App Reviewed on: iPhone SE
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In the same way that FlipFlop Solitaire takes the concepts behind classic Solitaire and shakes them up a bit, Minesweeper Genius takes the basic ideas of Minesweeper and places them into a new kind of puzzle game. While it may sound like a simple iteration on Minesweeper, Minesweeper Genius is great precisely because it doesn’t mess with the formula too much. It’s just a great game that breathes new life into some classic—though not often replicated—mechanics.
In Minesweeper Genius, you play as an old man named Aristotle as he navigates through grid-like puzzle rooms littered with mines. You control Aristotle by simply tapping on a tile he should move to, with your ultimate goal to make it to an exit without accidentally blowing yourself up.
To help you figure out how what the safe path is, there are numbers on the outside of these rooms that indicate how many mines there are in any given row or column. Just like in classic Minesweeper, these numbers allow you to use logic and reason to deduce which tiles are safe and which aren’t.
Move the mines
The first few levels of Minesweeper Genius keep things very simple by having small rooms filled with just a handful of mines, but as the game continues on, rooms get larger, the number of mines increases, and new kinds of tiles start entering play. All of these things help keep the base action of Minesweeper feeling fresh while also providing a satisfying amount of challenge.
Most of these new tiles are based around rearranging the order of your path. but each do this in their own way. There are green arrow blocks that move the end block of a row or column to the opposite side of the room, purple arrows that switch entire rows or columns with each other, and even jump pads that allow you to vault over entire rows or columns. While all of this is happening, the numbers on outside of the room may shift, so it’s up to you to keep track of the mine tiles you’ve already identified. Luckily, the game still lets you put flags down on tiles to easily track which tiles you think have mines just like in normal Minesweeper.
The things that Minesweeper Genius adds to the classic gameplay of Minesweeper are few, but they end up making for a game that feels like a complete reinvention of the Minesweeper formula. This—along with some really smart level design and colorful visuals—makes Minesweeper Genius feel immediately approachable and compelling.
That said, there are a couple things about the game that can hamper the experience. The first is that most—if not all—levels in Minesweeper Genius have exactly one path to success. There are also times where the game puts too many special tiles on a map, which makes it painfully obvious where mines are. This can make some levels feel almost completely rote, although there is something extremely satisfying about taking the time upfront in a level to puzzle out where each mine is and then blazing through the level unharmed.
The bottom line
Minesweeper Genius feels like an evolution of Minesweeper. The core gameplay remains intact while a few tweaks make for a game that feels more like a modern puzzle platformer. There are times where this can feel rote and samey, but for the most part, Minesweeper Genius is a great twist on a classic formula.