House of Mice is yet another physics-based puzzler that revolves around cutesy animal antics. This time, some rather nefarious-looking mice are out to get the cat who stands in the way of their dream meal. To take out their feline opponent, the mice roll up into a ball, pinball across the screen, and explode. How else would a mouse take out a cat, right?
Absurd premise aside, the setup enables an array of incredibly challenging puzzles. Controls are simple: you just touch the mouse and swipe your finger in the direction you want it to go. Once in motion, the mouse either bounces off whatever it hits or explodes. If the little vermin hits the side of the screen or any of the variety of wall objects (including elastic segments), he’ll behave like a furry pinball. If he hits an actual obstacle, however, such as a wooden box, spikes, electrical fields, the cat, or any of the numerous other trap-like objects, he explodes.
Go off like a time bomb.
As the game progresses, it throws some interesting elements into the mix. Magnets, pipes, electrical outlets, and cannons all come into play eventually. The main goal is avoid the obstacles and hit the cat, but the 80 levels also contain three pieces of cheese. Just getting to the cat can be enough of a trial in many of the levels, but getting all the cheese will task even the most diehard of puzzle players. It’s this difficulty that really sets House of Mice apart from the games it’s clearly inspired by.
The game doesn’t have the personality of either Angry Birds or Cut the Rope, and the graphics are utilitarian at best with minimal animation. That said, the gameplay is easy to get right into, even if the pinball-like physics are occasionally flakey. The mouse generally shoots forward to match your finger swipe, but at times the controls feel unresponsive when making slight adjustments in direction.
House of Mice isn’t likely to hit the kind of classic, money-making status of the games that inspired it. It’s not quite as polished or engaging, but it still offers an interesting alternative for gamers in need of a quick puzzle fix. The game is especially ideal for those looking for more challenge in their puzzlers.