DescriptionMiner Wars Arena is a fast-paced shooter inspired by Tunneler and also draws elements from Liero. The story sets it in 2081 where different human factions fight each other over the scarce resources on asteroids. The player controls a hovering ship with two main abilities: firing weapons and drilling through the environment to create passages. It can be played from a pure top-down view of a slightly tilted 3rd-person view with 2.5D graphics. The game is set in closed arenas where enemy units need to be taken out or structures need to be defended. Initially the starting position is enclosed and the ship needs to drill to create a path through the environment.
The main Tournament mode offers different matches that become increasingly difficult. Usually opponents need to be taken out, either alone or as a part of a computer-controlled team. Each unit has its own spawning position on the map and usually it is possible to die a certain amount of times. The remaining lives of the player's ship and the opponents is shown in the bottom left corner. The ship can be moved in any direction and can drill through rocks unless they are of the indestructible type. Drilling costs energy and when low it needs to be recharged at the starting platform. While moving about various arrows appear on the screen to show the direction of the starting platform, the location of power-ups hidden in the rocks in the environment, team mates and opponents, each with their own colour. There are three types of ships available with different statistics. When dead, it usually takes about five seconds to respawn and an indestructible shield is provided for a few seconds. Often ion storms appear in the arena. These electrical storms can destroy ships in a matter of seconds and need to be evaded. When near, a grain appears over the screen.
Hidden power-ups in the environment include additional speed, health, armor, ammo, or a shield, as well as five weapons: gatling, rocket, mine, laser and plasma. In later matches many weapons are already provided at the start, but in the beginning the gatling always is the default starting weapon. A status window in the top left corner displays the remaining ammo, the selected weapon, the engine level, the currently selected weapon, and the status of health, energy and the shield. The overall progress is tracked through experience points with 12 military ranks in total.
Next to the Tournament mode there are Skirmish matches where all parameters can be defined, such as the difficulty level, technology, number of ships, terrain type and size, and the victory conditions (lives, frags, points, or time). A Special Edition mode adds Survival as a new game type where a generator needs to be defended as long as possible. The game supports local multiplayer through a split-screen mode.
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