In Miko Mole, you take control of an underground adventure by guiding a very odd mole called Miko who does his best to collect diamonds along its way. Your goal is to lead the main character through multiple obstacles and gather all precious materials and useful items available in each course. The game brings many obstacles including huge rocks, lasers, and mole-eating bats. The gameplay is pretty straight forward and does not introduce any spectacular feature. Instead, its very basic platform allows players to quickly advance through courses and move to the next challenge. Miko is quite a charming diamond thief story which can provide moments of fun, despite a few negative game characteristics.
Miko Mole adds a lot of interesting elements to its gameplay, which lead players to really focus when trying to advance to the following underground tunnel. The good news is that you can skip hard levels and try a brand new course, instead of being stuck in the exact same environment. As you complete each section of the game, you are “awarded’ with up to three starts, just like in a traditional mobile game.
Miko Mole was developed by EnsenaSoft. It is available for Wii U for $5.00
Miko is the main character of the game. He shows a particular interest in digging into deep mines while searching for diamonds. The main problem here is that the mines belong to a company called Evil Corp. Because of that, in order for Miko to successfully steal diamonds (yes, you will be playing the role of a thief), he needs to move quickly while avoiding opponents and traps. Tunnels also hide other challenges such as Evil Corp's security systems, which can represent more complicated puzzles to solve.
The journey is not a simple task to complete and brings some random obstacles along the way. The story continues as you move on to the nest level through the grate. Each level gives you a star score (that varies from one to three), which is based on the number of diamonds that you have collected on that stage and how fast you completed the course. This particular aspect of the game made me feel like playing a mobile game, which even though makes Wii U version look very basic, doesn’t feel bad.
Miko needs to act quickly and uses his mole skills to escape or face all the enemies he meets along the way. For the most part, dealing with bats and other creatures that hide in the dark will represent the greatest challenge here. These opponents may randomly move around and defeat you with one strike right at the end of the course. If that happens, you will have to start it all over again.
Personally, I found it a little disturbing to see so much blood splashing on the screen, after being killed by bats. The reason why is because this game doesn’t really transmit a connotation of violence and ferocity. On the contrary, it brings a nice animated puzzle nature. For those motives, this particular graphical characteristic seemed unnecessary to me. The best way from preventing that from happening is by pushing big rocks on these annoying enemies.
One of the greatest surprises found when playing Miko Mole is based on the gameplay mechanics. Instead of actually digging into the dirt to reach the final goal of that current level, your character uses a helicopter-backpack to find his way through the game’s labyrinths. This was a very unexpected detail for a mine-digging game, but even though it seems a little out of proportion, the handy propeller does a good job reaching the end of each course.
The game brings a large number of short courses to complete. There is a lot of similarities on every environment displayed in each world. Even though courses are pretty much the same, there are always a new mechanics to learn and discover. For instance, swimming under water and teleporting to other areas in the game are some of the enhancements you will be introduced to as you move to the next level. As a result, you are always looking forward to entering a new stage and continue the adventure with a new ability to use.
The game has a very neat feature for players who prefer easy mechanics. The friendly controls allow you to quickly learn how to navigate around, even when a new mechanic is introduced. For example, using dynamites to open new paths is a great way to clear the stage at some point where the challenge seems impossible. Also, throwing boulders against enemies will help you easily defeat them and collect more diamonds. Once you start playing, the best way to handle enemies and obstacles is to quickly analyze the course to forecast your navigation strategy.
The game brings a total of six worlds with more than two hundred stages. Each stage has a different theme and will require specific abilities to allow their completion. The water stage is a very good example of that since it requires the player to make sure Miko doesn’t run out of oxygen. The game also tests your ability to solve puzzles in different ways. For example, remembering color patterns on a "Simon Says" quick task will allow you to open some of the Evil Corp’s doors inside the tunnels.
On the negative side, the difficulty level tends to vary in a wide range to the point that it bothered me at times. It can be irritating to see an inconsistent balance between stages. Some of them are almost too easy while other challenges have an overwhelming number of obstacles. For instance, areas such as the underwater levels have some very lengthy parts that are extremely hard to navigate through while dodging enemies. All of that needs to be completed while taking quick breaks to gather some oxygen. The player must play attention to the countdown clock on the screen to prevent Miko from drowning.
Besides that, controlling Miko on each mining course can become an unpleasant task when your character finds himself stuck between two close obstacles or doesn’t have a lot of space to move around without touching an enemy. The reason why is due to some control issues associated with speed. At least when using the Wii U gamepad, it feels like Miko moves too fast, which makes it almost impossible to avoid obstacles.
GRAPHICS AND AUDIO
Miko Mole’s 3D animation structure has a simplistic structure that doesn’t really catch the player’s interest when first playing the game. As you advance in the adventure, you may see that the surroundings are not so well designed as they seem very similar to each other in terms or color and details. The intention here might be to keep a consistent theme in the gameplay, but it also gives the journey a repetitive and boring feeling. On the other hand, it is really nice that you can have new mechanics added as you move on to the next stage. However it would be also interesting to give the player the expectation to find something different in terms of environment. The only exception to that critic are when the courses switch from light to dark. Since I tend to like darker themes and environments, this feature was more appealing to me.
In regards to audio features, Miko Mole has an ok soundtrack that not always match the nature of the adventure or at least doesn’t feel like it does a good job entertaining the player. The game is presented in six different worlds, and for the most part, you will continuously hear the same music until advancing to the next world. In addition to being stuck on the same sounds until the completion the courses, the music becomes very annoying after some time. This negative point really affects your level of entertainment throughout the adventure.
Miko Mole offers enough content to keep players occupied based on all options of levels and puzzle challenges that can take some time to complete. However, the poor graphical design and the lack of content depth in terms of environment translates the experience into a non-motivating gameplay.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a simple game to spend some time on without really caring about the best quality in the market, this can be a good option. Depending on the course you are completing, you will notice the importance of having quick reflexes and a sharp way of thinking in terms of strategy. For a $5 value in the Nintendo store, the game brings a reasonable balance of entertainment and fun.
|+ Easy controls||– Difficult levels are not consistent|
|+ Large amount of stages available||– Boring music and unattractive design|
+ Players can skip harder levels
|– No engaging story and presentation|