Minesweeper Genius Review

Released 2019
Platform Switch (reviewed), Android, iOS, PlayStation, XBOX, Windows
Publisher Blowfish Games (Website)
Developer Mother Gaia Studio (Website)
Homepage (Visit Website)
Players 1
Category Puzzle
Deductive Logic

Far from a new game, but it’s new to Switch, so I nabbed it. It’s not the Minesweeper I remember, but it’s not a bad evolution either.

As an older computer geek, I have had a soft spot for Minesweeper for decades. It used to come bundled with Windows, all the way back from Windows 3.1. It’s only Windows 10 that stopped that little tradition, but you can still get it from the Microsoft Store.

It’s far from the greatest game in the world. But it is a satisfyingly frustrating logic puzzle, and if you just want a little bit of a distraction, it fit the bill fine. Not a game for everyone, but it was free and it scratched an itch.

As I mentioned in Last Week’s Gaming a couple of weeks ago, I was browsing through the Switch eShop, and I saw Minesweeper Genius for something like AUD$1.20. So I thought what the hell and gave it a try.

Minesweeper Classic
I almost grew up with the screen. Such a simple concept should not be so hard!

Since when does Minesweeper have a story?

One of the first differences you see from ‘classic’ Minesweeper is that you control a character called Aristotle. You have been captured by aliens or something, and you need to solve their tests.

Honestly, the story isn’t essential or even necessary to understand. I have yet to hit a cutscene or anything along those lines, so you just jump in and play.

So the only ‘story’ you have to deal with is that you need to complete a variety of different puzzles and then get to the end.

Minesweeper Genius - Early Levels
The early levels are very simple - at least, for someone that has already played a lot of Minesweeper

Puzzles? It’s Minesweeper, isn’t it?

Yes, but with a small difference. When you play Minesweeper, you need to clear all the non-mined squares. In Minesweeper Genius, you need to guide Aristotle through the level. It’s a small functional difference, but it is a difference.

What makes me put Minesweeper Genius more into the puzzle category than deductive logic is the fact he can’t backtrack. You do need to find the one path to the level exit.

The initial levels are very simple and let you get a feel for how to play the game. If you judge Minesweeper Genius from the first few areas, you would think it was a ridiculously simple game with little challenge.

Minesweeper Genius - Level Select
Each area is split into 10 levels of the same difficulty level

There are a few unique tiles that allow you to jump a square, or move rows/columns in a direction. As you get into larger areas, more indicators are placed within the level itself, not just the number of mines in a row or column. These take a while to get to though. So there is a bit of ‘stick with it’ for Minesweeper veterans.

Once you get through an area, you unlock the advanced puzzles. Early on, these ramp up the difficulty significantly. So if you are looking for more from the game, this is a good way to keep you interested as you get through the lower difficulty levels. If you are learning, you can come back when you have a better grasp of the game.

Minesweeper Genius - Early Advanced Level
The advanced levels ramp up the complexity nicely

So I just look up solutions online. What’s the fun in that?

So when you play, if you get through a level without dying, you get a 3-star rating. So if you complete every level with 3 stars, I am guessing that’s your completion goal?

I made a few mistakes at an early level, but Aristotle’s body was a grim reminder a mine was there. So I thought I would retry the level now I knew the layout, and keep my scoring streak going.

Reloading the level, it had changed entirely. So no walkthroughs are available – you have to complete the randomly generated puzzle!

This actually made me excited. Once I find an area I can just jump into and play with the difficulty I am looking for, I can play an endless amount of levels. So this isn’t a ‘one and done’ run through, which I appreciate.

So should I buy Minesweeper Genius?

If you are interested enough to look for this review, probably. Especially if you pick it up for sale like I did for only a couple of dollars.

Looking around, it has been released on almost everything. You could get it on your phone, PC, PlayStation and Xbox. Personally, I think mobile and Switch make the most sense, maybe on PC.

Minesweeper Genius is a game you pick up for a few minutes at a time and forget about until you next want a quick diversion. I couldn’t see myself firing up my PlayStation or Xbox for a few games. I have been firing up my Switch while something is playing on the TV though, and it’s been fun.

Minesweeper Genius - Progress so far
The best praise I can give is that I actually want to finish all the levels

Overall Thoughts

Minesweeper Genius is an evolution of the classic Minesweeper game. Straightforward and challenging, it’s a great way to pass a few minutes while keeping your brain engaged.

The music is repetitive, and the visual style could use some variation. Still, Minesweeper Genius is a solid game and a great new take on a classic game.

If you are a Minesweeper veteran though, you will need to spend at least 15 minutes clearing the ‘easy’ levels before getting to a real challenge though.

Overall
7.5/10
7.5/10

Pros

  • Clean (if bland) visual style
  • Very accessible and easy to pick up
  • Good challenge difficulty curve for beginners
  • Random puzzle generation leads to infinite playability

Cons

  • The soundtrack can be annoying
  • More suited to mobile gaming than dedicated play sessions

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Yeti in Wahroonga Village – April 15th, 2020

Week 39 Yeti Hunt

The Yeti Hunt is over!

As I mentioned last week, in trying to make changes to the content some things are being stopped on the site.

So for the foreseeable future, this means the Yeti Hunt is going away. Next week, I will be picking a Kickstarter or new game announcement, and highlighting why I am excited about it. Look at the Marvel Love Letter article for an example.

But I can’t leave you without reveling the locations from last week’s hunt!

Last Week’s Answer

Yeti – Hiding behind Mickey’s Foot
Foot 1 – On the Yellow Submarine
Foot 2 – On Jeep by Iron Man

Week 39 Answers

Did you find the Yeti? Do you want the hunts to continue? Let me know in the comments, or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter/Instagram!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Messed Up Game Description – April 4th, 2020

Let’s see how you go with this classic game

It’s another week, and another messed up game descrption! Rabbit nailed last weeks game, so I thought I would try another simple change.

Only one word has been changed, and it’s trademarked. That’s enough clues 🙂

If you are of a certain age, I am sorry if the jingle gets stuck in your head!

This is the game with the lunchroom dice roller. It’s a simplified Pachisi variant in which only one die is rolled per turn.

The text should read:

In this classic word game, players use their seven drawn letter-tiles to form words on the gameboard. Each word laid out earns points based on the commonality of the letters used, with certain board spaces giving bonuses. But a word can only be played if it uses at least one already-played tile or adds to an already-played word. This leads to slightly tactical play, as potential words are rejected because they would give an opponent too much access to the better bonus spaces.

Did you get it? Good luck with today’s puzzle!

JohnHQLD

Yeti in Wahroonga Village – April 1st, 2020

Can you find the Yeti and the Footprints?

Did you see the sneaky foot last week? It’s there I promise, April Fools Day aside!

Because it is April Fools Day, I tried to make today a little easier. There will be enough false headlines and rumours to sort through thanks to the internet!

Last Week’s Answer

Yeti – At Hot Dog Stand

Foot 1 – On Rooftop By Dragon

Foot 2 – On Top of Dragon

Week 37 Solution

Best of luck this week!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Messed Up Game Description – March 28th, 2020

How badly can I Scramble this week’s game description?

Hi everyone!

I need to sort out my game library. And my BGG Library tool. Work has meant both projects have taken a back seat. Well, work and the videos I have posted over the last couple of days. Check out my first impressions on Doom Eternal and my Tokaido Digital Gameplay if you haven’t already!

But today, I need your help working out a game description that I have gotten wrong. This week I didn’t mess up too much – I only substitued two words.

Can you tell me what game this is?

In this classic sofa game, players use their seven drawn attack-tiles to form sofas on the gameboard. Each sofa laid out earns points based on the commonality of the attacks used, with certain board spaces giving bonuses. But a sofa can only be played if it uses at least one already-played tile or adds to an already-played sofa. This leads to slightly tactical play, as potential sofas are rejected because they would give an opponent too much access to the better bonus spaces.

Last Weeks Answer – Guess Who!

Guess Who Cover Art

The text should read:

The mystery face game where you flip over a collection of faces with different color hair, eye color, hair, hats, glasses etc. to deduce who the secret person is that your opponent has chosen.

Did you get it? Good luck with today’s puzzle!

JohnHQLD

Yeti in Wahroonga Village – March 25th, 2020

Week 37

Can you find the Yeti and the Footprints?

There is a really sneaky footprint this week. I know where it is, and I have a lot of trouble making it out!

So this week, while I will give both feet locations, think of it as the Yeti and one footprint. Unless of course you want to accept the hardcore challenge 🙂

Week 37

Last Week’s Answer

Yeti – In Duck and Cover

Both Footprints – Sneaking Behind Evil Samurai

Week 36 Answers

How did you go? Best of luck this week!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Messed Up Game Description – March 21st, 2020

It’s the weekend, so let’s clean up a game description!

Happy Saturday!

You know what Saturday means – another messed up game description!

I have noticed that responses have dropped off. Am I making the quiz too hard? Too easy? Has the novelty worn off? Let me know in the comments below!

Enough asking for site feedback – let’s see how you go with this classic game description 😀

The mystery bush game where you flip over a collection of bushes with different trip sack, debt trip, sack, beds, pigs etc. to deduce who the harsh stocking is that your opponent has chosen.

Last Weeks Answer – Sorry!

The text should read:

Race your four game pieces from Start around the board to your Home in this Pachisi type game.

By turning over a card from the draw deck and following its instructions, players move their pieces around the game board, switch places with players, and knock opponents’ pieces off the track and back to their Start position.

Did you get it? Sorry if you didn’t 😀 (Yes, feel free to groan at the dad jokes :p )

Good luck with today’s puzzle!

Catch you with some exciting news next week 🙂

JohnHQLD

Yeti in Wahroonga Village – March 18th, 2020

Week 36

Can you find the Yeti and the Footprints?

Week 36

Last Week’s Answer

Yeti – On top of bank by Right Dragon Leg

Foot 1 – On top of roof with Donut

Foot 2 – Above Ladder from Ecto 1

How did you go? Alpal nailed it last week – even with the little story of the path the Yeti was taking!

Good luck today 😀

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Messed Up Game Description – March 14th, 2020

Sometimes my life feels like my game descriptions. Still fun though!

It’s another week, and another messed up game description!

This is a classic game that many of us grew up with. And for some people, their parents and potentially grandparents as well!

I went a little different with my word replacements today. The game could be a lot of things, so here is the plain text first line of the descriptions – no changes made!

Race your four game pieces from Start around the board to your Home in this Pachisi type game.

From the clues, a few of you can probably already make a guess as to the game. So today, I am limiting you to ONE GUESS ONLY! Not really, but made you look :p

Anyway, on the the rest of the game description:

By baseball over a birds from the fade deck and following its blow, players move their pieces around the game board, sneeze places with players, and rejoice recess’ pieces off the airplane and back to their Start position.

The text should read:

A classic dice game played with 5 dice. Each player’s turn consists of rolling the dice up to 3 times in hope of making 1 of 13 categories.

Did you get it? Alpal smashed it! The game it could also have been is Yacht, which I know a lot of people have played over Yahtzee as it’s Public Domain. Essentially the same game, but some different scoring rules.

So there you go – your little bit of trivia for the day 🙂 Good luck with today’s puzzle!

JohnHQLD