When it comes to the world of media, there’s genres galore, a label for everything, from the mind-blowing to the mundane…
What to label Of Mice and Sand though? It’s one of those tricky sort of games; technically it’s a survival game, but along the same lines as Fallout Shelter, or a less greedy game, Sheltered. It’s one of those room building, type survival games, where you have a small space and have to build an assortment of rooms with different purposes. Of Sand and Mice is probably the longest and most in-depth version of this sort of game that I’ve played at least.
I’m some 18 hours in and I’m still discovering new rooms, new upgrades for existing rooms and new resources and resource chains. Atop all that, Of Mice and Sand also does away with the norm for this type of game by having your survival space be mobile. Whereas most room builder survival games are static, typically you’re in a bunker or dungeon of some sort, or bombed out ruin, ala This War of Mine, allowing you to expand and upgrade at your own leisure. Of Mice and Sand being a mobile room builder means you have a limited space to work with per land vessel, and in order to upgrade your vessel, you have to find a wrecked one and pay a sum of money to rebuild it. Then you start from the beginning, with your new ship and all your resources refunded. It’s rather interesting, and quite fresh and engaging.
It’s the sort of game that has absorbed my attention to the fullest. Unlike Tetsumo Party, another game I played this week, which was a ‘square in square hole’ Fisher Price toy turned into a video game sort of affair, which turned me off faster than a light switch.
No, Of Mice and Sand is definitely a good game. The premise being that you are the children of a clan of mice whose life goal is to reach the mysterious El Dorado. A mythical city of wealth on a foreign wasteland of a desert planet, to which you, the mice, are native. It’s a pretty standard story for a game like this, yet surprising since most games of the room building survival genre don’t have a story.
That being said, gameplay is pretty simple; your land vessel has space for so and so amount of rooms, and you have to manage four simple main resources, Mice, Calories, Fuel, and Money. Mice can be acquired simply by finding them in the desert, or by two of your pre-existing mice getting down and dirty. Fuel is self-explanatory, you can either find it or buy it at outposts. Money is earned through selling stuff or doing quests at outposts, and Calories require you to have a kitchen, to make various meals out of standard foodstuffs.
You also need certain rooms as they’re necessary for survival, such as the sleeping quarters, the storage room and the kitchen. In order to unlock new rooms to build you have to buy rumours at outposts for varying sums of money. Everything basically revolves around the various outposts you can move between. Outposts have rumours for rooms, new locations, resources, fuel, quests and more.
It’s pretty well rounded all in all; there’s even combat in the game, albeit very simple combat, so there’s nothing much to talk about in that regard. It’s a very relaxing game, the music that plays constantly is soothing and mellow. It’s one of those sit back and relax sort of games… Which is a good thing, because you’re always doing something. You’re always either queuing up tasks for your mice to do, or taking inventory, or tracking quests, or just waiting around for your land vessel to pick up scrap and other resources off the desert floor.
Published and Developed by Arc System Works. Of Mice and Sand is a nice relaxing game, great for people who like to multi task or zone out. An interesting and quirky little game, well worth looking into if you’re a lover of slow and casual survival games.
Of Sand and Mice gets a solid 8/10 from me. Squeak squeak!