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Mouse House Review

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On 03/11/2010 at 06:59 PM by Jason Ross

This mousy maze game may not offer as much challenge as fans of the genre desire.

For those who absolutely loved The Adventures of Lolo's easier stages, or found much of the game too difficult.

Mouse House is a simple game. In fact, Mouse House borrows the engine of a simple, yet difficult series known in North America as The Adventures of Lolo. The gameplay is puzzle-based, and involves picking up pieces of cheese in a labyrinth-style grid maze, while avoiding enemies and navigating a few basic obstacles, in order to reach the exit in once piece.

While picking up pieces of cheese may be cheesier (*snicker*) said than done, unfortunately, I rarely found myself scratching my head in this puzzle game. In fact, despite having 100 stages, all playable from the start, Mouse House had left me puzzled beyond two-to-three attempts just four or five times. I find this a little disappointing, considering its inspiration, the aforementioned Adventures of Lolo, presented constant challenge, even from a very early point. Much of the three or so hours I spent playing Mouse House simply consisted of glancing at the stage for a minute, then navigating the mouse through to a simple solution. Approximately half the time, my first attempt wouldn't work, but a quick second or third try down similar pathways would lead to success. Conceptually, there isn't much wrong with this, but truthfully, I longed for more difficult or complex stages throughout my play experience.

I believe the issue is its simplicity. Gameplay only consists of a few pieces: The mouse the player pilots, balls that can be pushed that can both impede the mouse's path and protect the mouse from being stung, breakaway floors that can be crossed once per stage attempt, unidirectional conveyer belts, and wasps that can sting the mouse if he comes within a certain distance from their face. There are a few other enemies, rats who travel vertically, horizontally, or in squares, as well as a creature that chases the mouse only when all pieces of cheese have been retrieved, but I found their placement often too unintuitive to challenge a player with any competence. This limits puzzles to just a few elements. Often, the puzzles that merely consist of mixes of these four pieces are dull and simplistic when compared to other maze-type titles that Mouse House competes with.

I typically try not to compare two games, except when elaborating on gameplay or exhibiting a feeling, but in the case of Mouse House, I must. In everything but sheer stage count, the Virtual Console's The Adventures of Lolo, as well as its sequel, have Mouse House beat.

Players who have completed both titles will likely find the game too simplistic and easy in comparison, but those struggling through the first Lolo title might consider Mouse House as a training course. Given the brighter animations, and more simplistic gameplay, Mouse House might also be a great logic-based alternative for younger players who might be unable to comprehend the complex puzzle-solving gameplay of Lolo.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Our Take

Jason Ross Senior Editor

03/11/2010 at 07:06 PM

I need to stress: The engine and enemies in Mouse House seem to be very derivative of The Adventures of Lolo, so there's literally nothing new. The Adventures of Lolo has 50 stages, and so does its first sequel, also available on the Virtual Console, but getting twice the stages for a dollar more than either individual Lolo game, Mouse House isn't the better value, due to a lack of variety in puzzle-solving.

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