Veteran gamers might remember a PC gaming classic called The Lemmings. Released in 1991 the goal of that game was to guide a certain percentage of green-haired, blue-robed “lemmings” from the entrance to the exit by creating a safe passage through the landscape. The same group of gamers have probably also heard of Tetris. Tetris pre-dates even The Lemmings and was, and still is, a tile-based pattern-matching game. So what if you mashed the two games together? You might end up with something vaguely familiar as Mousecraft from Crunching Koalas! Originally released in 2014 on Steam PC and PlayStation game systems Mousecraft now sees release on the Nintendo Switch. This is our Nintendo Switch review of Mousecraft.
Dat Mean Old Puddy Tat!
The story in Mousecraft is pretty simplistic. Your goal is to help the crazy cat scientist, Schrödinger, in completing his mysterious, mice-powered invention. The actual goal of each level is two-fold. Get as many mice as possible safely to the cheese while collecting as many gems as possible. Mice need to avoid gaps, mechanical baddies, etc. You accomplish this by rotating and slotting in puzzle pieces to avoid gaps or to get to new heights, blowing up puzzle pieces, dropping blocks on mechanical evil mice, etc.
All animations have a nice, cartoony feel that adds a light-hearted, family-friendly touch to the game. The game consists of 80 levels and starts out simple and throws more mechanics at you as you progress. Depending on whether or not you want to achieve a perfect score on each level the entire game can take upwards of 10 hours of play.
Engaging Puzzle Fun
There are many things to like about Mousecraft. The first being that the puzzle themselves are fun, engaging and non-repetitive. There are enough puzzle mechanics added as you advance to keep things fresh. Mousecraft also weaved a certain magic spell on me, in that I always felt compelled to earn a “perfect” score in each level. Mousecraft also does a nice job of easing the player into new concepts, not straight out tutorials but integration into the gameplay.
The game also has some key gameplay options that allow you to tailor your difficulty. There is an “active pause” ability which allows you to freeze the action so you can drop puzzle pieces in or blow a piece up. You can also speed up the game flow and try to solve things in real-time. Don’t worry if you don’t achieve a perfect score as you can either skip to the next level or give the current level another “go”. Mousecraft also supports undo for multiple steps which is always a nice feature in these A to B puzzle games.
Mousecraft seems to be tailor-made for the Nintendo Switch, especially in undocked mode. Your basic actions are right on the screen and sensitivity or puzzle drop control was never an issue. The only thing missing would be some form of touch screen support but this isn’t a do or die feature.
Mousecraft sounds simplistic but there is plenty of short session puzzling fun here. No other game comes to mind where you’ll end up worrying about and being compelled to save mice as badly as you will in Mousecraft!
Compare To: The Lemmings, Tetris
Note: A Nintendo Switch eShop code was provided for the purpose of this review.