I've been getting to grips with Mole Control, a mole-related take on Minesweeper due for release in January 2010. Set in a small town which has found itself riddled with the pesky critters, it's your job to suck them all out of the ground using tactics from your favourite Microsoft classic.

I'm a closet, so while I'm clearly going to get a kick out of this kind of game, it also makes me more critical of the little things. Mole Control doesn't stray from the tried and tested formula too much, but still adds its own 'little things' here and there to make it feel a lot more than just a clone.

Case in point - the action takes place on various plots of land which consists of both grassy areas which can be dug up, and paved areas which cannot. Moles (aka mines) need to be discovered using numbered spaces, but only the area surrounding your buggy can be played with - you'll need to drive (or fly) around the levels to find every mole. And while the story is a little throw-away, you'll find that each level has a theme - so for example, the children's park has seesaws and the like scattered around.


Mole Control is a more friendly, forgiving Minesweeper. Visuals are happy and vibrant - it feels like looks-wise it has a lot in common with Popcap's Plants Vs Zombies. Stepping on a mole isn't insta-kill either - you get multiple chances, and can even pick up extra 'repairs' for your buggy around the levels. Powerups also feature, with the Orange Mole powerup on display in the version I played, which basically rids a 4 by 4 plot of moles (if you've played Minesweeper Flags, you'll be familiar with this powerup).

Of course, being molded around the iconic game means that Mole Control also comes with the pros and cons of the original. While it definitely has an addictive quality to it, I also found myself becoming a little more prone to error as a level progressed. Once I've been seeing the same number formations over and over again, I tend to rush towards the end and slip up. Patience is a virtue and all that.

Still, Mole Control is good fun and definitely a great time-waster. The final build looks to have an absolute ton of levels based in an Adventure Mode, with other modes such a Time Attack to back it up. We'll keep you informed when the demo is released next month.