As the saying goes, “While the cat’s away, the mice will play. If the cat stays home, he’s gonna get owned.”
Delusion Studio’s House of Mice takes the classic battle of good versus evil, David versus Goliath, and, well, cat versus mouse, and throws in some bombs and assorted cartoony violence a la Tom and Jerry.
From the moment the game is launched you’re hit with the simple-yet-cute animation style, and mischievously catchy (albeit repetitive) theme music. The short intro cartoon gives you all the motivation you need to get into the game: the mice are hungry, they see some food, the cat is hungry, it wants some mice. So how are the mice going to get the food? By turning into bombs and blowing up the cat, of course!
The gameplay itself is simple and addictive, following the puzzle solving model of games like Cut the Rope and Angry Birds. You simply swipe your finger, or “touch and hold” in the direction you want your mouse bomb to roll, and away they go, bouncing off walls until they run out of momentum and eventually blow up.. As easy as the basic gameplay is, many obstacles are thrown into each level to make things much more difficult. There are a slew of dangers in this household that make me wonder about it’s human inhabitants. These are including, but not limited to: spiked walls, elastic bands, Mario-esque pipes and tubes, fans, magnets, and live electric currents. The level of difficulty progresses steadily as you get further into a set of levels,and things can (and will) definitely get frustrating.
Players can choose to go directly for the cat and try to finish a level as quickly as possible, or they can make some detours along the way to pick up some cheese wedges. Each level contains three pieces of cheese placed strategically throughout the map, and getting them all is often no easy task. There is definitely a lot of strategic thinking involved, especially considering you only get three mouse bombs per level. A player must choose which cheese to get, what obstacles to dodge or blow up first, while still leaving one mouse to hit the cat.
To add to the addictiveness and replayability of the game, there is a scoring system based on a combination of the time it takes to hit the cat and how many cheeses you collect per stage. I, for one, am not satisfied until I’ve gotten all three cheeses AND completed the level in record time. Your top three scores are recorded for each stage, so you can see what you’re trying to beat specifically. Game center has been well-integrated into House of Mice, and you can see your overall global rank on the title screen, as well your rank in each individual level – perfect for those competitive players like me who want to be the best cat bomber in all the land. You can also upload your scores directly to Facebook and Twitter so your entire social network can know what a kitty-hating badass you are.
So far, with four stages, 20 levels per stage, and three cheeses per level, there is a TON to do, and many ways to improve your score. With simple and addictive gameplay, responsive touch controls, classic cartoon animation, and a competitive global ranking system, House of Mice is definitely one of those games that is worth wasting hours of your time. Plus, you get to blow cats up, so you’re doing the whole world a favor. Check it out.