Racing down a mine's railway track with your precious cargo bouncing around in the carts dragging behind you is the kind of activity you can only pull off in a game. Apart from the horrendous implications to the operation's bottom line, plowing face-first into the ground during an unfortunate derailing is sure to provide a one-way ticket ride to somewhere else. In this game that happens too... but your only penance is to tap the [R] button. That and a case of slowly-rising blood pressure in developer AntKarlov's gravity-bound physics arcade game Mining Truck 2.
Calling a game bad for your health might sound like a negative quality, but it's not (unless, of course, you count your health into the equation). In the case of a game that loves physics, frustration is often part of the deal, because success is brought upon by being patient, accurate and learning to love gravity's unpredictable ways. Control your truck with the [arrow] keys; [up] accelerates while [down] puts on the brakes, and [left] and [right] are used to help balance. The [spacebar] drops your goods onto the back of your truck.
Each of the ten mines have three objectives to achieve; get to the end within a specified time, deliver certain types of goods, crash your carts, make a required number of coins, etc. The coins are the real means to an end here, used to upgrade the aspects of your mine truck. Power, traction, stronger cart links and different types of carts are all bought with coins, paid out for the goods you manage to deliver as well as from the time left once you complete a level. Coins balance the game: you can access the later levels once you buy a certain type of cart, while the coins to buy it with are made every time you finish a level. Achieving objectives lead indirectly to a lot more money, but if you are extremely patient you'll be able to afford the full ensemble of upgrades.
Analysis: Mining Truck 2 at first looks like the kind of game where you have to race along a track as fast as possible, all while maintaining your center of balance. It does this to some degree; at higher speeds your engine cart does bounce around and leave the ground at the end of inclines, while some tricky parts require a bit of balancing. But that's only one side to the challenge. The second, harder part is carrying goods. Behind your engine dangle trailers, differing depending on the type of load you have to bear. Crates, logs, bags, minerals and (beady-looking) oil make up the spectrum of items. Naturally your employers are cheap (they did hire one idiot who will race a mining convoy, instead of getting a few slow but reliable drivers), so you don't get to tie your goods down either.
The real appeal, apart from the upgrades, lies in nailing the objectives, as well as finding the treasure chest on each level. Chests give out awards, from the useless (a car horn) to the indispensable (protective helmet) and advantageous (turbo boost). To reach the objectives, you will eventually need some of the upgrades. Some challenges in Mine Truck 2 require a dose of patience and a good knowledge of the level (since multiple paths feature almost in all of them). Fortunately the quaint soundtrack and exceptional graphics give it the kind of window dressing that turns a cold place cozy. There are moments of frustration, especially scenes involving the sometimes-inept cranes, but that's all part of the physics game experience anyway. In other words, take it with a pinch of salt. The taste of success is worth it.