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Game Review: Mousecraft (PS Vita)

When a developer leads off by telling you their game is a unashamed cross of Lemmings and Tetris, you can’t help but raise an eyebrow. Having said that I played it before they led off with anything and the first thing I said was that it was exactly that. Well a slow paced Lemmings crossed with Tetris with a Lost Vikings feel, anyway.

I was lucky enough to play the Polish developed Mousecraft at EGX Rezzed earlier in the year, thanks to PlayStation conversion specialists, Curve Studios,  when everyone else at the event seemed to be paying Krunching Koalas’ game no attention. I played maybe 8 levels of the title and fell in love with it.

The idea is that you are assisting a cat called Schrodinger (I kid you not) and you have three mice that you have to guide from their starting position, to a plate full of cheese. Simple enough, and rather Lemmingy in a loose three rather than a hundred kind of way. The thing is that unlike Lemmings, that in some cases the path to the cheese isn’t just blocked a la the green haired rodent  juicers of old, but there are gaps where blocks are needed. So rather than equip the mice with abilities like the amazing purple clothed cliff divers, you have to place blocks which look suspiciously tetromino like into the playfield to allow the mice to get to their cheese… sometime while picking up other things too such as “Anima Shards” which forma type of in game currency. Of course it’s not that simple as sometimes you have to add a block after the mice have passed once, deal with bombs and even explode parts of the level out of the way of your migrant meeces. There are also jelly blocks, explosive blocks and electric bricks to take out invading enemies, which start appearing as you progress along the 80 levels and five locations. Schrodinger is essentially finding ways to build a mouse powered machine, you know, like you do!

To be brutally honest it probably is a bit pedestrian for some gamers, even with the ability to fast forward the game but if you want something a little slower paced than Lemmings or even Flockers (assuming it is, indeed, coming to the PS Vita), then this is certainly worth a look. I warn you though, like SteamWorld Dig and other mini-surprises, it will get it’s little rodent claws into you and compel you to have just one more go at each level, esepcially as mastering each and every level isn’t as easy as it looks. You will be goign back to imporve on yourself.

A big bonus to the game is that even when you have finished story mode you can create your own levels in a very easy to operate level editor. I just hope that it will allow direct sharing of the levels with other players with an update in the future.

Graphically  it looks just like the PC version (and every other version) and even at close inspection, the graphics look great, and certainly are far more than adequate for the game, while the music and sound effects are pretty much bang on for the tone and pace of the gameplay – the PS Vita is not getting a poor-mans version of the game by any stretch of the imagination.

As with many indie digital releases on the PS Vita (and PS4) these days this originated on the PC, hwoever Curve have doen a better job on the conversion to the PS Vita, and I say conversion rather than port with intent, as some of the features of the PS Vita have been utilised.  The touch screen support in a game of this type really does make a huge amount of difference both in gameplay with being able to use it to position the bricks and rotate them, but also with selecting and dragging items in the games level editor. The game was originally developed in Unity, so I suspet that helped Curve as I believe the support for native PS Vita features in Unity is rather good.

This is a cross-buy title across PS Vita, PS4 and PS3 (it’s offered as a bundle of the three, in fact, on the PlayStation store at a normal price of £9.99) and also offers cross save (referred to as “Cloud Sync” on the menu screens of the PS Vita version.)

The game is a great puzzler and though perhaps at the upper price range for such a release, I do feel it offers great value for money with the number of levels, level editor and the fact it has been converted to the Vita properly. I have no hesitation in recommending it to everyone (my wife and children keep playing it, to give you an idea) and although it’s not exactly cutting edge nor all that original, per se, it does offer a unique twist to the puzzle game genre and has to be worth checking out if you have interest in the genre whatsoever. Now excuse me while I go back and have another go!

You can find the game on PlayStation store at https://store.sonyentertainmentnetwork.com/#!/en-gb/games/mousecraft/cid=EP4395-NPEJ00333_00-B000000000001136

 

At A Glance

  • Title: Mousecraft
  • Publisher: Crunching Koalas (original PC version)/Curve Studios (PlayStation conversions)
  • System: PS Vita
  • Format: PSN Download
  • Cross Buy: Yes (PS3 & PS4)
  • Cross Play: No
  • Cross Save: Yes (PS3 & PS4)
  • Online Multiplayer: No
  • Memory Card Space Needed: 247MB

Vita Player Rating - 08

 

 

 

 

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Newsflash – PlayStation TV UK/EU Release Date

A quick bit of news from Cologne’s Gamescom – PlayStation TV will launch across Europe on Friday 14th November.

The EU price is 99 Euros with 3 digital games (titles unknown), which can probably be assumed to also be included in the UK £84.99 SKU.

I personally cannot wait! :)

Sven Harvey

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PlayStation Mobile Update – 30th July 2014

Following the influx of new releases over the last few weeks, things have slowed down somewhat for PlayStation Mobile this week with just a couple of new releases and a single update.

New Releases

  • Farming USA (Bowen Games) – a surprise release. A non-Unity based title and a full blown homage to Farming Simulator. One of the most involving PSM titles we have seen to-date.
  • Neck Strike (teasoft) – another free to play title from teasoft and their first developed in Unity

Updates

  • Instant Dungeon (Scott Matott) – updated to version 1.21
Another World PS Vita

Game Review: Another World (PS Vita)

Debuting over 20 years ago, arriving on the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST in 1991, Another World was a breath of fresh air. The game, released by Delphine Software (through U.S. Gold here in the UK) was a flick screen adventure with a cinematic feel to it, developed and designed by Eric Chahi with music from Jean-François Freitas.

Fluid animation cut scenes told the story as you tried to get the main protagonist, Lester, past various dangers with the aim of the game simply that of survival on the world he finds himself on following an accident with a particle accelerator. Following ports to various formats and a 15th Anniversary Windows version, the 20th Anniversary edition started off as an iOS release but has been ported to various consoles with the release on all three currently active PlayStation formats in June this year.

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Gravity Cube PlayStation Mobile

Game Review: Gravity Cube (PlayStation Mobile)

Reading the description for Gravity Cube in the PlayStation Network Store left me with no doubt as to what I was letting myself in for with this game. When the first line refers to itself as being a “high score game” and subsequently mentions that you have to “race through an infinite tunnel” you immediately know that you’re going to experience a game that may be more than a little familiar to one or two games that you may have already played before…

Already available for iOS and Android (as is their other game Star Conquest so I am wondering whether this may be a future PSM release as well) it’s a 3D endless runner set in a futuristic tunnel. Unlike BallFlip that I looked at previously, Gravity Cube is a lot more colourful and immediately hits you right from the start with it’s fast moving visuals and tunnel effects hurtling towards the screen… and that’s just on the main menu!

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Night Climb PlayStation Mobile

Game Review: Night Climb (PlayStation Mobile)

Part of the early wave of PlayStation Mobile releases developed using Unity, it will come as no surprise to many of you reading this to know that Night Climb is another variant on the endless runner theme that has been so prevalent on PSM lately. Not the only release of it’s kind that week, at least Night Climb attempted to do something a little different with the format to disguise its true origins and lift it out of the monotony of so many games that have come before it…

As with many of the initial wave of Unity-based PSM titles, Night Climb is actually a port to the Vita – this time of the author’s own browser based game. While as a rule I’m not particular enthusiastic about being charged for free games, this does have a low asking price and does have the convenience of being portable. Also, it’s not available on any other mobile platform and the author is asking for donations should people like the game enough. Onto the game itself though and it takes the endless runner idea and twists it on its head – quite literally. Rather than playing the game horizontally or in a 3D environment, Night Climb takes the game just as the title suggests – upwards.

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Tiny Troopers Joint Ops PS Vita 09

Tiny Troopers Joint Ops Getting Ready For Action This Summer On PS Vita

Wired Productions, a growing independent video games publisher, and Finnish game developer Kukouri Mobile Entertainment have confirmed that Tiny Troopers Joint Ops for the PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 systems has been scheduled for European and US release in late summer 2014.

An epic bite-sized arcade shooter, Tiny Troopers Joint Ops is filled to the brim with action-packed mini-maps of mayhem! Take control of your Tiny Troopers as you battle evil adversaries from around the world with a multitude of weapons and specialist soldiers. Collect medals, dog tags, Intel and more during the course of each mission. With over 7 hours of gun-toting explosive gameplay, Tiny Troopers is miniature warfare on a massive scale!

Tiny Troopers Joint Ops brings together all your favourite features and more from Tiny Troopers and Tiny Troopers 2: Special Ops, whose combined downloads, exceed 8 million. Including a newly designed control scheme exclusive to PlayStation formats as well as cross save and cross play functionality, Tiny Troopers Joint Ops is anything but small.

Tiny Troopers Key Features:

  • Over 50 action-packed mini-maps of mayhem including Zombie Survival Mode with online leaderboards!
  • Recruit specialist mercenaries such as Medics, Machine Gunners and the Elite Delta Force to subdue enemy insurgents!
  • Tiny Troopers Joint Ops is miniature warfare on the go with Cross-Save & Cross-Buy functionality!
  • Twin-stick arcade control system to blast your way through waves of enemy rebels.

Established in 2008, Wired Productions is an independent games production and publishing house based in Watford, Hertfordshire, UK. Wired have produced over 35 titles, and are the team responsible for the 1.3 million unit selling We Sing franchise. Wired have also produced and co-developed The Voice branded console products. In 2013 they moved back into console publishing started with the PS Vita title Let’s Fish! Hooked On. 2014 will see many more product announcements. For more information visit: www.wiredproductions.com or follow at: www.facebook.com/WiredPro and on Twitter: www.twitter.com/WiredP.

Privately held mobile games developer, Kukouri Mobile Entertainment develops games for high end mobile devices like Apple iPhone, iPad and Android platforms, with offices in south-eastern Finland. Kukouri’s breakout title Tiny Troopers and its sequel Tiny Troopers 2 Special Ops have enjoyed critical and commercial success globally, with downloads in excess of 8 million. Motivated and highly skilled, Kukouri’s team makes games that always have that extra something in them. For more information visit, www.kukouri.com, or follow via twitter: www.twitter.com/Kukouri

(Screenshots have been taken from different formats of the game)

TriCirSquare PlayStation Mobile

Game Review: TriCirSquare (PlayStation Mobile)

Before I say anything else in  this review, I have an apology to make… this is actually a re-write of the original review that I posted a couple of days ago as I had a message earlier today (26th July 2014) about the credits for the development of the game. Originally I believed that it had been written by David Martinez, author of Trolly Bird, one of the worthy entries in our Top 25 PlayStation Mobile Games list. However, it now turns out that there are two developers writing PSM games called David Martinez and TriCirSquare was developed by the new programmer to the PlayStation Mobile scene, making use of Unity. Why is this such a signifant thing and why has this warranted a re-write and such a big apology? Read on…

TriCirSquare is a a very simple puzzle game. Holding your Vita in portrait mode, at the bottom on the screen you will see a row of three random symbols comprising of triangles, circles and squares. One by one from the top of the screen aligned with this drops another row with three more symbols. All you have to do is alter the bottom row to match the one that is descending before it reaches the bottom. To do this you either tap on each symbol or us the X, O and triangle buttons (which are mapped to each of the symbols located roughly above them). Each time you tap the symbol or press a button, the symbol changes, cycling through all three until you find the one you need.

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PlayStation Mobile And Unity – The First Few Weeks

It’s been three weeks now since the first games hit the PlayStation Network Store developed with Unity for PlayStation Mobile. Several of these have been in development for some time and it’s clear that the advent of Unity and the changes that it is bringing about are going to revolutionise PSM but is it really going to give PlayStation Mobile the boost that it so desperately needs? I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to take a look at all of the games released so far and it’s already raising a few interesting thoughts…

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The Unfinished Swan Heading To PS Vita?

Nothing has been confirmed yet, but it looks as if there is a chance that the Playstation 3 game The Unfinished Swan may be making it’s way onto Playstation Vita. There’s been strong speculation recently that this could be the case after the Game Rating Board in Korea rated the game for both the Vita and the PS4. This is nothing more than speculation at the moment, as no announcement has been forthcoming from either Sony or Giant Sparrow.

The game was critically acclaimed on Playstation 3, with comparisons to Journey, flOw and flower being drawn. In a similar vein to those games, the title is more of an experience than a ‘game’ in the traditional sense, the plot following Monroe as he chases the titular swan through a painting, throwing balls of black paint in order to bring definition to and reveal the environment otherwise hidden in the blank canvas.

If true, it may be that an official announcement will be made at Gamescom.