Genius Greedy Mouse is an adorable single-player reboot of the classic mouse-in-a-maze puzzle game.
You play as a charmingly chubby pink clay mouse on its never ending quest to find (and eat) all the cheese. The concept is simple, but the execution is often complex as you weave through mazes, avoid traps, and use a variety of tools to help fill your face. Genius Greedy Mouse is a game where fatness is not just encouraged, it’s rewarded.
Going into this, I strongly suspected I would like the game based on its claymation-like graphics. On startup, I appreciated the custom loading screen with its cheesy progress bar. The game loaded and a twangy guitar began playing a catchy, folksy tune. “Not too bad,” I thought. Then a singer joined the song, whispering “muh muh mouse” to the beat of the music. I was sold. Silly is great, but silly done with a high production value is gold (or in this case, cheddar).
Like many puzzle games, Genius Greedy Mouse has themed levels with numbered boards, which must be completed to progress to new areas. What makes this game unique is that the different levels and boards are seamlessly interwoven into the fabric of the game in a way that makes it indistinguishable from the playing field.
The “Village” is where the different levels and boards are accessed. Like the active play areas, the Village is a maze, and each board is accessed by entering a different section. In many cases, you have to solve a small puzzle to access the entrance to a board. The puzzle itself offers you a clue on what you will encounter once you’re in the actual game, and it gives you a chance to interact with new elements before you have to do it live.
As you progress, the mouse encounters new obstacles and tools to help on its journey, like bullets, balls, and the inexplicable floating jellyfish. Why is there a jellyfish capable of destroying rock in a mouse maze? The world may never know.
Most early boards are not timed, but there are a few areas where the maze is being flooded, and the mouse has to escape before drowning. Please know, this mouse is genuinely committed to fatness and mere survival is not reason enough to abandon the last chunk of swiss.
To beat each board, the mouse must consume enough cheese to open the exit. The game allows you to complete the levels without time or movement restraints, so playing without pressure is an option. There is a handy counter that lets you know how much cheese you need to escape, but once you’ve reached that level, the counter keeps going to reveal the amount of cheese necessary to reach ultimate fatness level. Sometimes, there’s still cheese left over after ultimate fatness has been achieved. Is that an excuse to leave them behind? Of course not!
I prefer to only list problems that are significant bugs or glitches; however, there are times when the features of a game can become an issue that affects playability.
Genius Greedy Mouse limits direct communication with the player. It’s nice because it aids immersion and too much handholding is often a distraction. However, when the player doesn’t know how to progress, and there are no in-game clues, it becomes a problem.
The issue I have is obtaining stars. Completing a level gives you one out of four available. You need them to unlock new levels. Unfortunately, the game does not communicate what is required to get those stars. The first two are easy: eat all the cheese and complete the level. This still leaves two on the table and no clues on how to get them.
I went through a series of trials to claim the missing two. In the maze levels, speed is key. In the other levels, nothing I tried obtained the elusive third or fourth star. I attempted speed runs, reduced movements, and destroying everything on-screen. Still nothing. It would be less frustrating if I knew what I was doing wrong. Am I still not fast enough? Am I missing hidden cheese? If it weren’t a newly released game, at this point I would resort to Google. However, I firmly believe that basic mechanics of a game should not require a Google search to figure out.
There is very little I would change about this game except adding a “Help” button in the menu that explains how the items and star requirements function for players who need a little more info than what is already built-in. Hand-holding isn’t a problem if it’s tucked away in a help screen where only the people who need it have to see it.
Despite the issue with unattainable stars, Genius Greedy Mouse is an addictively enjoyable puzzle game. The graphics will appeal to claymation fans, and the puzzles offer a nice challenge without being rage-inducingly frustrating.
Final Score: 8