I am a Mole and I Live in a Hole
Miko Mole is an industrious little chap. Not satisfied with the hum drum life of an ordinary mole in an ordinary hole, Miko is a treasure hunter. Your job is to guide him around tunnels and through the earth to collect the gems he desires so much. Of course it’s not going to be as simple as that. There are evil flappy bats who would love to take a chunk out of him, and some nasty boulders that would like nothing more than to Indiana Jones his backside. Miko Mole is a cute puzzle game that gets better and better the deeper you go.
Miko Mole has six worlds to explore, each with a giant heap-load of levels and soil to tunnel through. The first world introduces you to your basic mole mechanics. Miko has a mini copter strapped to his bottom. This means you’ll rarely need to put his feet on the ground. Fly Miko around each level, avoiding the bats and burrowing through the earth to collect the coveted gems. Burrowing does unfortunately have the consequence of shaking loose boulders which will kill Miko if they so much as brush his whiskers. It’s a bit of a hazard, but luckily burrowing under a boulder and getting sharply out of dodge is also a good way to get rid of an approaching and unsuspecting bat.
Some levels are easier than downing a smooth scotch and others are quite a bit tougher and can be likened to swallowing a bag of hedgehogs. Miko needs to collect a minimum amount of gems before his exit will open and the level ends, and getting to that exit with the correct amount of gems and in a timely fashion to score the speed bonus can take some planning and several attempts.
On Your Marks, Get Set … MOLE!
Once you’ve got through the first world or decided you’ve had enough and want to see what’s next, you can skip to the next environment. In fact you can skip to any of the worlds you please whenever you please. I admit I got more than a little bored at first. Really, the game only gets going from the second world onwards. Why? Because you get equipment! And puzzles! Suddenly it’s not all about the bats and the boulders. Some tunnels have security cameras and you’ll need to do some expert hovering to get past their swinging gaze. Expect some dark tunnels where Miko will need a headlamp to see any further than his cold wet nose. Some of these tunnels also have cameras and the only way through is to turn off Miko’s headlamp and sneak. Just remember to turn it back on again afterwards before you slap straight into a lurking bat.
Later on you will come across lasers and switches. Some lasers are to be avoided and some need to be directed to trigger the opening of a new pathway. One very enjoyable puzzle type consists of observing light patterns and pulling switches in a specific order. Some switches need to have boulders dropped onto them to keep a doorway open. Luckily Miko learns how to grab, so not only can he operate switches, he can also shield himself from lasers or use a boulder stash to thin out a heavy population of enemies. Eat this, batface.
Out With a Bang
Things really heat up with the introduction of lava flow and dynamite. Block the burning hot flow with your big rocks and blast a path to the gems and the exit. Miko will have to pick up dynamite sticks on his way so he only has a limited amount to use in each level. His explosive route will have to be planned carefully to get enough gems and make it to the exit before his supply of boom sticks runs out.
Graphically, Miko Mole is pretty decent. Lovely clear and bold environments and sprites, and the camera sometimes rotates slightly to show off some depth with a semi 3D view. The music is excellent and guaranteed to get your toes tapping and you head bobbing. Difficulty-wise, there’s something for everyone. Most levels are doable with a bit of practice and so this is a good one for the kids. Because of Miko’s helicopter antics, you are going to get a lot of close encounters of the floaty kind. Movement can be tricky until you get the hang of things so expect to bash into a few bats before you’ve tamed Miko’s drifting propellers.
There are fifteen trophies with no Platinum, and none of them are progressive. You’ll have to work hard and dig deep if you want to earn any of this bling. Overall, however, Miko Mole is a cracking little game and certainly worth a look if you’re in any way into arcade puzzlers or you are partial to digging through the dirt with your bare hands.
Colourful puzzling gem-collecting action that starts off a little flat, but improves with every laser, headlamp and underwater dive. Great for the kids or for killing a whole lot of time as there are more levels and challenges than you can poke a dead mole at. Good old fashioned fun.
S J Hollis Rating – 7/10