Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome enough to keep you busy until Monday, at least.
I Dig It ($0.99, iPhone) and I Dig It HD ($$6.99, iPad) adds an element of strategy to the classic arcade game Dig Dug. Here you manage a digging machine that sets out into a variety of different locations to mine for various minerals and other artifacts — only this time it is up to you to enhance your digger and keep it operational as you go.
The overarching strategy element of the game is that the digging machine you operate is not very reliable. The deeper you go, the hotter it gets and your digging machine may overheat. If you are not careful as you maneuver around the mine, your hull may get damaged beyond repair. In the ocean environment, not only can you run out of air, but it just may be the pressure of the deep that will end your campaign. Not to mention the fact that you also need to keep your machine well stocked with fuel. The digging machine is controlled by a simple virtual joystick: Up, down, left and right. There are obstacles that can get in your way, but they are easily removed with dynamite. What adds an element of planning to the overall strategy of maintaining a well equipped digging machine is that you need to continuously maintain a quick exit to the surface. So sometimes just going straight for the gold will mean you run out of fuel and are stranded at the bottom of the mine.
To make things a little easier, the digging machine can be upgraded by spending the money you earn cashing in the various elements and treasure you bring to the surface. You can purchase a better drill, increase the capacity of your fuel tank or even enlarge your cargo bay. But sometimes this can be counterproductive. How you spend your hard-earned cash can best be determined by the goal of a particular campaign. Purchasing an unnecessary upgrade late in a campaign may prevent you from reaching the financial goal that was set in the beginning.
There are five unique locations you can choose to dig in, a Midwestern farm, the Antarctic tundra, South American Amazon, the South Asian ocean and an Eastern European cavern. There is a campaign mode where each level has a specific challenge for you to accomplish: some are to reach a dollar amount within a time limit while another example is to fuel your digging machine using natural gas within the mine to raise funds to fix the fuel pumping station.
The HD version of the game designed for the iPad(s AAPL) also adds the ability to create your own levels. You can choose which location you want to create a level in, set the goals of the mission, and place obstacles and treasure around the mine as you see fit. Once complete, you can play the level yourself, or e-mail it to a friend to see if they are up to the challenge. There are three additional levels you can download, but the real fun comes in creating uniques challenges of your own.