Tetris was and still is a magnificent puzzler. Lemmings is up there as an all time classic. So what do you get when you send them both off to a hotel for a romantic weekend? Well nine months later you get Mousecraft a new puzzle game from developers Crunching Koalas.
The game itself is more Lemmings than Tetris, with the Tetrominos only coming into play to create paths and steps for you to get you lab mice to their cheese. In fact, it shares a lot in common with games like Chu Chu Rocket and Mario vs Donkey Kong. Adding in traps and enemies that will do their best to stop those mice.
Each level is a single screen affair, where you need to place your Tetrominos in the right places to allow the mice to navigate the level, as said, avoiding traps and potential enemies on the way, as well as collecting shards, which are needed access later levels.
Levels themselves start off fairly simple and are obvious on how they need to be completed. Getting 100% on the first 10 or so levels is easy, but the difficulty soon ramps up and soon enough you will really need to think about how you approach each new setup.
Some levels require you to just place blocks in the right place, others require timing based on where your mice are, or where enemies are at any given time. The timing based puzzles can get a little frustrating and take away slightly from what is a very clever game on the whole.
It is the levels that require pure logical thinking where Mousecraft is at its best, with you spending plenty of time looking at a level, going over your tools and then planning where they need to go so you can collect shards, bombs and get your mice to safety.
There are four ‘worlds’ overall with around 80 levels for you to take on. The game constantly tries to introduce new mechanics, even deep into the final default world, which works for keeping the game fresh and not not descending into monotony. But even when that is done, there is also a level creator for those who fancy themselves as a bit of a level designer.
Whilst the tools decent and like you’d expect in a Trials game, or Little Big Planet, it appears as though everything that was used to make the base game, is also included in the level editor. It is also very intuitive to use, which should allow anyone to come up with something.
The big shame here though is that it doesn’t appear as though you can share your levels, or download levels from friends. This is a big pet hate in games like this, as it rarely feels like there is a point to creating levels, if you cannot share them. Playing your own creations is all well and good, but does anyone really want to do that alone?
It is a sour note in what is otherwise a very good package. Mousecraft is cross-buy and cross-save for PS Vita, PS3 and PS4, with cloud saving working extremely well. Allowing you to jump between versions at will. If you have a Vita, you’ll likely play mostly on that, but to have the options must be commended.
Mousecraft is a really nice puzzle game, that walks the line just right between being too repetitive and easy, or going past the point of challenging to pure frustration. It found that middle ground and got the balance just right. However that lack of level sharing… Well, that really does disappoint.