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Mouse House - WiiWare Review

Game Info
Mouse House

WiiWare | Big John Games / 
Plaid World Studios
| 1 Player | Out Now (North America) | 600 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (pointer); Wii Remote (sideways)
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18th March 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

Big John Games, the team that brought us Thorium Wars (the ambitious DSiWare title), has just released Mouse House, their first WiiWare game. Mouse House is a port of an iPhone game with the same name, originally developed by Plaid World Studios. Rather than bringing the game to DSiWare, the developers have decided to release it on WiiWare instead. Priced at 600 Wii Points, will this casual-focused logic puzzle be able to stand out amongst a sea of other puzzlers? 

    The object of the game is to guide a cutesy mouse character to the blocks of cheese in each level that will open the exit door. 
You can either use the Wii Remote's pointer to control his movements, or if you feel like playing it safe, you can also use the D-Pad (holding the Remote in a vertical fashion). Each stage contains a series of simple gimmicks that need to be considered if you hope to progress through the game. Giant red balls can be pushed simply by running into them, and these will either clear a path for you or, they can be used to block enemy attacks. Some stages feature conveyor belts that will push you off into certain directions once you walk onto them, and cracked floors which can only be walked on once. As such, players will need to plan carefully beforehand about these gameplay elements to avoid getting stuck. 

Mouse House features a small set of enemies that will try to stop you from reaching the end of each floor. Plump-looking rats will survey the area, walking back and forth without being too confrontational. Wasps, on the other hand, will shoot off stingers in your direction if you happen to be in their direct path of sight, so you'll need to watch out for those. You'll also spot some slimey organisms in a few stages which will only gave chase once you've collected all the pieces of cheese, forcing you to outsmarting them as you race towards the goal. You won't always need to take a defensive stance with the enemies, though. Red peppers will allow you to shoot off single-use fireballs with the press of the B Button, and these can be used to kill certain enemies.

    Gameplay can sometimes be at its best when it doesn't over-complicate the user with unnecessary gimmicks, and all will find Mouse House to be just that. The game is easy to understand, and something anyone of almost any age can get into. Although you may encounter a couple tricky stages, for the most part, the floors aren't terribly challenging and most will figure them out within a few tries. Mouse House, then, is clearly best enjoyed amongst the younger gaming audience and those who are older might not appreciate the game as much. But the difficulty isn't entirely to blame for this.

    The biggest issue with the game is that it lacks real direction. All 100 stages are available for you to choose from right off the bat so there's no stopping you from moving onto another level when you get stuck. There's no sense of reward or even an indication of when you complete a level, which makes the game feel a tad empty in terms of spiritual value. Mouse House would've definitely benefited from a Time Attack feature so as to give players something to strive for later on, because otherwise, there's little reason why someone would want to return to levels they've completed. The action itself can be fun and rather enjoyable, but after a while, you may come to realize how thin the package really is.

The game is littered with a cutesy style that's actually surprisingly appealing for something so simple. If anything, Mouse House proves that graphics don't need to be extravagant to pull someone in. There's only one music track that loops throughout the game and it feels like something pulled out of the 90's with a slight cosmic feel to it. It would have been better had the game contained more music tracks to listen to so the player would feel less annoyed with the music by the twentieth time they've heard it. But otherwise, it works for what it is.

    Overall, Mouse House may have its fans on the iPhone, but for $6, it lacks in a lot of areas that prevent me from passing along a stronger recommendation for it. There's a good number of stages to choose from, and it can be fun at first, but without a real sense of direction or challenge, most will see right through the lack of substance. As such, Mouse House is best-suited for families and those with younger children. It certainly isn't a bad game, but it won't leave a lasting impression on you when stacked up against other puzzle games on the service.

19/30 - Okay/Average

Gameplay 7/10 - 
Simple gameplay, easy to understand for almost any age, a bit lacking in challenge
Presentation 7/10 - 
Rather adorable-looking, one music track with a 90's feel, child-friendly
Enjoyment 3/5 - Y
ounger gamers with a knack for logic puzzles may enjoy it, some may find it too simple and thin
Extra Content 2/5 - 
100 levels, will last you a few short hours, lacks direction and replayability, had speed run potential

Equivalent to a score of 63% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Review by KnucklesSonic8
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