Mouse & Crane (Switch) Review

Developed by a small European team, Mouse & Crane is a cooperative puzzle adventure targeting 4–7-year-old players. It is one of those games that a parent can play with their youngster to work together to complete simple tasks; a great starter game especially on Switch.

With each player holding a single JoyCon, one player needs to perform one task to help the other. For example, Player 1 might need to flick the analog stick to swing a wrecking ball to knock down some blocks so Player 2 can progress. Or one player might need to fling crates so the other player can jump to a higher position. As another example, one player will need to shoot those pesky scrapcrabs with a cannon to clear a path to the exit. There is no way to die or get game over but there are hazards to stutter your progress; the challenge remains light and friendly.

Actually, the biggest challenge comes from the play control. Sometimes the player will need to use the JoyCons motion control or build momentum using the analog stick.  Either way, control is loose and floaty at best and remains the biggest point of frustration.  Personally, I played this game with my 6-year old nephew and 4-year old niece and they had trouble shooting the crabs using the JoyCon, got frustrated, and literally walked away in rage quitting frustration. It wasn’t until Uncle Zachary cleared the path for them, after some trial and error, did they come back to finish the stage once the most challenging part was completed. Then, they had a fun time in the next stage when it didn’t demand as much.

The presentation is very European. Meaning, the kooky-animated paper craft characters and environments, complete with giant googly eyes, provides a humorous visual style. It doesn’t look bad by any means, it just isn’t the bright, cartoony visuals my niece and nephew are accustomed (Paw Patrol or PJ Masks, for example).

It is funny because while we played our way through the campaign, I asked both my niece and nephew what score they would give this game out of ten while playing. When frustrated with the floaty controls, they exclaimed “a four!”  But when they finished a stage, they agreed to above average numbers, fluctuating a bit along the way… which made me laugh. Also, I am playing this pre-release and was told there will be hefty day-1 patch to tighten gameplay and squash bugs.

Mouse & Crane achieves its main goal – provide a simple, gaming experience an adult can play with a young player to learn how to use a controller and the importance of teamwork. It doesn’t hurt that there is an overall recycling theme told along the way. No adult will want to play this by themselves but when you have a kindergartener at your side, it becomes an enjoyable and memory making experience when you are not fighting the loose controls.

SCORE: 7/10

Also Play: Part Time UFO

Don’t Forget About: Ibb & Obb

Consider It Too: Pode

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @ZackGaz

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