For those unfamiliar, the original Miner 2049er is a platform game that was highly popular in the early ’80s home computer scene. (See Owen Linzmayer’s February 1983 Creative Computing review.) Released in 1982 by Bill Hogue through Big Five Software, the game puts you in the shoes of Bounty Bob on a mission to search through Nuclear Ned’s abandoned uranium mines in search for the elusive Yukon Yohan. The treacherous mines, fraught with ladders, chutes and hydraulic scaffolds — not to mention the radioactive creatures that roam the levels — must be cleared by walking over every section of the platforms. There are 10 levels in all, which was quite a few, for its day. Miner 2049er was the inspiration for Matthew Smith’s Manic Miner.
Magmic released a licensed, updated mobile version of the game in 2007, which received an IGN Editor’s Choice Award and won the Best Revival category in the Best Of 2007 IGN awards. It features both a Classic mode with graphics similar to the Atari 800 original, as well as a vertically-scrolling Modern mode with new, rather more detailed visuals along with certain new twists, like an elevator fashioned from a girder dangling from a crane. Miner 2049er for iOS is an adaptation of that release, featuring tilt controls as well as several types of multitouch options.
The game plays pretty much as you may remember it — both in the Classic and Modern versions — but with iOS controls, and there you have a number of options. The default control mode is tilt, which can be switched over to a touch-to-go-there mode or a joystick-left or joystick-right mode. The controls work about as you’d expect, but I find joystick-left to work best. Magmic indicates that a soon to be released update will tweak controls a bit and make joystick-left the default control mode. An additional 20 levels “at-least" will be coming in an update for users who have purchased the level pack, as well.
Unfortunately, I experienced a bug on my iPhone 4S test device that Magmic hadn’t yet seen reported: at the App Store password prompt to buy the additional levels, the keyboard would not pop-up, leaving me unable to do so on that device. It worked fine on the iPad 2, however. It’s unclear right now whether this is a 4S-specific issue but, at any rate, the folks at Magmic say they will look into it right away.
For fans of the original, Miner 2049er is an instant grab. But, then, it’s free — so it can’t hurt to check it out if you’re remotely intrigued. As mentioned, some things about the game are a bit shaky right now, but I feel that they will be worked out in short order, based largely on how responsive the folks at Magmic have been to my inquiries.