Here at JayIsGames, we try to bring you the best new browser games every single day. We've been doing so since 2003, which is about a million years in internet time. Jig Interactive's Castlemouse came out in 2001, so we couldn't really review it when it was first released. We're making up for that now. Do a barrel roll and hop into a time warp, it's time for some chain reaction puzzle fun, 2001 style!
Looks like there's a mouse in the castle! It's okay, though, everybody who's ever watched a cartoon knows that all you have to do to get rid of mice is buy a cat! Put the cat next to the mouse and it'll go running in the opposite direction. The real problem comes when the cat refuses to get close enough to the mouse to get rid of it. Then you've got to add more and more animals, until eventually you have elephants chasing lions chasing bears, and it starts to look less like a castle and more like a zoo run by Rube Goldberg.
The puzzles get gradually more difficult as you advance, but they can be tweaked and restarted as often as you like. The timer is constantly running, however, so you'll want to figure out the solutions as quickly as possible. Fortunately, hints have been provided for when you get stuck (and believe me, you WILL get stuck), but using them adds time on to your total score, so you'll want to do so as infrequently as possible. You can also skip the hints entirely and view the solution, but doing so will disable your timer for the remainder of the game. And what fun would that be?
Analysis: Graphically, Castlemouse can't compete with the games that are being developed these days. The good news is, it won't even matter once you get started. Just think of it as retro graphics before they were trendy. The pictures are nothing fancy, but they don't really need to be. As long as you can tell the difference between a mouse and a bear, what else do you need? As a sidenote, if you CAN'T tell the difference between a mouse and a bear, you probably shouldn't go camping.
The real appeal of Castlemouse, and the reason that it's stayed around for so long, is in the gameplay. It's a simple premise that can be picked up quickly, but actually mastering the game is a whole different story. The puzzles start simple, but as you progress, more and more animals are added, and it'll take everything you've got to get that mouse into the hole. But don't burn your brain out too quickly, there are a total of 150 levels, with each one more difficult than the last. The ability to skip levels is a much-appreciated feature, so if you get stuck on one level, you can always move on and come back to it later. Old or not, Castlemouse is a fantastic example of what puzzle games should be. It's long, challenging, and fun enough to keep you coming back for another 10 years.
Mac OS X users take note: Unfortunately, the game is so old that it uses code that breaks the latest Shockwave plug-in for Mac. However, we have been successful playing on a Mac using Safari running in Rosetta mode. Check our Support page for information on how to do that.