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Bore Blasters' brilliantly silly arcade action finally combines the mining power of dwarves and helicopters

 A dwarf in a helicopter in Bore Blasters.
A dwarf in a helicopter in Bore Blasters.

You know where you never usually see helicopters? Underground. No idea why that is, but Bore Blasters is here to buck the trend.

Playing as a space dwarf (rock and stone!), your job in this arcadey roguelike shooter is to pioneer a bold new mining technique: shooting gold and gems out of the ground in your attack helicopter. Gather enough shiny stuff and you gain temporary upgrades to speed up the already frantic digging—from increased rate of fire and damage, to spinning axes that orbit you, to drills that periodically drop out of your helicopter to burrow shafts below you. Get to the bottom of the mine, and you're rewarded with a comically large treasure chest, unlocking new items for future delves.

Blasting apart a vein of ore in Bore Blasters.
Blasting apart a vein of ore in Bore Blasters.

It's all wonderfully satisfying. Blocks of earth come apart in little bursts of pixels as you pepper them with sprays of bullets, something always seems to be exploding, and an ever depleting fuel meter gives the game a brilliantly frantic pace. My favourite feature is your helicopter's special ability—when activated, it makes you fast and invincible for a short time, able to simply plow through blocks where normally crashing into them would be lethal. A generous cooldown timer ensures it's not just an occasional burst of endorphins, but a regular part of your strategy, allowing you to quickly collect large veins of gold or burst through hard-to-mine barriers after digging out the soft earth around them.

The game's loop is a simple but irresistible one— dig for gold until you find the big chest, use your loot to buy permanent buffs, head out to a new dig site for more gold. It's hardly a fresh concept, evoking everything from SteamWorld Dig to Minecraft to 2022's brilliant Dome Keeper, but Bore Blasters streamlines the idea and then sets it off at 100mph. Out in the field it's non-stop blasting until the level's done, which is only a few minutes, and then it takes less than 30 seconds to spend your gold back at base before you back out in it again. I don't know how much depth (ahem) there'll be in the final release, but as it stands it's got a spot-on one-more-go formula that I can definitely see turning "I've got 15 minutes to spare" into "Where did my evening go?".

If you too are cursed with the dragon sickness, you can go hunting for gold in Bore Blasters yourself right now—there's a free demo already available ahead of Steam NextFest.