But I’m going to add a little bit more here, a Quarries anecdote from the weekend. Minor mechanical spoilers.
Just before a bit of writing on a game goes live, you’ll usually find me engrossed in intensive play sessions. Normally when I’ve written about a game, I know I have nothing else to say about it and have to move on to a new muse.
Sunday evening was that night for Quarries of Scred. Concerned that I might never play it again, nor get better at it for that matter, I kept trying to beat it with a high score, again and again. One of these attempts was really interesting and lasted longer than twenty minutes.
The session began and, with dismay, I saw mushrooms. Usually when I see mushrooms my instinct is to restart the game. What I knew about mushrooms was (a) they grow and (b) you can’t dig through them. This means you have to grab the gems quickly before the mushrooms usurp the room.
Against my better judgement, I continued playing this time. Once I’d excavated as much as I could from this cave, I headed into the cave to the right and left the spreading mushrooms behind. Now I was building up a healthy cash balance and, once I’m a little flush, I usually buy myself a nice mine layer with a selection of mines. It’s usually impossible to go in the lower levels without blowing something up and the bigger bucks are down there.
So I went back to the starting cave and frowned some more. The mushrooms had emerged above ground and blocked the space between the dirt refinery and the drone shop. I couldn’t buy a mine layer! It was on the other side of the mushrooms. That wasn’t all: the teleporter was also on the other side. It wouldn’t be possible to finish the game successfully.
What did I do? Well, I bought a drone as a backup life and headed into the lower caves. The only chance to finish this game would be to tunnel down and around the mushroom cave then come up the other side. But without a mine layer it’s dicey whether you can go down. Fortunately, I was blessed this day.
I didn’t come across anything weird but it was a very scary experience, wondering if I had merely postponed a bad ending. I kept pushing through the caves and, at some point, the drone got used – I don’t recall exactly how.
When I came back up to the surface cave on the other side of the mushroom-infested cave, I was shocked to find mushrooms in this cave as well. I panicked and raced to the surface to buy a laser – I had acquired quite a lot of batteries by now. After the purchase, I headed back down into the mushroom field and proceeded to blow it away, bit by bit. This was a lot harder than I had been expecting. As soon as I blasted away a slice of mushrooms, they grew back just a second later.
I fought the mushrooms with all my might and, incredibly I whittled them down to just a few mushrooms. One more blast would eliminate the fungal menace in this cave. I clicked L to fire the laser one last time… and nothing happened.
Turns out, right on the final blow, I had run out of batteries. Total major panic and I hightailed it back to the shop on the surface to buy a mine layer, thinking it might be more effective than the laser. Well, that didn’t turn out to be the right decision. I exhausted my reservoir of mines twice and had to top up, but it seemed hopeless. The mushrooms were much faster my mines. I could never wipe them out.
I was running around, now, at quite high speed which is a pretty dangerous thing to do and… and then it happened. The mistake. Crushed by a rock. Oh the pain of that death! I’d even collected six chunks of Songlasia as well, which only gets compiled into your score if you leave the quarries in one piece. It had been shaping up to the best run I’d ever done.
Alas, it was not to be. But damn it was fun.