You don't often get to play as a subterranean mammal yet here's Miko with an interesting new game. Don't let his cute appearance fool you, he's one greedy little fellow who loves snatching diamonds back from Evil Corp so put on a helmet and let's get digging!
Miko Mole is controlled in an unexpected way. You'd think that you're going to dig through levels in order to tunnel your way to the exit but you actually fly around with a handy propeller that's strapped to your hiney. Don't get me wrong, there is much digging to be done. Upon making contact with softer ground, Miko demolishes a large portion of it with ease. As you fly through course after course collecting diamonds and aiming for all three stars, you'll gradually get introduced to new mechanics that add action, puzzle, and stealth elements. These help keep things interesting since you never know what to expect when entering a new course. Thankfully, control instructions remain on the screen whenever a course incorporates any of these mechanics. Overall, it's simple to play but is that enough to make it enjoyable?
After playing for only a few minutes, you'll wonder if the gameplay will eventually click. However, it remains clunky throughout. The first problem is that Miko's hit-box is enormous. Just coming close to an enemy results in him collapsing. This is made even more tragic by the oddly unbefitting spurts of blood that come out of our poor hero's cute little body. The large hit-box is also a problem when you dig through soft ground because huge sections disappear whenever you get close. If a rock is waiting on top of a layer of dirt, it can fall on your head and end your life a split second after you dig underneath. In the end, it feels unfinished as you try to delicately manoeuvre through every course. What makes it even worse is that it gets boring very quickly. After you've completed a dozen or so bite-sized courses, it's hard not to just shut it off and play something more entertaining.
On the plus side, you'll come across many different situations throughout the 240 course campaign. That's right; there are actually 240 courses to complete. Although these are quite brief, working your way through all of them takes a very long time. Anyway, courses that require sneaking through stealth segments, solving puzzles with buttons and switches, and rushing so you don't run out of air while you're underwater can be fun to figure out and master. That being said, the gameplay still manages to remain stagnant and clumsy.
Another aspect that bogs the gameplay down is the extremely uneven difficulty. Some courses can be finished with your eyes closed while others can be downright frustrating. For example, you perish as soon as you begin the second course because you start right next to a bat. After trying it again, you'll know to immediately hold right but how the heck would you know to do that the first time you attempt it? Later, certain enemies throw projectiles right at you that are very difficult to avoid and underwater sections can be much too long thus requiring you to navigate through perfectly before your air runs out. These parts get irritating fast.
Miko Mole's presentation doesn't come close to making up for the gameplay. Everything looks like it's from an original PlayStation game yet with far less variety than you'd hope to see. Environments mostly distinguish themselves with different colour palettes yet they all generally look the same. The only significant change is shown in courses that take place in the dark. To top things off; generic music, grating sound effects, and uninspired animations certainly don't make it any more appealing.
If you're looking for a fun little distraction to download on your PlayStation 4 then there are much better choices than Miko Mole. It may look cute but you're in for quite a disappointing quest once you let Miko's charms rope you in.
- + Different gameplay mechanics help keep it somewhat interesting
- + A whopping 240 courses to master
- - Clunky gameplay that ends up feeling unfinished and just plain boring
- - Incredibly uneven difficulty
- - Unpolished and bland presentation