Muddy Mishap – Shayne Warden

My daughter was wrestling with her brother today which promptly got me worried someone was going to get hurt; they groaned at me for breaking it up. That’s when I decided to draw this picture of Muddy and one of his kids being reckless. My daughter thought it was cute, I thought, “Can’t you see this is what it feels like to be a parent!?” -_-

Hopefully I never have to save my kids from an irate farmer. The dairy farmer down the road mean-mugs us whenever we go for a walk though...
Twitter @JazzyJazzerton

Mole Mania – Shayne Warden

I only discovered Mole Mania last autumn while watching a video that was showing in-game footage of various titles. It took a little sleuthing for me to find out what it was, but I was persistent; what I saw of this game reminded me of Adventures of Lolo (which I love) and had me wanting to know more.

Once I’d decided that I needed Mole Mania in my life, the hunt for a complete copy began which took quite some time. See, just as I had never known about this wonderful oddity from Nintendo and the mind of Shigeru Miyamoto, so too does it seem like it didn’t sell in any notable number that would make this hunt easy.

Months passed, but finally (unbeknownst to me), a complete copy turned up.

My wife worked out a deal on my behalf (I didn’t know she was also looking 🙂 and when it arrived, I started to play. Lo and behold, a couple of weeks later – and to my surprise – it became the game of the month for March here on Yokoi Kids!

So, what – in my estimation – makes this a special game filled with charm and the right amount of challenge? The total package really. The graphics are bright, the characters adorable, the puzzles clever (especially since the player has to consider both an upper and lower plane + objects + enemies), the boss fights interesting, and the auto saves via battery backup after every screen are all standout features. The little animations – upon rescuing Muddy’s children and wife – are cute and make for a great driving force to complete the game; the Mole family is too cute to be apart!

Aside from those triumphs, there are two niggling things I’d like to address:

1 – The soundtrack loops are far too short. As a world would ware on (especially the later stages that are larger with more complex puzzle screens), the songs would really start to get grating as they would repeat too quickly.

2 – Some of the late stage difficulty balance varies too wildly: From one room to the next, a puzzle can go from total head scratcher to 15-seconds-and-done. Don’t get me wrong, a nice softball of a puzzle makes for a good breather after a string of really tough ones, but it did strike me as the devs possibly running out of puzzle ideas?

Regardless, the game has been an absolute treat to play, and making it to the end was a blast!

My man, Muddy, having a well-deserved hot chocolate after a hard fought journey to rescue the family; I celebrated with a Coke Zero”

So, is this really the end for Mole Mania? Unfortunately, it seems that way for now. I can only hope that – someday, somehow – someone in one of the R&D groups remembers they have this in the catalogue and says, “Let’s revisit this!”

I can only hope.–Shayne Warden

Hopefully I never have to save my kids from an irate farmer. The dairy farmer down the road mean-mugs us whenever we go for a walk though...
Twitter @JazzyJazzerton

Mole Mania: A Game That NEEDS A Sequel –D’Arcy Briggs

Mole Mania was released in 1996-97 and developed by Nintendo A&D. In this addictive character-puzzler, players take on the role of Muddy the Mole. Your wife and children have been kidnapped by the farmer. On your way to defeat the farmer and save your family, Muddy must puzzle his way through boulders, obstacles, and various enemies. 

The real fun from Mole Mania comes from this perfect mix of gameplay and presentation. First off, the game’s mechanics are super unique. As a mole, you can travel above and below ground. This means each level requires you to think, literally, on two levels. Enemy in the way? Go underground! Underground blocked off from exit? Head on up! There’s a really addictive feedback loop for this one. No one level is ever too difficult to figure out and it feels like a comfortable ramp-up in difficulty.

This pairs immensely well with the graphics and overall presentation. Sprites, environments, and music all blend together to make something that fits the Gameboy perfectly, but also still feels so fresh that it could easily be released today as a retro-throwback game. And this really brings me to my biggest thought while replaying this game for the month: Mole Mania needs a remake / sequel! 

After running through the first level and soaking in the overall experience, I had the immense draw that this is a game that NEEDS to be made available elsewhere. I don’t just mean on something like the 3DS eshop, but the sort of game that would benefit so much from a new coat of paint and repackaged, or something that surely deserves to be included if Nintendo ever decides to include Gameboy on the Switch Online service. More so than most other games I’ve played for the old brick, Mole Mania hits as something of a formula that’s had a small comeback in recent years and would be amazing to see done in the style of the Link’s Awakening remake. From online level sharing to more bonuses and collectables and tunes, my mind wanders with the kind of game that could be.

And this is all to say that Mole Mania is a massive success in what it tries to accomplish. I haven’t completed it yet- the later levels are pretty tricky- but it really somes up that whole ‘just one more try,’ feeling that few puzzle games capture, and it does so in a package that is really endearing and engrossing. Mole Mania is a game that not only needs to be played by Game Boy fans, but Nintendo fans of any ilk.

D’Arcy is an program coordinator and gamer from BC, Canada. He’s been gaming his entire life and enjoys both new and retro games. His consoles of choice are Game Boy, PS3, and Switch.You can follow his gaming online @darcyska_gaming

March 2022: Mole Mania (1997)

My friends, it is March! What’s the saying? In like a lion, out like a lamb? As a kid growing up in Buffalo I always thought that was a bunch of hooey. We didn’t get any lambs until at least April, sometimes May! We’re changing all of that this year, though. March is for moles. In like a mole, out like a mole. Be a mole all month long with Josh Nickerson’s choicest of choices, Mole Mania! Here’s what our guy had to say:

“A late-era Game Boy release (1996, two years before the juggernaut known
as Pokemon would hit North America and revive the stagnant handheld
market), Mole Mania is a fun action puzzler that asks the question “What
if Lolo could dig?” It plays very similarly to HAL’s Adventure of Lolo
series, with the player taking the role of Muddy, a mole on a quest to
rescue his family from an evil farmer, having to rely on his wits to
avoid enemies and solve puzzles.

How does Muddy solve these puzzles? By digging, of course! As long as
he’s standing on soft earth, Muddy can dig underground. The screen swaps
to an underground view, which more often than not has its own layout and
hazards. The key to solving each screen is to figure out how best to
maneuver using both the above-ground and underground areas. There are
also gadgets such as weights and huge iron balls to toss at enemies as
well. The game presents it all with a cute visual style and a peppy

Famously one of Shigeru Miyamoto’s least-known creations (famously
un-famous, you could say), one has to wonder if he thought of the idea
while tending the same garden he would dream up with Pikmin a few years
later. It’s too bad it never turned into a series, a DS entry would have
been a no brainer, with Muddy zipping between the two screens… sadly
that never came to be.

A side note: I had no idea how expensive the game had gotten over the
years! Fortunately, it’s available in the 3DS eShop for a mere three
You won’t get the sweet Super Game Boy enhancements, but you can
use the suspend/resume feature for the game’s trickier bits. No matter
which way you play it, you’ll have a good time!”
I once had two copies of Mole Mania, but I gave one to a person who ended up being a jerk. Even worse, I thought I had given them the one with the dead battery (they said they were happy to replace it), but it turned out I gave them the good copy! This gives me the swift kick in the cheeks I need to fix my copy and finally finish the dang game!