Review: CastleMiner Z

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The best selling Xbox Indie Game of all time is now available on Steam! CastleMiner Z is an online coop survival horror game in a block based environment. Travel with your friends in a huge, ever-changing world and craft modern weapons to defend yourself from dragons and the zombie horde!

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Pros:

  • It looks nice, Like a HD re skin of Minecraft. Get used to reading like Minecraft as its basically a different take on Minecraft.
  • Its Minecraft meets Zombie survival. You can craft, build structures and go spelunking. Big exception being you have a gun and all the enemies attack a lot more ferociously.
  • 360 pad support and is the preferred control choice, well actually its the only control choice.
  • Controls are a nice simple lay out, Very close to the Minecraft 360 control scheme.
  • Menu/UI is very clean and minimal. Every section is clearly marked and broken down for you.
  • Twitch is built in so you can stream your games with relative ease.
  • FaceBook integration that can post scores and more importantly the server details so your friends can join you.
  • Online and offline play available. Offline allows you to basically play all the same modes as online but solo, obviously.
  • Several different game types for you to play:
    • Endurance: Is a game mode that records how far you can travel before biting the dust. A clear marker up the top allows you to see your progress. In this mode you can still craft, kill enemies etc. From what I have seen, it will save progress in terms of pick ups until the game is completely shut down. Your health will regen when you are not in combat.
    • Survival: This mode sees you having to survive as long as possible, measured in days. Build a base and stock up on supplies and go for the record. Again a visual ticker up top will show you your progress.
    • Creative mode: Same as Minecraft, infinite resources and just a place to go to generally mess around. All actions are saved in this mode upon exiting. It does have one cool feature that Minecraft does not however. You can pause the game at any point and teleport! Yes teleport and you can either teleport to the start (initial spawn) or teleport to the surface if you are on a spelunky expedition.
    • Dragon Endurance: Must first be unlocked by killing the great undead dragon in endurance mode. Once unlocked you face off against waves of dragons so make sure to pack some serious fire power.
  • All modes except endurance and Dragon endurance allow you to turn enemies off and on and how strong a presence they have.
  • The HUD is not only used for displaying the various game modes stats, they also have the Minecraft style inventory bar at the bottom, and when you mine items or collect pick ups, you will get a description for it. Using a gun will show the name of the weapon.
  • Zombies and skeletons are a lot more aggressive than in Minecraft. They will come from the ground and have the ability to jump,swarm you and chase you down at lightening speed. Skeleton archers have deadly accuracy from great range so be aware. Enemies generally drop items upon death and decent items at that, like ores and hard to find blocks.
  • Traversing he land is made a lot easier than Minecraft, you do not need to jump up the block cliff face instead you climb up them as if they were a staircase, It makes it all feel a lot more streamlined.
  • You start with a gun,ammo,compass and a pick axe so you are always prepared.
  • Crafting is all done through the menu, simply press Y to view your inventory then press again to enter the crafting section. Simply find what you want to make and press a button.
  • Game play is fast frantic and at times nerve racking. The sound effects of groans or zombies charging you is quite brilliant. You can never really rest and you are never truly safe.
  • Steam achievements are included and the game also keeps track of them in game. If its an achievement like walk 2000 steps, the game will keep a rolling ticker in the menu.
  • Online is easy to setup and joining a game is just as easy, hit play online and you will be greeted with all available rooms with game type,current players and any special requirements.

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Cons:

  • No keyboard/mouse control support in game.
  • No video settings, not even AA,v-sync or resolution.
  • Not all menus have pad support and require a mouse to be used.
  • Zombies can kill you quite quickly especially as the shooting is very flaky and not very precise with earlier guns.
  • No crafting sections so its just a huge long list you have to scroll through.
  • Can be attacked whilst in crafting.
  • Once you have unlocked the dragon endurance, there really isnt anything else to do in endurance and could do with a huge amount of quests, missions.

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In Summary, Once you get over the Minecraft rip off/clone tag you will find a very good little game. Playing with friends is obviously a better way to enjoy it but that being said solo play is still solid if a bit more scary. The developer does seem to be listening to player feedback so a lot of the content worries could soon be a thing of the past. What you have know is still a huge amount, you will love the fact that you can make your own guns and ammo and even make golden guns. It all just runs a lot better than Minecraft and has a lot more speed and efficiency to it. You wont necessarily be doing huge long play throughs, instead having short fun filled bursts as you build a castle with your mates and defend from the vicious onslaught of enemies. The weather effects are brilliant with thunder and lightening screaming across the skies, the day night cycle is alot more involved than Minecraft with more crap kicking off at night than in Minecraft. If the game doesnt attract you now then maybe wait until a few updates have passed and make a fresh judgement.

Keep an eye out on our Youtube channel as we are looking to make a few video play through videos for a laugh.

Also this is how many times you can say Minecraft in a review that isnt for Minecraft.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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