refinery?

And who could forget Hiredhelp's Tech shop? You'll need that laser and batteries. Part of the fun is buying stuff and seeing how it works. The game is about getting all the gems and because the layout of each level is different each time, you'll need special tools to get some of the gems that are protected by dangerous stones.

When you finish the level, you leave from the Zep's Telepad!

Cash is easy to get, if you don't die. And you'll die a few times until you figure out some of the ways that those rocks can land on you.

Here's a few unauthorized tips:

1. You can push rocks sideways.

2. Gems aren't a stable place to put rocks on top of.

3. If you remove the wrong thing, a rock will come tumbling down!

4. Watch out! The quarries may not be uninhabited!

But the fun is trying it out and seeing what happens. You can compete for high scores every day with a new seed, so you can show your friends how good you are.

Why did I write about this game? Because the graphics are simple, but the game play is fun, and perfect for a phone. You can play a level in a few minutes. You don't need to do it exactly like Darkest Kale did it, but this game feels similar to Dig Dug and several other mining games. Dig, but don't let the rocks fall on your head.

So look at the game, think of lots of ways to do it differently, and make a game without worrying about graphics. Of course I like the retro look of a game like this, and even the silly Mono/CGA/EGA/VGA screens. But the game play is what this has, and I think it would make a cool phone game.

Thank you, Darkest Kale, for making a cool game!

Cost: $3 Australian
Genre: Mining
Score: 5 (out of 5)
Tested on: PC
Get it at: