As a fan of games like Motherload and SteamWorld Dig, I really hoped Mining Mechs would be a fun addition to that mini-genre. The premise is typically to mine for resources, sell them, upgrade, and then mine even further down. However, it needs to be more than just that concept to stay interesting. This is where Mining Mechs falls short but isn’t unfixable.
It took me around eight hours to beat Mining Mechs and unfortunately, I think this is too long for the grind that it requires you to do. While it starts out decent with the premise I mentioned, it quickly switches to a slow grind without much motivation. As a $3 game, you can only expect so much. But, it’s tough to recommend when it becomes painful to complete.
Within my first two hours, I enjoyed digging down for resources to try and unlock new mechs. While I knew certain ore types would take longer to drill, it always felt worth it to get some extra money. In the hopes that I could afford drilling power upgrades or to hold more ore and dirt.
There’s nothing more annoying than getting into a flow mining, suddenly hitting your limit, and having to return. However, this creates a gameplay loop that makes sense. You can’t just dig forever. Plus, you have a chance of running into new side quests when returning to different NPCs.
But again, Mining Mechs shoots itself in the foot by not giving the few available characters enough personality. I don’t know why something as simple as giving each character a name wasn’t considered. Unfortunately, between nameless NPCs and scarce dialogue, Mining Mechs ends up with a shallow story.
Those first couple of hours reeled me in with the hope that it was leading somewhere interesting. As I got deeper underground, the area started shaking and even an unknown character started talking to me. This felt like the beginning of fascinating that could build and continue motivating me to dig.
Instead, I just kept getting a tiny bit of dialogue every 100 blocks or so telling me to dig deeper. The developer never gave that unknown character a chance to develop. Which unfortunately led to a disappointing climax when they finally gave me a little bit of plot.
I wouldn’t have faulted Mining Mechs for a mediocre story with cringey humor, but that’s all it really had to push me forward. If the developer shortened the length of the game by giving you more money for upgrades, this probably wouldn’t be as much of a problem.
The issue is that it drags so slowly because you don’t get enough money for upgrades and then it takes forever to drill blocks. And in the end, this hurts everything that Mining Mechs has to offer. I eventually muted the music because I started to get sick of hearing the same few songs constantly playing.
Due to how slow money trickles in, you’re often stuck with mechs that aren’t powerful enough for the area you’re mining. I counted it out a few times where it took anywhere from 9 to 11 seconds to mine a block. That’s one individual block. Imagine having to drill a few hundred blocks at that speed. It’s unbearable.
This leads to how upgrading mechs for more drilling power also feels bad. Every mech has a limited amount of upgrade slots that you can pump money into. So once you’re done with one mech, you’ll have to get a large chunk of money for the next one. And hopefully that mech has more upgrade slots for what you want. Such as drilling power or inventory space.
The issue with this is that when you unlock a new mech, it’s weaker than the previous upgraded one. To the point that it may as well be useless until you buy enough upgrades for your new mech by using the original one. This prevents any progression from feeling rewarding.
Mining Mechs | Closing Thoughts
It’s clear that Mining Mechs has the potential to be a fun cheap game especially with multiplayer available. However, it falls short in so many areas due to the aggressive grind. At best, I can say the developer is active in the Steam forums and is trying to balance the grind better. So while it was a bit of a disaster for me, hopefully it will be better for people later.
Review Score: 5/10
Mining Mechs was provided by the developer via a Steam code.
Jeff is a journalist with over 10 years of experience writing, streaming, and making content about video games. With an associate degree in journalism, he’s a sucker for RPGs, survival games, roguelikes, and more.