Also On: PS3, PS4, PC
Publisher: Curve Digital
Developer: Crunching Koalas
It's not hard to figure out where MouseCraft draws its inspiration from: it's basically Lemmings, but with mice. Sure, there's a hint of Tetris in there, and yes, the game makes some nods towards a plot with a few quick cutscenes about a mad scientist, but really, when you get down to it, MouseCraft is Lemmings with a different rodent.
On the upside, of course, at least it's Lemmings done well. Having endured a pair of mediocre A-Men games that suffered from rapidly diminishing returns, I know firsthand how quickly the formula can grow stale, and that's not the case here. There's plenty of variety among MouseCraft's puzzling levels, and the game throws enough curveballs at you that it doesn't seem totally derivative. The Tetris connection, for example, comes from the fact that you have to slot in blocks of various shapes to help your mice reach their destinations — not exactly an earth-shattering innovation, but still a nice change of pace. Similarly, you get advance notice on some levels' obstacles by watching little rat robots plummet to their deaths, blow up and drown; overall, they may not add a whole lot, but they still provide the game with some fun color.
And speaking of color: MouseCraft looks nice, especially on the Vita's screen. Compared to its direct competitors on the handheld — which is to say, those aforementioned A-Men games, plus Lemmings Touch — this game is pretty visually appealing. That doesn't mean there's more to it than a scientist looking ominous in the background and a bit of animation here and there, but on the whole, it's nice to look at.
All in all, though, what you see is exactly what you get. You're still trying to get all your mice from Point A to Point B, and you have to do that over and over again. It's not exactly a formula that lends itself to tremendous amounts of innovation, so if you're looking to MouseCraft for that, you'll be sorely disappointed. If you just want some enjoyably pleasant puzzle-platforming, however, then you're in luck, because that's exactly what this is — no more, and no less.