Thursday, 14 March 2013

Review: Mouse Trapz for iPhone and iPad

Mouse Trapz by Delicious62 LLC is probably one of the puzzle games for iPhone and iPad with the most complicated rules. The end result is quite interesting.
The rules are: mice are scared of cats. Cats are scared of dogs. Dogs are scared of monkeys. Monkeys are scared of humans. And humans are scared of mice.
But that's not all! Mice like cheese. Finally, all animals are scared of firecrackers.

Intriguing, isn't it?

The play area is a 10x10 grid, containing some background, some animals/humans, and, most importantly, some mouse traps.
The goal is to send every mouse into a trap.
To achieve the goal, you are given an inventory of animals/humans that you need to place on the grid.

When you tap the Start button, the characters will start to follow the game's rules. For example, if a mouse is next to a cat, it will start running in the opposite direction.
In the example above, placing the human next to the monkey will cause a chain reaction until the mouse runs into the trap.

What if an animal is subject to conflicting forces, for example a mouse is next to two cats? Easy: they'll just stop, puzzled, with a question mark over their head.

In most levels there is also the secondary goal to collect "coins". In the example above, the coin needs to be collected by the dog. Each collected coin awards a hint that you can use when you are stuck on a puzzle. It's also possible to buy hints using in-app purchases.

The variety and complexity of the puzzles that are generated by the set of rules is endless. Initially you just need to make characters run in one direction, but soon the running paths need to zigzag around the board, and then timing also becomes crucial, because you need to make the paths of different animals intersect at the right time. This requires careful planning, because you need to figure out everything in your head before tapping the Start button.

The game comes with 100 prepackaged levels. A nice detail: each level has a title, often a joke like "What's Up Dog?". There's also a level editor, and the ability to play the levels created by other users (hundreds of them).

Because of its nature, I think programmers will find this puzzle appealing. But it should also be interesting for all people that want to measure against a nontrivial set of rules.

Summary

Nontrivialness★★★★☆
Logical Reasoning★★★★☆
User Interface★★★★☆
Presentation★★★★☆
Loading Time★★★★★
Saves Partial Progress
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©2013 Nicola Salmoria. Unauthorized use and/or duplication without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicola Salmoria and nontrivialgames.blogspot.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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