Vector Unit is trying something new for the studio. They’ve been known for their racing games, including Beach Buggy Racing (Free) and Riptide GP: Renegade ($2.99). MouseBot: Escape from CatLab is somewhat familiar, as ‘driving’ still plays a role in the game, but this isn’t a racer. Instead, Vector Unit is trying to tackle a sort of challenging trial platformer. You control the eponymous MouseBot, a robotic mouse that’s being experimented on by cat scientists. They’re cute, but they’re here to run their experiments for some evil mad cat scientist. As MouseBot, you have to make it through their increasingly-hazardous tricks and traps. Get a first look at a new trailer for the game:
This starts off with you just steering MouseBot, who much like the Energizer Bunny, just keeps on going and going. A key part of the game is recognizing the patterns of different hazards, and keeping from running into a squishy robot mouse death. Giant spike stompers may be placed next to another, and you might have to drive right into one that’s down, because it’ll be on the way up as you drive past it. Later levels give you a handy jump, though there’s more dangers to try and outwit.
Also challenging you is the optional objective to collect pieces of cheese as you traverse the levels. Each level has a goal amount of cheese, with rewards for collecting all those cheeses. These cheeses test you to take some more dangerous paths through levels, such as outwitting a trap rather than going around. Also, there are mouse traps spread throughout the levels. These will take you out right away, and because they have cheeses on them, you have to pay particular attention to them. Is that a cheese to collect…or a mouse trap that will lead to your demise?
MouseBot features simple controls, where you can tap left and right to steer in that direction, with acceleration handled automatically. Levels have a time limit, but odds are that unless you’re running into a lot of walls or trying to backtrack for cheeses, you won’t hit it…for a while. You get a jump button as well, which is placed above the steering buttons. The touch controls work well, and jumping combined with steering works well enough thanks to the jump button on each side. If you prefer physical controllers, Vector Unit has you covered. There will be gamepad support on both iOS and Android versions of the game, including support for TV platforms like the Apple TV including remote support.
While MouseBot is free-to-play, players will be happy to know that there will be a big, one-time, premium unlock IAP. This doesn’t remove the monetization entirely, but what it does is that it eliminates the lives system entirely so you can restart as many times as you like. AS well, it gives you an additional cheese bonus for every level so you can unlock outfits more often. The energy tokens that are used to unlock more checkpoints are earned either by getting the cheese goal on a level, or by buying them outright. The levels are designed to not be overly long anyway, but it does help.
Mousebot is near completion, and should be releasing soon, in the spring. It’s an interesting game that feels a bit different from Vector Unit’s stuff while still familiar. In particular, the physics of your MouseBot give the game a feel like it’s serious despite being a kind of cute game. Though, despite any cuteness, later levels will test your reflexes and MouseBot navigation skills to their absolute peak. Definitely keep an eye out for this one from Vector Unit.