These last few months in gaming saw the indie revolution gaining more momentum and speed along the way, and the fact that everyone is giving these independent developers the chance to shine, beginning of the initiative taken by Sony in helping these games develop and flourish shows how much this genre is being successful to the industry. While some games become famous before their release due to hype, others make the date unnoticed to then become little gems.
Mousecraft, developed by Crunching Koalas, possesses all the characteristics above which put it in pole position in becoming an instant classic. As described by its developers, it is a blend of Lemmings and Tetris, and its strategic touch will appeal also to the ones who are not fans of either game. The scope of the game is as simple as can be; you navigate three mice through a series of levels to reach the cheese, with the ultimate aim of aiding their scientist “father” Schrodinger achieves his cheese consuming experiments’ goals. A simple game, with an interesting storyline, recounted with occasional cutscenes and fitting gameplay, which will keep players entertained until the end.
There is not much to learn the basics of the game, and with an easy start, nothing will hinder advancement early on. The game presents itself with a step by step tutorial based on the first few levels, so as not to cram the first level with information which you will forget by the time you get to the third. Instead, each level provides a small tip by which to overcome the level, making it easier to remember the different features. As one makes progress through the levels, the game introduces new items and elements which will increase the difficulty, and will thus require more thought than before to get to the destination. This is to achieve the idea of “easy to learn, hard to master”, which attracts so many gamers who like to take on a challenge.
The levels also feature collectibles in the shape of “shards”, which one must collect by the critters to achieve 100% completion in the level and thus the game overall. This goal of collecting all the shards is what makes Mousecraft complicated, since just aligning the pieces together towards the cheese and neglecting the shards will not prove much of a task. One can thus state that Mousecraft is a game which not simply wants, but needs to be perfected, and that is an appeal on its own to the adventure.
Another trait of the game is its “trial and error” mechanism. This is the fundamental aspect of the game since the failed attempts will ultimately prove to be essential in finding the answer. There is no state of game over, with the game granting players an undo command and a time freeze ability, to be spammed freely without any limit. The latter can be done only with the mice out of the wheel, since beforehand one has all the time in the world to tinker about. This is to encourage tries since a game with limited do-overs will definitely bore anyone with thoughts on how to approach the problem. Trying multiple solutions will keep the player focused on the game with the intent of figuring out the level piece by piece.
The game also features a cute soundtrack, which plays during cutscenes and in levels, which, although not anything to hum along all the time, is enough to keep you interested without gifting you a massive headache. The sounds of the different items in the game are also fitting.
The world of Mousecraft is also filled with bright colours, which furthers on the message of it being a simple game with no dark theme behind. That said the colours are beautiful merging together on the backdrop of every level, bringing out the multiple elements throughout.
Apart from the main story, there is also a level creator, where players may attempt their creative abilities by structuring a level of their own. Unfortunately, it seems rather user unfriendly without any guidelines, but enthusiastic players will not let the lack of information spoil their fun.
On the whole, Mousecraft is a very good game, built extremely well from the beginning right till the very end. It will keep players coming back for more, since the campaign is modestly long. Featuring bright colours, a cute story and excellent gameplay, Mousecraft will surely capture gamers of all ages like a mousetrap.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.