As you’ve probably figured out by now, I love oddly themed video game levels. I always groan when the next video game world is ‘post-apocalyptic city’ or a ‘green and chipper field’. Sometimes I just want a city made out of toys or a giant amusment park. And one of the most creative and fun level themes out there is the mines. Ever since Donkey Kong was leaping across broken rails, video games have been obsessed with Mines. So put on your yellow hardhats and grab your pickaxe, these are the top 10 mines in gaming.


10-Dustbowl (Team Fortress 2)

Since the plot of Team Fortress 2 revolves around mining a strange ore called Australium, it’s a no-brainer that the game has many different mines for you to explore. My favorite is the map-wide Australium mine in Dustbowl. The interesting thing about this mine is that it isn’t the main drive of the map, however you can have some minor interactions with it.


9-World 4 Level 2 (Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards)

Kirby 64 is one of my favorite Kirby Games, and it’s mainly because of the level variety. One of these levels takes place in an old cave, where Kirby transforms into a mine cart. His Waddle Dee friend jumps inside of him, and this fun level begins. It’s kind of like an easier version of Donkey Kong Country, but it’s still entertaining to play.


8-Escape the Mines (Lego Indiana Jones)

Well, time to look at the sequence that probably inspired Donkey Kong Country. Yes, that’s right, the famous minecart scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. So when Lego Indiana Jones came around, the granddaddy decided to show the others how it’s done. It’s my favorite level in the entire Lego franchise, and it easily earns this spot.


7-Aquatic Mine (Sonic Adventure 2)

Aquatic Mine isn’t a very fun level to play, but it sure is a cool concept. This is an abandoned mine underneath Pumpkin Hill that was partially flooded at some point in time. And to top it all off, it’s haunted by multicolored ghosts. The level is just bustling with creativity, but if it was actually fun to play it would be higher up.


6-Secret Mine (Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon)

I’ve been playing a bunch of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. It’s a great game, with some fun worlds. One of my favorites is the Secret Mine, another haunted mine built underneath a small shack in the snowy mountains. But unlike the Aquatic Mine, this haunted mine is a blast to play through! Even though it is short, it was one of my favorite mansions in the game.


5-The Abandoned Mineshaft (Minecraft)

In a game about mining, of course there are a bunch of mines! However, you build most of the mines in minecraft. The only one pre-generated for you is this perilous dungeon that contains one of the most powerful enemies in the entire game, the Cave Spider. So entering the mineshaft is a bit of a risk, and the payoff is randomized. But if you find some good ores down there, it makes everything worth it.


4-Wario’s Gold Mine (Mario Kart Wii)

Wario’s a rich guy, that’s for sure. And if you wonder where he gets all of that gold, look no further. It turns out that Wario works his very own mine, and he can even race on it. Wario’s Gold Mine is one of the trickier tracks in Mario Kart Wii, but it’s also one of the most atmospheric tracks in the game as well. So if you’re looking for another no-rails track, look no further.


3-Glitter Gulch Mine (Banjo Tooie)

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “Oh yeah, here’s Xl9, raving about Banjo again.”, but I truly believe that the Banjo series has some of the best level theming of all time. Glitter Gulch Mine is a large mine underneath Isle o’ Hags that produces a shiny and rare substance called Glitter. It’s a fun level that has many different areas, including a mushroom cavern and a de-railed train.


2-Rickety Rails (Donkey Kong Country Returns)

When you think of video game mines, most likely you will first think of the minecart levels in the Donkey Kong Country series. My favorite Donkey Kong Country is Returns, so that’s the one I’ll be representing today. Rickety Rails is a mission that can be brutal on the first run, but the more you play it, the easier it gets. Conquering this mine feels like a real accomplishment, and it’s one of my favorite Donkey Kong levels ever.


1-Lanayru Mining Facility (The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword)


While Lanayru is certainly an odd Zelda dungeon, it is a damn fun one to play through. It’s a sci-fi mineshaft run by robots, but stuck in their limbo time-period. The puzzles are fun, the music is catchy, and the boss is pure bliss. Not only is this mine creative and fun, but it’s also important to the story! This is a mine that excavates Timeshift Stones, a substance that Hyrule Historia stated as being used to create the Ocarina of Time!