Published on April 8th, 2013 | by Andy Astruc1
Money Shots: Mineral Cities
[Money Shots showcases (in our humble opinion) the best games currently asking for crowdfunding on Kickstarter, RocketHub and other sites across the internet. If you have a project you'd like see featured here, feel free to contact us!]
Space. The final frontier. Eventually. Space exploration is a a bit out of favour these days, but I assume — when humanity stops arguing about who has the most worthless paper, whether we can burn dirt as fuel forever and who can kill the most people for what superior, ideological reason — the idea of leaving our tiny, blue marble and wandering the universe will come back into fashion. Of course, then we have to deal with all the same rubbish, but we get to do it while wearing bubble helmets and toting guns that go “pew pew pew”. But what of the time after it all works out for the best? What is there to do when you’ve run out of space wars?
Build planet-spanning industrial cities, obviously. All the thrills and adrenaline-pumping action of factory management on Alpha Mumbai V, home of the Feldren slug spider and exotic dancers in whatever colours you desire. If you absolutely can’t wait thousands of years for your chance, Mineral Cities might tide you over.
Gareth Jenkins, the humble mind in charge, explains the game via the Kickstarter page:
Mineral Cities is hybrid city planner and RTS. The origami love child of Dune II and Sim City 2000. It’s all about placing buildings, planning where to place buildings and dealing with the consequences (good and bad, known and unknown) of your decisions.
The game seems simple enough on the surface: you are in charge of a planetoid and must place three different types of buildings on the surface to take advantage of natural mineral deposits. Different buildings collected in different combinations will yield unique results, and your mineral processing will be affected by the terrain, how long minerals take to replenish and various other factors. The game seems set up for a rather intriguing balancing act between expanding cities, managing cash and avoiding the greedy death of a planet’s resources.
Different planet types have been teased in updates by Jenkins, including one which utilises a fog-of-war mechanic which would add exploration as a priority. He’s also mentioned the prospect of multiplayer if the Kickstarter campaign is wildly successful: several players competing for finite resources in the same area.
I’m quite intrigued by the whole thing, particularly the idea of spherical maps and the fact that buildings can be overlapped to compound their effects. The whole thing is blanketed in a spiffy papercraft visual style, each planet appearing like a model you might see spinning off the ceiling of a 10-year-old boy. Jenkins does mention the possibility of 3D printed planets as physical backer perks, and I have to say I would hang such a thing in my living room no matter what the wife says.
In the wake of the SimCity debacle and the subsequent yawning stretch of the partially-slumbering management genre, Mineral Cities looks like something that could gain quite a following if given a chance. Jenkins plans to release the game as a downloadable title for PC, Mac and iOS, and has said he will look into Android if there’s sufficient interest and surplus funds. The campaign is currently sitting at £1,612, with a funding goal of £6,000 and 17 days to go. I’d suggest throwing this project a few simoleans if you’re a fan of the genre, because building cities in space is awesome. Also for other, more fiscally responsible reasons. Did I mention space?