I seem to spend a lot of time talking about control systems for iPhone games, but it's for good reason.

The iPhone, unlike most gaming platforms, allow the developers to pick and choose what control system works best for their game. With a relatively blank multi-touch slate, options are varied and we've seen both successes and failures in this area. From a practical standpoint, good control systems need to "disappear" from your consciousness and bad control systems are the ones with which you constantly struggle.

Plaid World's Mouse House [App Store] is a game that was originally released over two months ago. It's a level-based puzzle game in which you play a mouse that needs to collect all the cheese on a level to make it to the exit. The gameplay is similar to Loopy Laboratory in which there are a series of defined obstacles that must be overcome in order to clear a level. Obstacles include rats, slime, movable balls, breakaway floors, and projectile shooting bees.

At the time of its release, I thought it was a fine game, but had major issues with its control system. The original (and still default) control system involves tapping relative to the mouse to move him across the screen. As a result, you need to constantly readjust your fingers so your taps track the mouse. With the most recent 1.1 update, however, the developer has added a Swipe method which is the same one adopted by Loopy Laboratory. Single swipe (anywhere on the screen) moves your character and swipe-and-hold products continuous movement. While it may seem like a minor change, it was the difference between being able to complete the game vs just giving up in frustration.

With the new controls, I found the game itself entertaining, though each of the levels are relatively simple so the included 50 go by quickly. And as with all level-based puzzle games, replay value is limited. Of note, however, the game has just gone on sale for $0.99 (down from $4.99) and the developer has promised that 50 more levels will be released over time.

This gameplay video shows Mouse House in action:


[ low bandwidth video ]

App Store Link: App Store, $0.99

TouchArcade Rating

  • http://www.nothowitlooks.com Brett Archibald

    As I've said in the forums, this is a really great game, and the new controls make it a much more enjoyable (and playable) experience.
    And for 99c, it's an absolute bargain!

  • http://www.nothowitlooks.com Brett Archibald

    As I've said in the forums, this is a really great game, and the new controls make it a much more enjoyable (and playable) experience.
    And for 99c, it's an absolute bargain!

  • slembcke

    This game has rather well done (and cute!) graphics. The gameplay is simple, fun and reminiscent of old tile based maze/puzzle games. If you are worried that there are not enough levels, there are 50, and they will take you quite a while to beat.

    Quite the steal for a dollar.

  • slembcke

    This game has rather well done (and cute!) graphics. The gameplay is simple, fun and reminiscent of old tile based maze/puzzle games. If you are worried that there are not enough levels, there are 50, and they will take you quite a while to beat.

    Quite the steal for a dollar.

  • HerbertKornfeld

    It’ll be interesting to see the sales figures following this update, and more importantly, this exposure. The developer has been experimenting with various price points, and according to their blog, they haven’t sold more than 6 copies per day in more than a month.

  • HerbertKornfeld

    It’ll be interesting to see the sales figures following this update, and more importantly, this exposure. The developer has been experimenting with various price points, and according to their blog, they haven’t sold more than 6 copies per day in more than a month.

  • http://ims.co.nz/BurnBall Tim Haines

    Nice review Arn, I look forward to trying this game again tonight with the new control system.

  • http://ims.co.nz/BurnBall Tim Haines

    Nice review Arn, I look forward to trying this game again tonight with the new control system.

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  • HerbertKornfeld

    Just a quick follow up about my previous comment.

    As expected, the sales increased dramatically. From their blog, they claim that they sold 163 copies in the day immediately following this post. Impressive.

  • HerbertKornfeld

    Just a quick follow up about my previous comment.

    As expected, the sales increased dramatically. From their blog, they claim that they sold 163 copies in the day immediately following this post. Impressive.

  • TheBunny

    12/16/2008 - Units  153 - Price $.99 - Gross $151.47  - Profit $108.0
    With the Update + Price Drop + Press on toucharcade.com this gets us up to #61 on the puzzle chart and #7 on rpgs
    Number #61 on puzzles is almost far enough up to actually matter.
    Maybe that will generate some more sales.
    Stay tuned for more exciting Mouse House sales action!

  • TheBunny

    12/16/2008 - Units  153 - Price $.99 - Gross $151.47  - Profit $108.0
    With the Update + Price Drop + Press on toucharcade.com this gets us up to #61 on the puzzle chart and #7 on rpgs
    Number #61 on puzzles is almost far enough up to actually matter.
    Maybe that will generate some more sales.
    Stay tuned for more exciting Mouse House sales action!

  • Spiny Norman

    Excellent and fun game. The nice snes-like graphics are really cute.

  • Spiny Norman

    Excellent and fun game. The nice snes-like graphics are really cute.