Do you have what it takes to help Mark the mole locate the elusive Terracore gem?  That's the question, really, in Roo Games' recent release Mole - Quest for the Terracore Gem! [App Store].

Mole is a game that, on the surface resembles classic Dig Dug, but is really a deeper game (sorry) that's much more about scoring up in order to better equip your character than simple arcade action. In Mole, you start off as a rather ill-equipped Mark the mole that can't do much beyond burrow about the top-most layer of the six-layer underground world that hides the fabled Terracore Gem (in the deepest layer, of course). While burrowing, you can pick up various precious metals and gems, and they can be used to up your gear in the equip shop -- and better gear is what really opens up the game. It's a gear-to-gameplay dynamic that's reminiscent of that in Hook Champ.

The aforementioned shop offers air tanks, pick axes, gem detectors, and the like for the player with enough metal. All of them help you on your quest, but the most important upgrade would have to be the air tanks, for, despite the occasional pockets of air that can be found in some (but not all) of the underground layers, you're not going to get very deep without some serious tankage. And the Terracore Gem lies deep.

The game offers very simplistic controls that work quite well; tap out some distance from your mole and he'll move there or just hold and drag in the direction you want to travel. The arrangement of on-screen indicators can be adjusted for left or right players, as well.

See the developer's gameplay video.

This is one of those games that delivers just a really nice balance between light playfield strategy (how deep should you go with your limited oxygen supply?) and asset allocation (how best to spend money in the shop?). If break-neck arcade action is what you're after, then Mole - Quest for the Terracore Gem! will disappoint, but for the gamer that can weigh risks and keep their eye on the goal, this one is a true hidden gem.

In honor of the Game Developers Conference 2010, Mole is free until Sunday, March 14th.

App Store Link: Mole - Quest for the Terracore Gem, Free (limited time, normally $1.99)

TouchArcade Rating

  • Robert

    It is an i dig it expedition clone

  • Robert

    It is an i dig it expedition clone

  • monster

    App store link is broken, but it is in the app store, downloading now

    and @Robert i dig expedition was a clone of motherload which was clone of digdug which was a clone of mining in rl =D
    so yea, you could probably consider it a clone of i dig, but that's a clone too...

    • Gates

      Dig Dug was a poor analogy. This is a hell of a lot closer to i dig it than Dig Dug.

  • monster

    App store link is broken, but it is in the app store, downloading now

    and @Robert i dig expedition was a clone of motherload which was clone of digdug which was a clone of mining in rl =D
    so yea, you could probably consider it a clone of i dig, but that's a clone too...

    • Gates

      Dig Dug was a poor analogy. This is a hell of a lot closer to i dig it than Dig Dug.

  • http://twitter.com/wilhelmr WilhelmR

    Been playing for a while, and i had no idea he was called mark LOL..

    Not a fan of the anthropomorphic look, but it's a cool little game, relaxing and addicting :)

  • http://twitter.com/wilhelmr WilhelmR

    Been playing for a while, and i had no idea he was called mark LOL..

    Not a fan of the anthropomorphic look, but it's a cool little game, relaxing and addicting :)

  • Gnintendo

    I'm having trouble downloading this from the US app store

  • Gnintendo

    I'm having trouble downloading this from the US app store

  • Robert

    @monster, got ya except for the dig dug link. Dig dug looks similar but has very different gameplay IMHO

  • Robert

    @monster, got ya except for the dig dug link. Dig dug looks similar but has very different gameplay IMHO

  • http://www.mobileitch.com koyut

    Game is okay. The one control I really dislike is how you place the bombs. No clear instructions to do that and the controls for it are clunky. All else kept me entertained for a while.

  • http://www.mobileitch.com koyut

    Game is okay. The one control I really dislike is how you place the bombs. No clear instructions to do that and the controls for it are clunky. All else kept me entertained for a while.

  • MisterDrgn

    I agree, it sounds a LOT like I Dig It. I'd want to hear how it compares to that, except for free I'll try it out anyway...

    • Artfoundry

      Yeah, I didn't really think Dig Dug was a good comparison either, other than the fact that you dig underground. It's definitely similar to I Dig It, but in one important way, I think this is better - it has a more tangible goal. In I Dig It, you simply collect enough stuff to get enough money to win. But in Mole, you have to find the big gem at the bottom. That's what kept me playing until I finished as opposed to I Dig It, which I gave up after trying the demo. And it still has other similar features (upgrades, collecting of stuff, air limitation). For free, you can't lose. Only thing is it's kinda short (I finished in about 3 hours or so), and not much replay factor. I do think I Dig It's graphics are nicer too, but Mole's aren't bad.

      • MisterDrgn

        I disagree. I found I Dig It a lot more satisfying because of all the subgoals you were trying to achieve. This game I've played for an hour, and it's basically done. I think the only thing I prefer about Mole is the basic control scheme--it's simpler and more streamlined.

  • MisterDrgn

    I agree, it sounds a LOT like I Dig It. I'd want to hear how it compares to that, except for free I'll try it out anyway...

    • Artfoundry

      Yeah, I didn't really think Dig Dug was a good comparison either, other than the fact that you dig underground. It's definitely similar to I Dig It, but in one important way, I think this is better - it has a more tangible goal. In I Dig It, you simply collect enough stuff to get enough money to win. But in Mole, you have to find the big gem at the bottom. That's what kept me playing until I finished as opposed to I Dig It, which I gave up after trying the demo. And it still has other similar features (upgrades, collecting of stuff, air limitation). For free, you can't lose. Only thing is it's kinda short (I finished in about 3 hours or so), and not much replay factor. I do think I Dig It's graphics are nicer too, but Mole's aren't bad.

      • MisterDrgn

        I disagree. I found I Dig It a lot more satisfying because of all the subgoals you were trying to achieve. This game I've played for an hour, and it's basically done. I think the only thing I prefer about Mole is the basic control scheme--it's simpler and more streamlined.

  • http://izbieractwo.pl radekg

    I don't know why I like all diging games. With Mole is the same :)

  • http://izbieractwo.pl radekg

    I don't know why I like all diging games. With Mole is the same :)

  • Lazyness

    Dig dug is a completely different genre... Only thing that's similar is the mining theme.
    I loled so hard at this review whenit said you'll have to think hard about allocating metals... You don't have to think, you can just close your eyes, spin your ipod, and touch it for a upgrade that'll help you. (only exception is the bomb ugrade, which is useless)
    imho, i dig it was a fail clone of the motherload game, and this is a even more fail clone of i dig it, since an already dug path doesn't let you travel faster, all you have to do is dig, and when your at like a minute left, dig back.

  • Lazyness

    Dig dug is a completely different genre... Only thing that\'s similar is the mining theme.
    I loled so hard at this review whenit said you\'ll have to think hard about allocating metals... You don\'t have to think, you can just close your eyes, spin your ipod, and touch it for a upgrade that\'ll help you. (only exception is the bomb ugrade, which is useless)
    imho, i dig it was a fail clone of the motherload game, and this is a even more fail clone of i dig it, since an already dug path doesn\'t let you travel faster, all you have to do is dig, and when your at like a minute left, dig back.

  • monster

    Just finished the game in little over an hour, was pretty boring really, but addicting. Don't be fooled by the upgrading and increasing amount of gems and metals: you're still doing exactly the same thing, except the numbers are different.

    Worth picking up whilst it's free, otherwise don't bother, unless it gets some kind of godlike update.

    • MisterDrgn

      Agreed. It feels a lot like I Dig It, but is massively lacking in depth.

    • Bob

      Aren't mining games meant to be boring.

  • monster

    Just finished the game in little over an hour, was pretty boring really, but addicting. Don't be fooled by the upgrading and increasing amount of gems and metals: you're still doing exactly the same thing, except the numbers are different.

    Worth picking up whilst it's free, otherwise don't bother, unless it gets some kind of godlike update.

    • MisterDrgn

      Agreed. It feels a lot like I Dig It, but is massively lacking in depth.

    • Bob

      Aren't mining games meant to be boring.

  • Soulis

    Not a bad game, for free at least. Like Monster says, wouldn't bother paying for it.
    There's an xbox arcade indie game called Miner Dig Deep that's basically the same game, but much much deeper (ha), that has gravity and persistence of your tunnels and things. If you like this and have a 360 then check that out, I think it's only $1-2 now.

  • Soulis

    Not a bad game, for free at least. Like Monster says, wouldn't bother paying for it.
    There's an xbox arcade indie game called Miner Dig Deep that's basically the same game, but much much deeper (ha), that has gravity and persistence of your tunnels and things. If you like this and have a 360 then check that out, I think it's only $1-2 now.