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Free Games I Like: Transformice

Posted on 1st Jul 2010 at 12:49 by Paul Goodhead with 15 comments

Paul Goodhead
Getting people to work together is difficult. Getting people who don't know each other to work together is very difficult. Getting people who don't know each other to work together over the internet is nearly impossible. Enter Transformice.

Transformice is elegantly simple in its premise. A number of mice, usually 25, have to get some cheese and take it to their hole. In their way are a number of obstacles, gaps, pits, bombs and, unfortunately, each other. Every mouse is controlled by a player, and one player gets to be the shaman, who can conjure various bits of apparatus to help the mice in their quest.

The game strikes a fine balance between teamwork and competition - the mice get more points the faster they get the cheese to their hole but they often need to wait for their shaman to construct them a path. The points are important as whoever has the most points at the end of a round becomes the shaman for the next round.

Free Games I Like: Transformice *Free Games I Like: Transformice
Click to enlarge

The shaman then gets busted down to zero points after his round but he does regain a point for every mice rescued during his turn as shaman. It’s a neat mechanic that means everyone gets a chance at playing the shaman while the shaman player is encouraged to do their best to help the other players. Games are usually two minutes in length, meaning progress is swift and there's a minimum of waiting if a shaman absent-mindedly wanders off a ledge.

Transformice seems to create a different memorable moment each time I play. The dynamic between the need to work together while remaining competitive means players often jump the gun, running across only a half made bridge in an effort to be first back with their cheese.

The efforts of rushed shamans can also be amusing. You only get two minutes after all, and it’s not uncommon for it to take 20 minutes or so before you get a chance at being the big man. A misplaced cannon ball from a panicking shaman can send half a game's population of mice flying across the screen to their death.

Free Games I Like: Transformice *Free Games I Like: Transformice
Click to enlarge

The chat box at the bottom of the screen makes an ideal platform for recriminations when things do go wrong. Expect to see hundreds of different variations of the word 'fail' during any five minute period.

Things get extra interesting when, from time to time, there are two shamans, each with its own hole that the other is trying to block. It's playing as the shaman that makes the game interesting after all and it’s unfortunate that you only rarely get the chance. This means most players are unpractised as the shaman and while this can provide giggles when players get it wrong, it can be frustrating when you muck up your go. Maybe a practice shaman area could be provided; though arguably the game would lose much of its appeal if nobody made any mistakes as the shaman.

Transformice is a great way to kill a half hour or longer and if you're really into it you can create an account, buy various accoutrements for your rodent avatar and even level up. There is no overall goal as such, which makes putting it down easy enough but I can’t help but keep plugging away at it. I'm constantly telling myself that next time I play as the shaman I'll actually get it right and I am, invariably, disappointed.

Play Transformice online.

15 Comments

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TWeaK 1st July 2010, 14:52 Quote
THANK YOU PAUL :D:D Found this on RPS myself and loved it from the moment I started. Glad to see it on here!

Also, didn't see it linked in the post but it's a good idea to read the wiki to get to grips with being Shaman

@edit: Oh and there is a way to practice - if you type /room <roomname> you can create your own room. You don't get any cheese scored unless there are a few mice there (I think 3+), but if it's just you then you'll always be shaman.
Material 1st July 2010, 14:57 Quote
the wiki is great but i enjoyed learning by trial and error too. nothing focuses the mind like a 24 anonymous players just waiting to call you a total fail whale.
zimbloggy 1st July 2010, 17:21 Quote
Mine always says that the connection to the server has been interrupted whenever I try to get my username. I wonder if my being in the US has something to do with it.
zimbloggy 1st July 2010, 17:25 Quote
ok creating a username worked
Threefiguremini 1st July 2010, 21:12 Quote
Best. Game. Ever. I've already clocked up way too much time on this. Don't really know why it's so addictive.
Jamie 2nd July 2010, 10:54 Quote
Well done Paul, you've killed my Friday productivity.
Material 2nd July 2010, 11:11 Quote
Mission achieved.
Redbeaver 2nd July 2010, 15:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie
Well done Paul, you've killed my Friday productivity.

same here.

had 3 projects lined up to finish by this week. i just sent an email to say i'll be late. and this is 9:03AM at my place.
Invectus 2nd July 2010, 15:53 Quote
hahaha awsume
Jamie 2nd July 2010, 17:33 Quote
Could start a bit-tech game room, just type "/room bittech" in the chat window.
TWeaK 2nd July 2010, 23:36 Quote
I've thought about that, trouble is as soon as everyone leaves it's gone, and until there are something like 3 or more mice in there you don't even clock up any cheese for your troubles. Then there's the fact that there are two English servers, although they don't have as many problems as they used to with overloading so you can pretty much always get on server 1 now without problems.

It's more fun to play with randoms and endure a bit of trolling anyway. The most recent update actually started fining you cheese for banning someone - I was against this until someone said to me that part of the fun of the game is the trolling. You won't see half the crazy inventions that people make if you don't play in normal rooms.
confusis 4th July 2010, 10:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Threefiguremini
Best. Game. Ever. I've already clocked up way too much time on this. Don't really know why it's so addictive.

OMFG this is addictive - spent a couple hours on it so far today
azzybish 4th July 2010, 23:05 Quote
If you guys want to play with other bit-techers, type /room bittech in the chat box.
tripwired 16th July 2010, 14:28 Quote
omg, best Friday lunch past time ever. Plus, they're so friggin cute.
jellylemon 21st July 2011, 19:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by zimbloggy
Mine always says that the connection to the server has been interrupted whenever I try to get my username. I wonder if my being in the US has something to do with it.

me too! but recently my sister has been banned for one hour and it was working fine before that. I wonder if that's it but if it is, then ill wait one hour.
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