Ah, prepackaged Windows games. Solitare, Minesweeper, Freecell, Pinball; how many hours have these games wasted? They’re certainly some of the most popular games out there if you go by how many people play them, and for how long.
Minesweeper in particular is one of my favorites – it’s a great time waster that everyone spends a few minutes on here and there. That’s why I was particularly excited by Mamono Sweeper, a terrific Japanese game that puts a neat spin on the old standby. It treats the game as a dungeon crawl where you are trying to clear the board of all enemies. You can kill enemies of your level or lower (enemies are all level 1-5), and as you do you get experience and can level up, allowing you to fight tougher enemies. When you click on a tile it shows you the sum of all the adjacent enemies, so a “7” might be surrounded by a 3 and a 4, a 3 and a 2 and a 2, etc. The logic takes a game or so to get used to but once you get in the groove it really starts feeling good.
Mamono Sweeper does a great job of showing how introducing one small (and simple!) new mechanic can make an old game feel fresh again. Go give it a shot, or if you have an iOS device you can grab it from the app store.