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"Mole Mania" (Game Boy)
This challenging puzzle game leaves a lot to be desired, including the cute cut scenes of the Mole family reuniting with each other. The increase in difficulty may be unforgiving for some.
I believe there exists a saying that goes, "there's nothing you can do that can't be done." Those lyrics were sung by one of my all-time favorite musical artists Tears For Fears. If impossible is possible, then solving all 175 puzzles on one tiny game cartridge is the thing for you. Behold: Mole Mania!
You're Muddy Mole, the husband of Maggie Mole and a proud parent to your children (young moles), and you found that your wife and kids were kidnapped by the evil [human] farmer Jinbei. Jinbei teases Muddy on where and how to rescue them, namely diving into Jinbei Land which is filled with mind-bending puzzles (though some are easy). Your goal is to solve every puzzle—every puzzle—on each level to face off against each level's boss in order to properly reach Level 8. Once doing so, you get to face against the evil Jinbei for a chance to save your wife Maggie Mole!
No need for a strategy guide: You will learn and find out subtle clues all throughout thanks to Grandpa Hint. Basically, the goal for every puzzle is to use a black ball to destroy what's called the exit wall, which can and only is destroyed by that black ball. Along the way, you'll find and learn about obstacles that need specific arranging and twisty tricks that even the puzzle aficionado will trip over. Not saying it's impossible but with a good common sense, a "think outside the box" kind of deal, and a strong knowledge in Logic, you're ready to face off one of Nintendo Game Boy's challenging games in its library.
Like any other mole, Muddy can dig and navigate underground by pressing A. Your HP is indicated by a Valentine-like heart, and Muddy can take 4 hits until it's game over. If you mess up on a technique/move while solving the puzzles, you have the option to restart that puzzle again, without resetting the game. To recover, every level has Grandpa Hint to help restore your health. Also, you learn about cabbages, in which they all—yes all of them—must be thrown into a hole for points and to obtain partial recovery of your health. There are at least 20 cabbages on each level and must be all thrown into a hole. The Bonus Round is throwing all 8 cabbages into the holes within the allotted time while trying to avoid getting hit by Jinbei. If Jinbei does hit you, you lose precious seconds on the clock, shortening your chance to throw all the cabbages into the hole. Worse, Jinbei walks around fast enough to close any holes you've dug yourself. Believe me, these bonus rounds frustrated me the most. You can hit Jinbei with a cabbage which renders him immobile for a few seconds, giving your uninterrupted time to throw the cabbages, but you must be very fast. Other than that, I simply recommend completing every level in just about everything.
Why? Well because the levels are tallied with the points system, out of 100, obtain all 100 points on each level makes it easier for you to enter through Level 8 which is mainly a castle filled with all bosses you must fight again (almost as if developers are following the Mega Man way: fight a boss one by one on each level/world, then fight them all again at once in the end before fighting the "top" boss of the whole game). You don't have to complete the bonus rounds nor do you need to have every cabbage thrown into the pit, but trust me, completing all seven levels with 100 points makes it easier.
Now let's remind ourselves one thing: this is Game Boy game. I can't imagine a kid in the mid-nineties with a full stock of batteries, or even with an AC adapter, being able to play this while leaving his/her Game Boy on the whole time trying to solve puzzles. Being that this game requires thinking fortells spending anywhere between 30-45 minutes, maybe more, on certain puzzles. Therefore, I strongly recommend playing this on the Super Game Boy for the Super Nintendo. (Saying that makes me think that this should've been a console game.)
Completing every puzzle you see on the map, you then fight against the level's boss which can get challenging but I find fun. The puzzles are there to get your techniques and tricks up and running because you'll need them to fight off the bosses. The only hardest boss was Jinbei himself. If you've played and completed all the bonus rounds, Jinbei acts the same in the final boss fight but much more vicious. Instead of throwing all the cabbages in the holes, you must destroy all four exit walls on each corner, all while Jinbei goes rampant in chasing and hitting you. It gets crazy as you will find out.
Completing and defeating the bosses on each level shows an adorable cut scene of Muddy's kids reuniting with him. Some cut scenes are funny, some are cute. Defeating Jinbei means finally rescuing your wife Maggie Mole. The game ends with credits. After that, at the end is a room filled with signs congratulating you and your completion, along with some stats for each level you completed.
The puzzle solving on this thing is quite creative—a page out of the logic-style of puzzle solving. The music is pretty good but it does get into your head since you'll be spending time thinking and executing some trials and errors. I would've loved to see more variety in musical tracks. Graphically, it's what you'd expect from a Game Boy game, but when played on the Super Game Boy, it comes with its own customized 4:3 border with the game title on the top right.
Because moles are often seen as pests, this is almost saying that animal's lives matter too. Being that the farmer is the antagonist, it's almost in contrast with the calling to animal rights slamming farmers in how they eliminate pests when planting crops. A lot could be said about that, but because I am and am not advocating on which side to take, it's a whole other discussion and will not talk about it here. Nevertheless, if this game is trying to tell us something, my interpretation would be just that.
As for the character art, the moles are cute enough that I believe deserve their own cartoon series (if it hasn't happened). On previous reviews here at SHOWSOTROS, I've called out on the media industry doing sequels and remakes, let alone superhero movies, but here's a cute idea they can try especially since animated movies are all the rave: produce a cartoon series or a film about Mole Mania featuring Muddy Mole and his family. (I don't know which one of you folks from the industry reads and hangs out here on our website but I know some of you do on occasion.) Trust me: over the years, my suggestions and ideas have been good enough to get stolen and/or to emulate from, so I discretely present you this idea to use.
Such idea is "not good enough?" Then the new kids on the block such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon may take in the idea. Don't get too hasty gentlemen, there won't be anything left.
(If you're an animator yourself and possibly want to take in this idea, let me know! These characters are too cute not to show to the world; the kids will truly love them.)
Another idea? Collectible plushies of the mole family. I'll be here all day, all week, all month, all year, all decade, all century, all lifetime, all next life and all life after that.
All in all, this is one of those games you feel like a winner after completing it. The challenge is fun, the story is simple, the music is fine, the difficulty is enough and this game deserves to be picked up. 'Dig' in!
- Cute characters and adorable cut scenes.
- Has its own dedicated screen border via Super Game Boy.
- Lots of opportunities to increase lives and saving your progress.
- Fun yet somewhat catchy music.
- Some levels are unbelievably difficult to solve.
- No sequel.
|Game Title||Mole Mania|
|Description||Help Muddy solve the puzzles of Jinbei Land!
Join Muddy Mole in a race to destroy enemies and obstacles in an attempt to defeat the evil farmer, Jinbei. Blast strategic exits using black balls and tunnel your way to the next action-packed level. Help Muddy solve the incredible puzzles of Jinbei Land and reunite him with his beloved mole family. You'll dig the fast pace and challenging fun of Mole Mania!
• Get into the mania above ground and tunnel underground through 175 challenging puzzles!
• Play alone as Muddy Mole or link up with the Game Link cable for 2-player, head-to-head fun!
• Battery-back memory saves your progress.
|Story||Once upon a time, there was a mole named Muddy. He lived happily with his wife, Maggie, and their seven children.
One day, when Maggie and the kids were playing outside, Jinbe the evil farmer appeared! Maggie tried to protect her children, but Jinbe was too strong for her.
Muddy came home to find a letter from Jinbe telling him the news. Muddy left for Jinbe Land to get his family back!
|ISBN / Bar Code number||0 45496 73056 7|
|Video Format||1.33:1 (4:3) Full screen|
|Audio Format||Mono (Stereo via Super Game Boy)|
|Rated||K-A (Kids to Adults)|
|Released||July 21, 1996 (JPN), February 1997 (USA), 1997 (EUR)|
|Video Specification||Monochrome (Color via Super Game Boy)|
|Product / Item / Catalog Number||961202 / DMG P AMOE|
|Copyright||TM and ® are trademarks of Nintendo of America, Inc. © 1996 Nintendo of America, Inc.|
|Other Formats||Nintendo Virtual Console 3DS|