Friday, March 9, 2012

Bit Digger (XBLIG): "Voxel Based World Building On A Miniature Scale"

I've been doing XBLIG reviews for a while now. In the process of completing the 100+ reviews I've done here on my blog I have encountered quite a few 'MineCraft' clones. With that being said, I think that 'Scrabosoft (the developer) did an excellent job in simplifying the complexity of the voxel mining/building genre with their release of "Bit Digger". While "Bit Digger" is not as "in your face" as 'MineCraft (MC)', or any other MC clones it still offers highly creative building options. You will find plenty of different blocks with which you can construct whatever your heart desires. The miniature terrain on which this creative world unfolds could easily be compared to that of the terrain of strategy based RPGs such as 'Final Fantasy Tactics'. In fact that's the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the available terrain. As I did my playthrough of 'Bit Digger' I found the simple nature of it to be a relaxing departure from the hectic, and annoying games I usually find myself playing. I can honestly say that 'Bit Digger' may be small in appearance, but what it offers the gamer is much more grand in scale.

Many gamers who buy this XBLIG title are likely to pass by the description that is made available in the Xbox LIVE Marketplace listing. If you do opt to read the description as I always do when researching a new game then you'll find that the character that helps build your world within the game actually has a name. His name is "Dougal McTaggart (I hope I spelled that right)". It seems that Dougal is out seeking adventure, and is very interested in creating a world of his own. This is where you, the gamer step into the role. As the gamer/Dougal you start of with a randomly generated terrain that is composed of basic land, and that is surrounded by water. With this basic layout you can access, and utilize a decent variety of blocks with which you can build whatever you wish. Since this is a building game you also have a tool that can take away the blocks if you need to do so. This tool is simply a shovel. By switching between the usage of blocks, available items, and your shovel you can sculpt a world that can be as detailed as you like.

Bit Digger is presented in a visually simple manner with voxel graphics that are displayed in a miniature scale. I found that even Dougal was composed of these voxel building blocks. I wouldn't say that the graphics were the best I've seen, but they are good for what they are. Aside form the standard voxel graphics you'll find a single tune that plays in the background as you build. This music isn't a symphony by any means, but it offers a nice relaxing ambiance that suits the gameplay at hand. As far as the controls are concerned they are very simple to pick up on, and are easy enough to understand even for the younger gamers out there. You'll basically switch between using blocks, and using your shovel with the (X, Y, B, A) buttons. It's easy to switch between the building tools very quickly as you are constructing your creations. Choosing the block types, and items (mushroom, animals, fences ...) can be done by accessing the block menu via the (Right Bumper). The rules for building things are basically the same as those you'd find within 'MineCraft', or a game similar to that. The sky is the limit with this 'Bit Digger', so you can create to your hearts content. You can even share your creations with your friends with the photo option within the game.

In conclusion I think 'Bit Digger' is a neat voxel building title that simplifies the genre in more ways than one. You could literally spend hours creating masterpieces, or take your time building on the same project using the save function that's found in the game. It was actually nice to play a game that didn't aggravate me in some way. With a game like 'Bit Digger' you don't have to worry about the issues that plague online gaming. In that sense it is a sort of zen game that offers a peaceful break from such stressful gaming encounters. As I did my playthrough of 'Bit Digger' I did find one small flaw. I had issues positioning Dougal in the appropriate place at times, because his movements weren't accurate all the time. They were sort of hit, or miss. With that being said I still think 'Bit Digger' is a game that's worth it's asking price. If you are a fan of 'MineCraft', and are looking for something a little different in the genre then this will likely impress you. The simple mechanics that make up 'Bit Digger' also make it an easily enjoyable game.

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