If statistics are to be believed, the majority of you reading this review are going to be viewing the Vita Player site using a PC. Bearing that in mind, there’s an equally good chance that – at one time or another – you will have played, or at least owned a copy of Mine Sweeper installed on your current or another PC that you have owned in the past. It’s not a surprise why the game was distributed so widely as it’s simplicity and addictive nature made it incredibly popular so it’s no wonder that the old-school puzzler was going to make its way onto Sony consoles at some point…
Mine Sweeper is a simple game to pick up and is one of those puzzle games that relies on logic more than anything else to solve. Rather like Sudoku, while looking at the screen awash with numbers makes you think initially that it’s a number puzzle game that requires at least reasonably competent mathematical skills, that’s far from being the case. For the two or three of you who have never played the game before, the aim of the game is to clear the playing field of hidden mines without setting any of them off. If you accidentally uncover even a single mine then it’s game over. The game is presented quite simplistically and played on a grid, initially blank and to start you simply click on any of the squares…
Once clicked it will display one of several things… If that square reveals a mine then it’s game over. If there’s no mine there and that space and several nearby are clear then a space on the playing area will be cleared from the screen. The final type of square that will be revealed will contain a number. These numbers represent the number of mines that this particular square is in contact with in adjacent squares. If a square has a 1 in it, then one nearby square (horizontally, vertically or diagonally) has a mine and all the other squares are clear. By looking at all the numbered squares you have to work out where all the mines are. If you identify where you believe a mine to be, you can place a “flag” on that square so you know not to click there. Flag up all the mines successfully and you’ve completed the level.
It may sound simplistic but the randomly generated positions of the mines means that no two games will ever play the same and it’s easy to see why this game has proved to be so popular on the PC. Games can last for a matter of seconds if you click on the wrong square or for lengthy periods of time right until you find that last mine but either way both are equally engaging and you’re quickly drawn into its addictive gameplay. It’s not a particularly exciting game to play and certainly isn’t something that will get your heart racing while you play it but it’s not that sort of game. What Mine Sweeper is is a good, challenging puzzler that will test your skills of logic and deduction and by the very nature of the game will provide you with countless hours of fun and entertainment because of the randomly generated levels.
All that being said, the PC versions of this game were bundled freely with Windows since Windows 3.1 right up until Windows 7 and there are countless other clones available for every other platform imaginable and a never ending supply of freely playable web-based versions as well so the immediate question that I found myself asking was whether or not this was a version worth paying for? The port itself is solid and I certainly can’t fault it in that respect – if you’re after a conversion of the game then you certainly won’t be disappointed there. It’s also had some enhancements to try to give the game something of a facelift.
Just as with the PC incarnations, there are several difficulty levels on offer, each increasing the size of the playing area. The PlayStation Mobile version adds its own extra touches though to try to persuade you to part with your hard-earned cash. Rather than playing the game in complete silence, there are minimalistic but functional sound effects as well as a choice of three pieces of background music. The game also allows you to customise things further giving the choice of three different skins for the game including one that may be familiar to those who have been playing the game on the PC for a few years…
To add further icing on the cake, there’s also a stats section to the game detailing your total playing time, how many games you have won and lost and charting your overall performance throughout not to mention an on-screen clock… not just a timer to show how long you’ve been spending playing but an actual clock so you don’t get too carried away spending too much time on the game!
This is definitely a very good version of the game so I can’t fault it on the playability front but the question you have to ask yourself as a Vita owner is whether you enjoy the game enough to pay to be able to play it on the move. If you’re happy with the asking price then you can’t go wrong with it.
At A Glance
- Title: Mine Sweeper
- Publisher: Heart Art
- System: PlayStation Mobile
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: No
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Local Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 13Mb