If you’ve been craving a challenging and fun puzzle game, then you may be interested in the title recently released for Vita, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC, MouseCraft. This title features a light story about Schrödinger, a mad cat scientist who needs cheese to fuel his mouse-centric experiments, although the story is more of a window dressing to justify the game’s puzzles, traps, and motif.
The game plays out as Lemmings does, with you trying to get your three mice to a hunk of cheese at the end of the level. In order to do this, you will need to utilize tetrominos (the official name for the Tetris blocks) in order to build safe paths to the goal. You can lose two of your three mice, as long as one makes it to the cheese safely, and you will still advance in the game.
In the early levels you start off with the standard solid tetrominos. As you advance in the game, however, you will unlock new blocks, obstacles, and an enemy that behaves as your mice do called ratoids. You may be forced to find creative ways to destroy the ratoids before you advance, such as crushing them with a tetromino block.
The blocks can be useful, though dangerous. Crumbling blocks, for instance, can only support two mice before they fall apart, leaving your third to find an alternate route. TNT blocks will explode after three seconds of being touched. Electric blocks will instantly kill your mice upon being touched. You must use all of these blocks in creative ways in order to achieve a perfect score in every level, however.
Two of the obstacles include water, which can be a boon as well as a danger, and acid. Water conducts electricity, obviously, so if you place an electric block in a pool, your mice (and any ratoids) that touch the water will be instantly killed. If, however, there are no electric blocks, the water can serve to save your mice, as a fall from more than three squares high would kill them otherwise (the water softens their fall). Be careful, however, as mice and ratoids both can only stand a total of ten seconds underwater before drowning.
Acid is even more straightforward. If your mice or the ratoids touch it, they are destroyed instantly. In addition, blocks can only last 3 seconds in the acid before they crumble away, meaning you’ll have to be quick and utilize the game’s pause button to place the blocks at the right time to guide your mice across safely.
The final thing we’ll touch on is the game’s level editor. This editor allows you to build levels much larger than most of the game’s campaign levels, featuring up to a 99 tile long space to work with. This space is well over twice the size of most of MouseCraft’s campaign levels, and is sure to keep you interested if you enjoy creating your own, unique levels.
The game is, due to the fact that you only need to keep one mouse alive, typically quite easy to power through, and if all you care about is beating the title, you will likely be able to do so in a short time. If, however, you want to get a perfect score on each level, which entails keeping all three mice alive and grabbing all crystals in a stage, you will find plenty of challenge in the game.
Overall the game is quite fun, if you enjoy puzzle titles. If you were afraid that it would become simply another clone, then you can lay those fears to rest, as the game manages to pay homage to classic games, such as Lemmings, while retaining its own identity.
Final Score: 4/5