Crunching Koalas’ new A to B puzzle game places you in the world of mad feline scientist, Schrödinger. In an attempt to collect precious blue shards, he has invented a machine that’s powered by mice (Who would have thought!) – and this is where the game of MouseCraft takes place.
The aim of the game is simple: place a set amount of tetromino bricks down in order to create a scalable path for three very naïve mice (They’ll never come to accept that acid = bad) – thus allowing them to journey from the safety of their wheel to the glorious cheese at the end – without letting them perish along the way.
As an avid fan of puzzle solving, these are my top five features that make MouseCraft one of the most recent genre-defining successes when it comes to brain-straining fun.
Want those blue shards? It’s going to take a hell of a lot more brainpower to get them!
The simple A to B design of MouseCraft produces a straightforward challenge – get the three mice from their wheel to the sweet delicious cheese at the end. This task can easily be accomplished in the earlier stages of the game, but as you progress the difficulty will increase tremendously.
You’ll still be able to complete the stages fairly easily, but at a price. You’ll have to sacrifice some of your mice or opt out of collecting some, if not all, of the precious blue shards scattered around the level.
However, if you want to earn the golden reward for each stage, you’ll have to go back and figure out how to collect all of the shards, while making sure none of the mice die – a task easier said than done. This need to gain 100% level completion will effectively add hours upon hours of extra mind bending puzzle solving. I’m just glad I’m not a completionist…
…No, wait, I am! Damn it!
Think of it as Tetris… on steroids.
At the beginning of each level you’ll be given a set amount of tetromino puzzle pieces. You’ll then have to strategically place these in order to help guide your three blind mice safely to their reward. As you would expect, these pieces can be rotated, and finding out how the pieces should fit together on specific levels will take up the majority of your time in MouseCraft.
As you progress in the game the levels will become more and more hazardous to your furry little friends. But don’t worry; you’ll also unlock different types of tetromino pieces to help you overcome the challenges.
For example, the vividly pink jelly bricks will protect your mice from great falls, while the crumbling bricks will deteriorate as more mice crawl over them, allowing you to divide the paths of your mice-y minions.
#3 Time Freeze
Mousetrap meets The Matrix.
At any point during a level you can opt to freeze time with active pause. While this feature won’t be utilized a lot during the beginning of the game, it will become crucial to your success as the challenge ramps up.
During some levels you’ll only be given a singular brick to use. You’ll have to move this brick around as your mice scamper merrily along, and unless you’re blessed with the world’s fastest fingers (you lucky dog you!) you’ll have to exploit this active pause option many times over.
… Sleep well you genocidal mouse slayer.
Three blind mice. Three blind mice. See how they… BOOM!
One of my favourite features of MouseCraft manifests itself within one of the brick variants. Short of using bombs to clear the way, you’ll have to use the potentially suicidal explosive brick.
These bricks look reminiscent of a stack of TNT – and well, that’s because that’s exactly what they are. Once one of your mice touches the brick, it will beep for 3 seconds, then explode – destroying any other blocks (or mice) within a one-block vicinity of it. With carefully positioned explosive blocks, one can easily set off a chain reaction of destruction that can quickly reshape the entire level.
And, well, let’s face it – who doesn’t enjoy blowing stuff up?
#1 Level Editing
Anything Schrödinger can do I can do better… Or not.
It’s always refreshing to play a game that allows you to create your own levels. Whether good or bad, the additional feature never detracts from the campaign, as it’s an optional element. In this case however, the optional level editing definitely sways the balance in favour of being worthwhile – as opposed to just being there, you know, just ‘cause.
At its core, the level editing is very simple. You won’t find complex design tools here and it certainly won’t take long to get the hang of things. Using what you’ve learnt from the campaign, you’ll easily be able to create an abundance of unique levels with varying complexity.
If we’ve learnt anything from the success of games such as LittleBigPlanet it’s this – people love to create their own challenges. This is exactly what MouseCraft’s level editor offers you – albeit a relatively simple editing design – but one that does a great job of extending the lifespan of a relatively short puzzle game.
Quite simply, this game will appeal to anyone who is fond of puzzles. It offers up a unique and fresh perspective on an already well-established formula. With almost instant load times and quick restarts you won’t be bogged down with frustration when you have to (and you will have to) tackle a level numerous times.
Those looking to give their brain a little work out won’t be disappointed when it comes to this well polished, visually impressive and ultimately fun puzzler.
Just don’t get too sad when you let your 100th mouse accidentally fall to its death….
…What have they ever done to you? Huh? You monster!