MouseBot, despite featuring several cat scientists, does not attempt to revolutionise the 3D platformer.
In fact with its endless runner style gameplay it’s more basic than the majority of its contemporaries – on the Switch at least.
Yet it offers up just enough entertainment to make it worth considering for younger or less demanding gamers.
Based around completing short stages – the majority can be completed in under one minute – you have to guide a robotic mouse past a range of obstacles.
The twist – if there even is one (there isn’t) is that you can’t control the mouse’s forward trajectory. Instead you can manoeuvre the little critter left and right, and jump.
There are also new skills introduced as you progress, such as turning into a mouse hovercraft and being able to sidestep quickly left and right – the latter being essential to master if you’re to collect the many cheeses scattered through the levels.
The aforementioned cheese is where the challenge lies in Mousebot, as each level sets you targets. These include collecting a certain amount of cheese pieces, one heart piece (usually placed in a tricky spot), and finishing within a certain time.
With 88 levels there’s enough content to last you a few hours, and the game does throw just enough different obstacles your way to keep your interest.
This is also a game which wants you to complete it. Although it has mobile origins there’s no barrier to progression, and if you just want to complete the stages without completing the secondary tasks it’s possible to get all the way to the end.
This means there’s a decent level of challenge posed, but never enough to make things frustrating – as you can just survive a stage instead of completing it 100%.
Some slightly different tweaks to the core formula – perhaps some races with other mice, or boss battles – would have been welcome though, as the game does lose steam well before the end.
The presentation is charming, including an endearing repeated cutscene – but it’s still not quite enough to cover up the lack of ideas present.
Despite the lack of originality it’s hard not to give MouseBot: Escape From CatLab a passing recommendation though – as what it aims to do, it does well. The low price point helps immeasurably too, and you definitely won’t feel short changed if you’re looking for a solidly assembled endless runner on your Switch. Just don’t expect to remember it for very long after you’ve completed it.