Hey buddy. Watcha doin? Playing a little Minesweeper instead of doing those TPS reports like the boss asked? Hey, relax, I won't tell the boss, I swear. I just gotta ask, Minesweeper? Really? That's so nineties. I mean, come on, what's next? You're gonna start wearing your clothes backward (again)? Pump up basketball shoes? Look, before you try to bring back the slap bracelet and Limp Bizkit let me introduce you to the puzzle/strategy game, Mamono Sweeper from Homajaka Games. It's like Minesweeper for people who've heard of MP3 players.
Mamono Sweeper is very similar to its ancient ancestor with some key differences. The first is that instead of bombs concealed behind anonymous tiles, you're sweeping for monsters. And you can't just avoid them, eventually you're going to have to reveal and kill all of the monsters on the board if you want to win. This is where you run into another twist that Mamono throws into the mix. Each monster has its own level. If your experience level is equal or greater to a monster, than you can click that monster without fear of taking on damage. Be careful, though, because if you click on a monster that is a higher level than you, he'll take some of your precious few hit points, or if the monster's high enough in level, it will kill you outright. Thankfully, every time you kill a monster without dying, you earn experience points. Pick up enough of those, and you'll advance to the next level letting you kill more monsters safely.
Which brings me to the other biggest difference between Mamono Sweeper and Minesweeper; the numbering system. In the classic original, the numbers simply told you how many bombs were adjacent to any one given square. In Mamono, the numbers that you see are equal to the sum of all the levels of all the monsters adjacent to that square. Thus, if you reveal a block with a three that could mean that one of the adjacent blocks is one level three monster or three level one monsters. Don't forget that you can click on a monster you've already "killed" in order to get a number for that square as well.
What you get when you take all these variations on the original formula and put them together is a game that looks like Minesweeper, plays like Minesweeper, is as addictive as Minesweeper, but is ultimately deeper and more fleshed out than Minesweeper. The original eventually became a game of pattern recognition as you learned to interpret various number configurations into mine locations. Here a more complex level of math is involved making such connections trickier to make, and the ability to take damage without dying introduces the sacrificial choices, that is, do you take a level four monster now in order to level up quicker, or do you play it safe and spend the extra time looking for lower level enemies? Thus strategy plays a much larger role in Mamono Sweeper than it ever did in Minesweeper.
And it's customizable, offering easy and hard modes right below the playing window, so you don't have an excuse not to play. So if you missed this gem when we first featured it for Link Dump Friday, be sure to give this game a shot. And, oh, hey, is that a CD player? That's so... quaint.