Mining games are growing ever more popular, and for some weird reason I'm happy that they are. They have little purpose beyond mindless expansion and upgrading, and they're seldom challenging at all - but, yeah, I like the things. Consequently, I like Boom Town. Let's just get that outta the way right now.
Boom Town is a wild-west-gold-rush-meets-the-modern-age kinda game. You play as a mining company that's set on collecting gold ore from a mountain range. Doing so allows you to build up a store of cash for upgrading your mining vehicle and buying more explosives. Money also allows you to buy buildings, which will attract settlers and, ultimately, more money.
End result? You have a digging game, minus the digging (it's a bird's eye view map rather than a layered map), plus a SimCity Lite venture tacked on the side. Neither part of the game is particularly tricky, but smashed together they create a fairly engrossing experience.
Most of Boom Town requires a mouse. Easy enough to manage. Whenever you want to steer your vehicle you have to use the arrow keys, however, and this mode is... perfectly fine. It can be tricky squeezing the bulky dump truck between obstacles, but this is a very minor complaint.
Boom Town's visuals are equal parts excellent and meh. The menus of the game are all quite engaging: each option has its own little picture, some of which are animated, and all of which are nicely detailed and vibrant.
The map is much less exciting, unfortunately, and the buildings that spring up in your burgeoning community never quite come to life like a real town. SimCity Lite, yes, but without any of the feeling of population. Naturally-emerging roads and tiny people wandering around would really spruce up the map.
Boom Town relies on one track, constantly repeated, for its background music. That one track almost manages to save the audio portion of this review, as it's lively, mildly addictive, and perfectly suited to the setting. Buuuuuut, given that Boom Town can take a couple hours to fully play, it gets old.
The only true way to fail Boom Town is to not invest any money in a town. The moment you set down any sort of tavern you'll begin earning money, and you can then use that money to buy explosives. Even poor explosive placement will still usually yield enough cash to buy more explosives. Long story short, Boom Town is not a game for players who want an extreme challenge. It's a relaxing upgrade-fest that's unlikely to REALLY go wrong at any point.
There. That right there. That's the most dire warning you're ever likely to get. And it's no big deal. Shrug?
Boom Town ain't bad. Good tune, decent graphics, good concept. The ingredients won't enthrall players forever, but the overall package should prove an more-than-adequate time waster. This is a good game for playing in front of the TV or while watching a movie.