Ads 468x60px

Sep 6, 2011

Is molesweeping the latest trend?

Mole Control
Game Category: Casual - Puzzle
Developer / Distributor: Remode / Mumbo Jumbo
Release Date: 20 Jan 2010
Rating: ESRB - Everyone

Mole ControlIntroduction
"Go away... I'm busy molesweeping."
"Shhh! I need to concentrate or the mole is going to damage my buggy."
"Drats! I drove my buggy into a mole and it exploded."
"According to my calculations, there should be a mole right at this square!"
"Oh no! I tried to suck a mole out from here but there was none... look at the mess it did to my buggy."
"Now, how shall I use that mole-tiplier?"

So, what does that remind you of?

In case you couldn't guess what Mole Control does, here's a summary of my review in just ten words - "Mole Control is a great modern day variation of Minesweeper!

Go ahead, read on... don't think that this new release from Remode is not fun in any way. If you have played Minesweeper before (who hasn't?), you should know that it can get quite addictive. Well, you should be glad to know that Mole Control is equally fun and addictive; and an absolutely great game for all in the family.

Help Molar Creek with their mole problem
Back when we were busy mine sweeping with Microsoft's handy little game (first bundled with Windows 3.1), many people were addicted to getting the fastest possible time in Expert mode. That was where you had to find 99 mines in a rectangular game board. Over the years, there have been variations to minesweeper, such as game boards that used hexagons or triangles, and even game boards in three dimensions.

Mole Control throws convention away by introducing to you several unique features which I list below. Following the list, I will explain each point in even more detail.
  • Story - Just like most modern games, a backdrop story has been added to the game.
  • Unique Game play - You drive a buggy to uncover moles instead of mines. You also have an Adventure mode consisting and an endless Time Attack mode to play in.
  • Interesting Level Design - Unconventional game boards litter the game, instead of boring rectangular grids filled with mines.
  • Power Ups - You get a couple of power-ups to find and use on game boards.
Don't be mistaken, no dentistry is involved
The story in Mole Control is downright bizarre. You will help the inventor Dr Kraft pilot his crazy invention, a buggy with a vacuum hose, on a mole hunt. Molar Creek is apparently well known for her people who live side by side with peculiar exploding moles. On the eve of the town's annual Mole Control competition, it seems an army of these moles have been released in six different locations around town by some mysterious villian.

Who would want to sabotage the town's annual event? It's up to you to pilot Dr Kraft and his weird contraption through 35 totally randomized and re-playable levels and to try and suck up every single one of these dangerous explosive burrowing mammals.

Nice to mole you - meet you
Unique Game Play
You have direct control of Dr Kraft and his buggy in Mole Control. You can drive in all four cardinal and four intercardinal directions - in layman terms, that means you can drive in the directions of N, S, E, W, and NE, NW, SE, and SW. There are some exceptions to this:
  • You can't drive the buggy when there is an obstacle in the way (a statue, a fence, a hole, etc.)
  • You can fly directly to a non-grassy square (no matter the distance) - for example, a garden tile, a tree stump, or a paved tile.
  • You can fly directly to any tile you have explored before.
To deduce where moles are hiding, you will rely on numbers that appear on squares you drive over. These numbers are like the numbers you uncover in a regular minesweeper game. That means, a square with the number "1" means there is a single mole hidden in the remaining 8 squares around this square. It's your task to find out which square contains the mole and to suck it out with your buggy.

Mo-o-ole, mo-o-o-le...
The buggy will get damaged in two ways:
  • You drive over a mole which literally explodes in Dr Kraft's face.
  • You attempt to suck for a mole from a square only to find that there is none there.
Luckily, there are two repair kits located in each level of Adventure mode.

As for Time Attack mode, your buggy can survive getting damaged. However, this ability to survive comes at the expense of a time penalty. So, if you drive around with impunity, you will run out of time to complete the level.

Nabbing a mole gets you a time bonus in Time Attack mode
Interesting Level Design
You get more than 35 different levels to play in Mole Control. The Adventure mode is a romp through 19 levels with a tutorial on your very first outing. You will be travelling through six zones in your adventure such as Creek Street, Molar Park, Old Road, Scrapyard, and two more you have to discover for yourself. Time Attack mode offers you another 18 levels divided into six Divisions - Beginner, Novice, Professional, Expert, Champion, and Master.

The levels in Mole Control are not the standard rectangular boards that you see in Minesweeper. You get to play in lush 3D fields that are fenced in non-standard shapes. Fences may sometimes partition the fields into smaller fields that you can only access by flying your buggy over to a non-grassy tile over there. These fields are also decorated with all kinds of interesting objects that fit the theme of the area. Expect to see fences, statues, flags, cars, cannons, and more.

Which way shall I go?
Power Ups
Other than the standard dark brown mole you get to suck up, there are other coloured moles that give you a special power when you pick them up. Here are the abilities offered by these super-moles lined up for your scrutiny:
  • Golden mole offers you the chance to unlock the story for that zone. In my opinion, the stories (that comes with some interesting artwork) are more suited for kids to read and enjoy.
  • Orange mole is a supermole that has the bomb ability which will take out all other moles within a 3 by 3 square grid. Just point to the square you desire, and your buggy will shoot the orange mole at the desired square.
  • Pink mole is female loaded with "phero-moles". Her ability causes all other moles within a 3 by 3 square grid to reveal themselves for a few seconds.
  • Blue mole is a weird fellow; he causes all moles within a 3 by 3 square grid to shuffle themselves. Use the blue mole when you are stuck and have no other way to go.
  • Yellow mole works like the orange mole but it additionally creates a safe zone in the shape of a cross.
  • Red mole is a "mole-tiplier" that must be used in conjunction with the previous four super moles. For example, a 3 by 3 square grid gets multiplied into a 5 by 5 square grid.
Time to study your "mole-tiplication" tables
The menus and story boards feature nicely drawn 2D art that lends to the casual and kids theme. The main game is played out in lovely 3D, so enjoy the lush fields surrounded by fences, pine trees, and other bric-a-bracs. The buggy is a lovely hovercraft-like invention that is even comes equipped with 3D animating helicopter blades to fly itself to other squares.

The moles hide themselves underground, but now and then you will see the golden mole stick himself out from one of the holes. You have to sneak up from behind to catch him. As for the rest of the supermoles, you just have to point at a location and a hilarious animation sequence of the mole being spat out from the buggy. The unfortunate mole will fly through the air and land on your chosen square.

Look ma, a huge whirligig
The main theme music features quite a catchy tune. I also found the in-game music to be light-hearted and easy going on the ears. There is no voice acting in the game, but you do get to hear a lot of explosion sounds as you take out mole after mole after mole.

  • Mole Control is an addictive variation to minesweeper that is presented with lovely and kid-friendly 3D graphics.
  • You can get addicted easily to molesweeping without realizing that an hour or two has already passed.
  • There's also the Time Attack Mode which extends the life of the game after you have completed the Adventure.
  • The animation sequences of the buggy and the flying supermoles are quite hilarious to watch.
  • An interesting variety of supermoles with interesting abilities that take the game in a new direction.
Time to do the mole shuffle
  • You have to rely on driving your buggy to every square to uncover numbers on your game board. This results in a very slow paced game that takes at least a half hour to complete each level.
  • Just a thought - wouldn't it be good if they had implemented cooperative multiplayer in Mole Control?  
Mole Control has been a true surprise for me. I am still playing it ever since I installed it on my computer. It's one of those games that takes an evergreen game concept, invents an interesting backdrop story, adds a dollop of game play variety, and presents it with a new coat of paint.

Thank you Remode for bringing back that nostalgic experience of minesweeping nights as I tried to beat my best times in Expert mode.

Unmask the villian in Mole Control
Daily PC Game Review Score: 7.5 / 10
Review Date: 6 Sep 2011


Post a Comment