Review: Simply Minesweeper (DSiWare)

Simply, Minesweeper

Engine Software doesn't exactly have a track record of making amazing games for DSiWare, all of its output has at the very least always been mediocre at worst and average at best. The studio has previously released Simply games for Mahjong, Sudoku and Solitaire, all of which were quite functional, but ultimately all very basic.

Of course, another problem with these three was that superior games by other developers were also available, something that is not the case with its newest title, Simply Minesweeper, which is the first title to take the popular free PC game and put it on DSiWare.

In case you are, somehow, unfamiliar with Minesweeper, it works as follows: you're faced with a large grid made up of several squares, each of which could potentially contain a mine. Your job is to try and click on every single square that's not a mine, and also mark the ones containing mines with flags.

It's not just a guessing game; you'll uncover several squares with numbers on them, which indicate the amount of mines in their vicinity. For example, a square marked "4" will have four mines on four out of the eight squares surrounding it. By using squares located close together, you can gradually work your way through the entire grid, detecting every single mine.

As the title implies, things are rather "simple". There is, of course, only one game mode, which has three difficulty levels. Each higher difficulty level simply increases the size of the grid and adds ten more mines to the mix, so it'll simply take longer to win. There are no randomly generated levels like the famous PC version, however — each difficulty level has 50 pre-made stages instead, which get marked as cleared upon beating them, so you can try to shoot for all 150.

There's not exactly much to Minesweeper, but the game plays fairly well. Tap a square to uncover it, hold the stylus on a square for a little bit to put down a flag, and tap a flag to turn it into a question mark if you're not exactly sure whether the square is safe or not. Tapping a question mark will turn it into an unmarked square again.

Being part of the Simply series, you shouldn't expect much from the presentation. The graphics are extremely basic, and the music pretty much consists of an endless thirty second loop, which will could quite possibly drive you insane if listened to long enough.

Conclusion

Simply Minesweeper has the advantage over its three predecessors in that there are no other DSiWare games competing for the title of best available Minesweeper game. For a mere 200 DSi Points, you get 150 different Minesweeper puzzles, which could very well last you quite a few hours. The presentation is lacking but the core gameplay is fine, if simple, and that's the most important part.