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MouseCraft Review

KevinS By:
GENRE Puzzle 
PUBLISHER Crunching Koalas 
DEVELOPER Crunching Koalas 
E Contains Mild Fantasy Violence

What do these ratings mean?

Looks to me like a new Brie-d of Lemmings! Eh? Cheese puns?

First, let me say that you shouldn’t be fooled by the name of this game. MouseCraft isn't to be confused with Minecraft or World of Warcraft. It's a puzzle game, for one, and for another it won't take up nearly as much of your time (or hard drive space) as you think. That's something the crazy scientist in this game got right.

The story here is about a cat doctor named Shrodinger (I don't know if the joke is alive or dead...), who is experimenting a-la Lemmings with three blind mice, not just to see how they run, but If they can indeed survive each stage intact. In order to do that, players are tasked with placing tetrominos (Tetris pieces) along the path, blowing up others, or utilizing an array of other specialty pieces to collect crystals and reach the cheesy, cheesy finish. Also, again, a scientist cat named Shrodinger? Plenty of cheese right there. Also, I'm surprised other people remember a game like Lemmings from so long ago.

Basic play is straightforward: select a piece to use, blow something up (when applicable), or release the blind mice into the world. There are things laced throughout that will kill your precious test subjects, like robotic rats and explosives or just jumping from too high up, that need to be either avoided or accounted for. New elements and blocks are available the further along players get, which makes challenges all the more difficult and taxing.

The actual overall difficulty is scattershot, with some later puzzles being simple to get through and others frustratingly yet boringly complex. I say "boringly" because for how pretty and interesting the game may appear at first glance, that's the only view throughout. There aren't "real" characters here, and no drive to care for the silent, lemming mice running around. There isn't any punishment for losing mouse, either; except for the final rankings, you could kill all but one mouse each go-around and you'd be totally fine.

But fear not, there is some expansion in such a game because there’s a built-in level editor! Unfortunately, you can only save a total of 16 levels, and on the version I played you can’t share them with anyone online. That’s right, in this current age of “sharing is caring” —at least where content is concerned—MouseCraft leaves the building without sharing any of the cheese.  I know it’s likely not meant to directly compete with a game the caliber of LittleBigPlanet, but it’s a shame to see a wasted opportunity at expanding a game’s possibilities like that. The editor is easy enough to maneuver through, though definitely designed for a mouse and keyboard setup, and building a functioning level can be done in a short period of time.

The one thing this seriously has going for it is the cuteness factor. The package, even with the crazy old cat dressed like a Dr. Frankenstein, is adorable and welcoming (even if it’s a sort of safe, almost sterilized sort of way), and the tiny world the mice inhabit have some bright colors that pop. It’s like something out of a '90s Saturday morning cartoon, and in all the right ways. I just wish it was more… I don’t know, engaging? It just doesn’t have any real character to speak of, just passable. Forgettable.

Oh geez, what was I talking about? It’s like my brain’s made of Swiss cheese, and I could really go for some good ol’ Tetris about now.

Code provided by publisher. Review based on Playstation 3 version. Also available on Windows, Mac, Linux, Steam, Playstation 4, and PS Vita.

  • Colorful, cartoony beauty
  • No character to speak of
  • Different blocks make things interesting
  • Difficulty is scattershot
  • Good for a few hours, but entirely forgettable
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