I’m not sure if Portal Knights is quite what you’re after, but it ticks off your first two criteria. The mining is mostly about resource gathering, used to craft things, build a base and supplies (weapons, armor, potions, etc) to help you while you explore multiple “shards” connected by portals.
I personally enjoyed Portal Knights for being a game that let me build elaborate homes and such. (there are so many decorations to be found/gathered/purchased from NPCs.) It does have a main quest, and minor NPC side quests, but it’s really more about the gathering and exploring than anything else. But if the mining aspect of it must be front and center, it may not be what you want.
The most mining I ever did by far was in Ultima Online. Go find a server running the old 97-98 era skill gain rates and try to get to Grandmaster mining and smithing. If you do it on a proper pre-Trammel era server the sense of adventure will come from trying to avoid the player killers while mining. I recommend getting Grandmaster hiding while you’re at it ;)
Satisfactory and Factorio are excellent games, but I’m not sure they are in the spirit of what gingerturtle is going for. You aren’t going for secrets or treasure or mystery, you are going for ruthlessly optimizing your resource chains.
However, I also feel Fortresscraft Evolved doesn’t fit either, for the exact same reasons and it was actually mentioned in the list. If that meets the criteria, then I revoke my statement above about not applying and you should get one or both of these games ASAP.
I bought this game when I first got my Switch because everyone seemed to like it. Played the intro and it just seemed like another plat-former, so I wrote it off. After seeing it mentioned in this thread I went back to see if I was missing something and actually made it to the first town and into the mine. It’s quite fun, I’m really enjoying it. I had no idea there was more to it than the intro section, I was expecting more of the same. So thanks everyone who mentioned it.
Thank you all for the recommendations so far. I should clarify. Although I love mining some asteroids mining in space is not what I’m looking for here. It is missing the part where you have to clear a path, dig deeper etc. The topic should be underground mining. I should have mentioned this.
It’s a good one and it meets the criteria. I consider discovering new metal deep down to meet the second criterion.
Great! I had forgotten about it. It could be the one to play instead of FortressCraft Evolved.
It’s indeed a bit tempting. But then there’s just, well, gold to find. And it’s a bit too much on the ‘simulator’ side of things. Wishlisted nevertheless.
Interesting! It also led me to Dragon Quest Builders 2. Does anyboby have thoughts on the mining in that one?
It’s not the focus of the game, but I had some memorable times digging through underground caves in NMS. Might be worth trying out if you already have the game, but I wouldn’t buy the game for spelunking.
If underwater caves/exploration is an option you’d like, there’s also Subnautica.