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