Mines of Dalarnia is a combo 2D platformer and blockchain real-estate game from the makers of Chromia network. It is currently playable in an early alpha version.
Mines of Dalarnia shares many similarities with games like Dig Dug and Steamworld Dig, but features an upgradeable equipment system and levels that can be traded between players.
We've tried out the Mines of Dalarnia alpha to see how it plays. And in this article, we'll tell you everything you need to know to decide whether this game is worth testing and eventually, playing.
We'll explain resources, equipment upgrades, land ownership, and more.
Mines of Dalarnia 2D Mining
At its most basic level, Mines of Dalarnia is a 2D platform mining game. You control a miner on a distant planet. You must dig deep into the planet's crust to extract valuable resources. The more resources you dig up, the richer you become.
But your oxygen is limited. If your character runs out of oxygen, it dies. If it dies, a percentage of resources mined during the session is lost.
The resources mined in these play sessions can be used to upgrade equipment, allowing your character to progress to more dangerous planets with more rare resources.
The character can be controlled using WASD. “W” jumps, while the spacebar swings the pickaxe.
Pushing a directional key while pressing the spacebar causes the pickaxe to be swung in that direction. For example, pushing “S” and hitting the spacebar repeatedly will cause you to dig further down below the planet's surface.
There are 20 different resources available in the current build of Mines of Dalarnia. Some of these are available by default, while others must be discovered through play.
The game manual describes scrap as “an assortment of junk and debris.” It is the most abundant material in the game. Many early upgrades require scrap as their only ingredient.
Falun copper is a “tier 2” mineral. It is less abundant than scrap, but more abundant than silver nuggets. Once you've upgraded all of your equipment past the first rank, small amounts of Falun copper may be necessary for higher rank upgrades.
Iron ore is a tier 2 mineral that is similar to Falunn copper in terms of abundance. Like Falun copper, small amounts of iron ore are sometimes needed in rank 2 equipment upgrades
Saganite crystal is a “tier 3” mineral. It is described in the manual as “A crystal made up of multi-colored shards.” It is less abundant than Falun copper and iron ore.
As equipment progresses to rank 2 and 3, saganite crystals may be needed for further upgrades.
Silver nugget is a tier 3 mineral. It is often needed for upgrades past ranks 2 and 3.
In testing, we were only able to see names for the 5 resources listed above. But other players may get different starting resources than we did.
Regardless, there are 15 other resources available in the current build. Many of these are extremely rare and found on harsher planets the player does not begin the game with.
These additional planets must be rented from other players or bought from the developer.
To be shown the names of these resources, the player must collect a sample and analyze it.
As you mine resources, you gain the ability to upgrade equipment. Each upgrade gives you an advantage in subsequent mining sessions.
Here is a list of the equipment you begin the game with.
Your pickaxe is your most basic tool and weapon. Upgrading this allows you to break lower-level blocks with fewer swings and deal more damage to enemies.
It also allows you to break some higher-level blocks that would otherwise be impervious to your attacks.
Upgrading your backpack allows you to hold more items in it, increasing the amount of resources you can accumulate before needing to find a teleporter.
Upgrading your boots allows you to jump higher by pushing the spacebar repeatedly.
Your oxygen rank determines how long you can stay below the planet's surface before running out of breath. Higher oxygen ranks allow you to continue mining for longer periods of time – increasing the loot you can bring back.
Oxygen is only used on basic, Terran planets. On ice or lava planets, antifreeze or heat sink is used instead.
Your health is simply the amount of damage your character can take before dying. Upgrading your health allows you to survive fights with more enemies.
Some of the equipment slots are locked by default. In order to obtain a piece of locked equipment, you must collect enough resources to craft a rank 1 version of it.
Heat sink protects you on lava planets. When you are on a lava planet and your heat sink depletes, you die. Upgrading your heat sink gives you more time per session to mine a lava planet.
Antifreeze is used to protect you from cold while mining on an ice planet. If your antifreeze is close to running out, you'll need to find a teleporter quickly.
Upgrading your antifreeze helps to alleviate this problem.
Canar-E is the trusted sidekick of every responsible miner. In ancient times, miners employed biological canaries to alert them to unsafe conditions. But today, they use robot Canar-Es for this task.
These robots don't die if conditions are unsafe. Instead, they chirp incessantly so that you will be aware of the danger.
Higher ranked Canar-Es are capable of warning you of a greater variety of dangers.
The drill increases the speed of your digging.
If enemies are getting in your way, you don't have to swing your pickaxe at them. You can just throw a bomb instead. Higher ranked bombs do more damage and have cooler-looking cosmetic effects.
In addition to upgrading equipment, you can also craft these items to use on your next mining expedition.
In an emergency, this can be used to end the session and escape with all of your loot. This is useful in those times when you suddenly realize your oxygen or antifreeze is about to run out.
If you're almost out of health, you can take this medicine to get yourself back into shape.
There are 5 refineries that can be built on each plot of land or game level; one each for copper, bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. A plot needs to have at least one refinery in order to be rented out.
When a refinery is upgraded, it increases the plot's yield of the particular mineral being refined. For example, upgrading a game level's platinum refinery will increase the amount of platinum found in that game level.
Land ownership and economy
Each 2D level in Mines of Dalarnia is a randomly generated collectible called a plot of land.
Each time a player mines on a plot of land, the layout for the level will be the same. Only the resources and enemies will spawn in random locations.
Each plot of land carries different probabilities for resources to spawn. It is extremely unlikely for any two plots of land to have the same probabilities for resources.
Players can buy plots from the developer in exchange for CHR, the native token of the Chromia blockchain. There are always 5 randomly-generated plots available in the store.
Price is determined by a formula that includes the rarity of resources, difficulty of enemies, and other factors. In our testing, we found that prices range from 19 CHR (approx. $0.45) to 90 CHR (approx. $2.13).
If a plot doesn't sell within 3 days, it is destroyed, and a new one is generated to replace it.
Players who own a plot of land can mine it at no additional cost.
Players who don't want to own plots of land can rent them from other players instead. In order for the owner to lease his land out, he needs to place at least 1 refinery on it.
Players who want to rent land can find it by clicking market → rent from the main menu.
Each rental allows the player to mine the land 1 time.
Once a plot of land has been mined 20 times, it can no longer be rented out. So owners should make sure they price their leases with this in mind.
Mines of Dalarnia Review
We played Mines of Dalarnia Alpha long enough to unlock all equipment and get our starting equipment to rank 2.
We found that the game appears to be in a very early stage of development – too early to give much of a review.
The equipment progression and land-rental system in Mines of Dalarnia presents the skeleton of what may end up being an extremely compelling game in the future.
But there is not much of a challenge to the game in the current build. Players can mine the “free-play” level as many times as they want. And there is no meaningful penalty for death.
This is probably because the developers are relying on the limit of 20 plays per rental plot to create a monetary cost for players that infinitely grind. This may make later stages of progress more interesting.
On the other hand, it may also encourage players to buy land and farm it endlessly, so as to avoid the 20-plays rule.
Still, this is just an early alpha build. Balancing a game so that it will be challenging rather than frustrating is one of the most difficult parts of game design. So the developers will probably make many changes to these aspects of Mines of Dalarnia over time.
Overall, we think many players who like classic 2D platformers may enjoy trying out Mines of Dalarnia. And the game is likely to get better over time – especially if more people playtest it and provide feedback to the developers.
Players who wish to playtest the current build can do so here. When the main menu opens, click login in the upper-right to set up an account.
We'll be watching this game as it develops. And we'll update this page with new information as features are added.