by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
To the mines
Trapped deep beneath the surface of the Earth, our hero wanders around the mines searching for treasure and valuable minerals. Mines have always been dangerous for their tendency to collapse at any moment. Life in Platformines is no less dangerous, although the danger stems from the local inhabitants and the environmental dangers that are ever present in the subterranean location. Your aim in Platformines is to complete a special digging machine known as a Robodig by collecting nine unique cannons which produce parts that make construction of the Robodig possible. Unfortunately, for our intrepid cannon collector, the pieces are scattered throughout far-flung sections of the mines.
In recent times, indie developers have come to embrace the nostalgia of the old-school platformers. And they have also embraced the pixellated style of graphics that accompanied them. Platformines is one such game, a game more about the gameplay than what it looks like. Indeed, it plays much like a Commander Keen or Rick Dangerous title of a bygone era, as your character runs, jumps and falls all over the large underground setting in a vain attempt to complete his marvellous creation, whilst preventing his (or her, let's not be sexist here) almost certain death.
Despite the pixellated visual style, Platformines is a heap of fun to play. You begin by selecting the 2D look of your character including hair style, facial features and clothing. Certain combinations will improve the stats of your character in a particular way. For example, a character with an Army helmet will incur less damage, whilst Spiky Hair will allow an extra jump and increased pistol damage. This headgear can be interchanged throughout the game as you collect different styles during your journey through the labyrinth.
Once you character has been customised, you'll get a short tutorial on how the controls work. There are two control options available, a controller or keyboard. I actually preferred the keyboard controls, as it kept up the nostalgia that the game had set with the gameplay and visuals. Key binding can be set to your own preferences, but the control scheme is quite basic anyway with the usual WASD controls for moving as well as a key for jumping, one for shooting and one for interacting with various elements in the game.
One of those elements are the portals. The map is quite large, but to save you from having to travel all the way from your home base to your required destination, you can access the plethora of portals. Unfortunately, you cannot go from one portal to the next, but instead have to head back to your home base first. Heading back home does have its advantages though, as it allows you to recover lost health (without using gems), visit the shop and even save your progress. Saving often is highly recommended, especially if you decide to play the game in short bursts. Your home base is also the home of your Robodig machine. Building the Robodig plays out a bit like a puzzle game, as you place the right pieces (with the help of each of nine special cannons) in their correct spots.
Nostalgia abounds with the graphics, gameplay and even audio
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