The yawning abyss that leads to the womb of the earth, the clatter of metal pickaxes on stone, and the flickering torchlight keep absolute darkness at bay. For some this may seem like a nightmare, but for others it feels like home. Landmines are common in video games, from indie to triple-A titles, and are usually used as levels to fight.
Recently, however, mining (the act of digging underground to gather resources) has become a video game mechanic. There is something satisfying about digging, discovering, and using those discoveries to dig further. And these games capture that feeling best.
Updated by Christopher Padilla on May 22, 2023: Mining and caving seems to be a popular activity in the gaming world. We’ve added a few more titles that might pique your interest. Partly because it’s familiar, partly because it’s quite different, but it still captures the miner’s spirit.
Ten stardew valley
A charming little life sim, Stardew Valley is so beloved that it spawned an entire genre of games that combine farming, fishing, combat, socializing, and mining into a comprehensive experience.
The last part is the most important here. The game includes some mines and is skewed towards “mines as levels”, but there is still plenty of rock breaking and resource discovery worth going to. There are different mines that you can explore, and different biomes within mines that offer their own challenges and their own rewards.
Hydroneer is a more detailed take on the mining genre, with gameplay that involves mining valuable loot, refining what you find, selling the results, and using the money to buy better mining and refining equipment. Loops are the core. From the production line to the voxel world, I’m basically happy with Minecraft.
The action starts on the surface, digging and panning dirt to earn pennies, but eventually the operation digs deep and finds you in holes and tunnels in search of really lucrative loot.
8 wall world
In many ways, Wall World unfolds like a sideways dome keeper. Switch between mining resources to upgrade your base and defending against waves of enemies. However, the difference is significant.
Instead of a dome, your base is a robo-spider, a spider-tank hybrid that digs not one mine but several while climbing and descending an endless wall. The game is more of a roguelite than a roguelike, so even botched runs are rewarding as you improve the situation bit by bit.
Wall World has a little more story and lore, so it’s not the only resource to dig when trying to thrive in this vertical world.
7 core keeper
Core Keeper takes place almost entirely underground, exploring entire caves rather than mines. But if you cave anywhere, then anywhere you dig for resources can be a mine, right?
The game unfolds like Stardew Valley without social mechanics, all set in giant caves with different biomes to explore and bosses to fight. Despite being in early access, the auto-generated map for the entire game is pretty huge. Like those who have been in the cave for a while, you might forget what the sun is like if you try to do it all at once.
6 deep rock galactic
Rock and Stone! It’s probably the mining game with the most terrain-changing features outside of voxel-based games like Minecraft and 7 Days To Die. Deep Rock Galactic is a class-based looter shooter. Players put themselves in the shoes of a wild and ready dwarf, dropping underground on a hostile planet, completing their mining company objectives, and returning home to prepare for the next drop. .
It’s a satisfying mix of fighting monsters, completing objectives, and of course, mining. Dropping into a procedurally generated map gives you places to go and goals to complete, but how you get there is up to you. Sure, you can try to find a path that leads to your goal, but why would you do that when you can create your own? have the tools to traverse and reach their destination. The environment is also very fragile. Best of all, you’ll always have a reliable pickaxe with you.
You’re also not limited to missions, as you can collect all kinds of resources and take them home to use in all sorts of upgrades, from decorative to utilitarian.
Don’t let the color palette and breakout gameplay fool you. Terraria is much more than a 2D Minecraft clone. Sure, you’ll follow the familiar steps of digging, gathering, building, and strengthening your base, but things can quickly go off track, especially when you start summoning bosses.
The performance of the acquired equipment can also be quite wild. There are gadgets like the grappling hook to help you traverse, and big, epic and flashy weapons like the 21 in 1 Flying Bladefest and the Zenith to annihilate your enemies.
Four dome keeper
Dome Keeper is surprisingly zen for a game fighting alien hordes. It’s a simple experience, but it can take hours. Split your time between mining resources and lost tech, upgrading everything and defending your dome.
Despite its simplicity, there is a certain harmony that works well. Whether you lose your rhythm and the dome explodes into a glass shower, or you escape with relics and fame, it’s very easy to start over.
3 You Doug
A true arcade classic, Dig-Dug may be the oldest game in the “digging” genre. Unlike their successors, the goal is not to gather resources, but to inflict violence on various subterranean creatures.
Despite being an old game, the game had some forward-thinking concepts for its time. For example, using gravity to dig under rocks can cause rocks to fall and be crushed. However, it can also be used as a trap to crush your enemies if you strike at the right time.
2 Mine Craft
of course, We have Minecraft here. Why not? This game is a global phenomenon, and for good reason. It starts very easily. Get your hands on a fist and an open world to explore. Hit the wood, get the wood, craft the tools, and suddenly there’s a wide world at your fingertips.
You can dig the ground to obtain materials, upgrade your equipment, and build a base to protect yourself from roaming monsters. There are more places to explore once you’ve mastered your world. The experience can be as simple or as complex as you want, as redstone mechanics allow you to achieve truly impressive feats of electrical engineering. You can play alone or with friends. The possibilities are endless.
1 Seven Days to Die
The Fun Pimps’ zombie apocalypse simulator is a pretty extensive survival experience, but “mining” probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you boot up. In fact, if you play your cards correctly, you don’t need to do much more than surface-level mining to get your gear in top shape. After all, most of the goods can be scavenged from endless zombie-filled houses or as quest rewards.
But once you actually start mining, you’ll find 7DTD to be one of the most realistic mining experiences the game has to offer. Unlike other voxel games, blocks not only have weight, they can withstand weight. They can support weight above them (and to a lesser extent horizontally). If not properly supported, it can collapse with fatal consequences, especially when digging into Swiss cheese ground, destroying the entire tunnel system and turning it into an open pit.
You can strengthen the tunnel and keep it strengthened to ensure a stable tunnel. This is hardly a consideration in similar games. Plus, the rest of the game is also a lot of fun.
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