AstroDriller3020 is a clever physics-based puzzler that eventually starts to feel a bit “samey.”
There’s money to be made in space, and the AstroDrillers are ready to grab a piece of that action. AstroDriller3020 doesn’t directly give you the task of mining gems from asteroids, but instead asks you to catch the precious materials that the drillers drop.
It’s a clever concept and provides hours of challenging play, with the ability to upgrade your moves and make life easier on yourself. Not that you’ll be finding it easy – the game gets really quite difficult over time and certain levels can cause a fair bit of frustration.
More than 90 levels, players are presented with rocks that need drilling and vacuum tubes to catch the gems down below. With two minutes on the clock, an AstroDriller moves back and forth along the top of the screen, and every so often a rock will chip off the asteroid and fall down the screen. Your job is to draw laser lines with your mouse for the rocks to grind along, and guide the different coloured crystals into the correct tubes.
Drawing the lines is simply a case of clicking and dragging with the mouse. As the rocks grind against the lines, the outer layers will begin to chip away, and with enough grinding you’ll be left with a shiny, priceless gem. As the gem lands in a vacuum tube, you’ll be awarded points based on how much of the rock has been grinded off.
The first half dozen levels slowly allow you to understand this concept fully, and soon you’ll be drawing lines all over the place and catching multiple rocks at once, sending your combo score sky-high.
Eventually, however, the difficulty is stepped up a notch with the inclusion of different coloured rocks and catchers. To keep your combo going and get a high enough score to progress, rocks must be caught in their appropriate tubes. At this point, the game gets really quite challenging, as you try to juggle different coloured rocks about and landing them in the correct vacuums.
The difficulty curve really hikes up, and for a good half an hour I was finding the going rather tough. Rocks are constantly dropping from the top of the screen, so your eyes need to be darting all over the place, making sure every gem falls into the correct tube. Initially the action can get somewhat frustrating, as rocks bounce off the rim of the tubes and fall into the wrong one. It’s taxing stuff, and pure focus is required to beat each level.
Give it a little time, however, and you’ll be filing those gems away like a pro. Clicking on rocks will give them a short burst of speed in the direction they’re currently moving, and this can be used to free up the screen a little and stop the various clusters that inevitably happen.
After a few hours the action starts to feel a bit too samey, as the general concept never really changes. Tubes change position and different colours are added to the mix, but it’s not necessarily enough to warrant further play. Your laser turrets can be upgraded to allow longer lines and stronger grinding power, but again it doesn’t exactly add much to the experience.
AstroDriller3020 is built around a clever concept that will keep you rock-sorting for a good few hours, but eventually you may succumb to the spiralling difficulty levels or simply get bored of the repetitive levels.