At first glance, MouseCraft reminds players of two classic puzzle games: Tetris and Lemmings. The pieces are there on a superficial level. Three mice walk blindly forward under a specific set of rules; meanwhile, the player rotates and places tetrominoes to aid in reaching the goals.
That is where the similarities end. The mice themselves never take on any special roles, and the tetrominoes do not disappear when fit together in a line. Indeed, a lot of the puzzles require that the blocks do not fit snugly together, which runs counter to conventional play with them. MouseCraft is very much its own puzzle game with its own puzzle premise, and that premise is pretty good.
MouseCraft (Linux, Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita) Developer: Crunching Koalas Publisher: Crunching Koalas Released: July 8, 2014 MSRP: $14.99 Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit
MouseCraft starts out with a simple instruction: get the three mice from their wheel to the cheese safely. Once a mouse is sent on its way, it will walk slowly to the right until it hits a wall two or more blocks high, until it reaches the cheese, or until it dies. Mice can climb exactly one block height, and can safely fall three squares worth without smashing into the ground and leaving a Pikmin-esque ghost behind.
So it begins with a series of insurmountable pits to cross and perfectly fitting tetrominoes to plug the gaps. Of course, the mechanics do not remain this simple throughout. Eventually, optional objectives are added through crystals to collect, turning it into a matter of hitting various points of interest in a level before finally making it to the cheese.
Most of the time, finding the solution is not just a matter of discovering the correct position and orientation of the placed blocks, but also finding the right timing. Sometimes, it is beneficial to have a path of blocks laid out from the start, other times it is necessary to set the mice in motion before placing blocks behind them. To this end, there are handy time freeze and undo buttons that see a lot of use.
After a new element is added to the mix, there is a level or two teaching how it acts and interacts with other objects, then a handful of levels playing around with the idea. What results is a sort of ebb and flow of difficulty, where the game is ever increasing in complexity, but each step up is softened by a generous tutorial level.
Eventually, players have access to bombs that destroy entire tetrominoes, blocks made of jelly that break long falls, evil rat robots to avoid, and more. Just when it starts to feel like MouseCraft is running thin on ideas, a new piece is introduced and it opens up new puzzle opportunities.
Despite the complexity, MouseCraft never reaches hair-pulling difficulty. There are a few headscratchers that take some deep thought and experimentation to get through with a gold rating, but in general, the levels are small enough and the number of tetrominoes to place is low enough that the possible combinations of actions is never overwhelming and the solution presents itself within a few minutes of tinkering.
Diehard puzzle fans might be a bit turned off by the medium difficulty, but the more straightforward puzzles were more satisfying to complete than the busier, more cluttered puzzles. When the player is given too many pieces to work with and unclear mini goals to string together, it becomes a little more frustrating. Thankfully, most of the 80 puzzles included are bite-sized affairs, and through clever design, they do a good job of making the player feel smart.
For creative types or those wanting more after the included puzzles are exhausted, there is a level editor included (used to make the rad -- and solvable -- puzzle below). Sadly, there does not appear to be support for sharing creations with others yet.
Aesthetically, MouseCraft is cute and functional. It runs with a semi-cartoony look that fits the light theme of an anthropomorphic cat running potentially deadly experiments on mice. The soundtrack is fine, but not outstanding. Like elevator music, it provides a background and stays out of the way, but it never gets memorable or exciting.
The story is probably the weakest part of MouseCraft, though it certainly is not the focus. After a short cutscene to vaguely set up why the cat Schrödinger is running these experiments, he exists only in the background until the end. Cutscenes are injected throughout to remind the player that he needs to buy more cheese every now and then, and it all culminates to a weird punchline cutscene that does not really work comedically or make sense otherwise.
Still, most will come to MouseCraft for the puzzles, stay for the puzzles, and ignore the narrative (or lack thereof). To that end, it does an admirable job, constantly introducing new ideas so that each chunk of levels feels fresh. Over the four hours it takes to see the end, and additional time to complete entirely, it never overstays its welcome. The concept behind it is solid, and it has been developed well past that initial idea.
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.
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Pixie The Fairy Traded in a bunch of old Star Trek novels and other books at a used bookstore. Made $10 and got Tori Amos' "Strange Little Girls" album along with it.
They made me take the William Shatner novels back. Smart clerks.OverlordZetta Can this be Toy Story 4? [youtube]https://youtu.be/XJkZX0rKElY[/youtube]Gamemaniac3434 Also I will be reviewing freedom wars.
I didnt make it to the end.
I will not be kind to it.
There will be blood.
Gamemaniac3434 Yeah....been there before. techsupport MGS V review: When using a character other than Big Boss for missions, the intro credits still say, "starring Punished 'Venom' Snake." Sloppy work, Kojima - no wonder Konami dumped you. 0/10. Gamemaniac3434 Grim Fandango......some real good sruff here. As soon as I complete it (vita version, of course) will probably see about a write up. Not perfect, but theres some good stuff here. Glad it got brought back from obsolescence hell. Rad Party God *sigh* If only Disqus had a "block/ignore user" option :/VIRGO Must. Use. This. Blog. More. But. School.GoofierBrute Just started playing Hyrule Warriors again. Man is that game fun. A bit mindless at times granted, but fun nonetheless.RadicalYoseph I ate vanilla ice cream and didn't put on any chocolate syrup. Now wondering if that was racist whitewashing #thanksjed.Jiraya The cat dragged in some action figures !
[img]http://i.imgur.com/51DLqjh.jpg[/img]Dr Mel There's a Custom Soundtrack folder in MGSV. I can't think of a better thing to put there than the old episodes of podtoid I've been running through lately. I'll be fultoning guys and Holmes will be puttin' on mesh tank tops. Perfect.Shinta MGSV Pro Tip: Turn your brightness down to 0. It actually makes the view distance for the guards correct, and doesn't make nighttime the best option for you every single time. When guards shoot flares in the sky, the lighting looks like Dragon's Dogma.Pixie The Fairy Proof I listened to too much Weird Al growing up:
I really do hear "Living in America" as "Living with a Hernia."Nic Rowen I've been playing a shit ton of Heroes of the Storm recently. It's my first MOBA and I'm SHOCKED at how much fun I'm having. Anyone else into it? Would love to get some games in with Dtoiders.Script I would wait for a chance to play the game by myself, but I just have to know. Is David Hayter in MGS V in any way? Please no spoilers. Rad Party God Guys, serious question... How can I make D-Horse to poop?gajknight Goddammit @ FullmetalJ, you have poisoned my mind with...whatever the hell this is.[youtube]https://youtu.be/wv0iUKb80C8[/youtube]
It's so, so catchy. Go suck a baguette. And thanks :3. Yes I have listened to all of it.Niero Desu That time when Mr. Destructoid went to Vegas [img]http://i.imgur.com/hYEQG7z.jpg[/img]SirDavies As someone who hasn't played the MGS series at all, should I play it by release date or story order?