Did you know mice don’t just cherish cheese? Gold is rather important to them too. At least, it is to the creatures on a strange, desert world in search of El Dorado in Of Mice and Sand: Revised. Two mice inherit a rather large bus/tank/moving fortress from their family and have an opportunity to cross the sands to make their fortune. What proceeds is an actually rather relaxing management simulation with occasional battles against creatures in a post-apocalyptic world while aiding people at dilapidated havens and managing your fuel.
First and foremost, Of Mice and Sand: Revised is a management simulation. Your moving vehicle is basically a town on wheels that grows as you find and build new materials. As your crew scavenges and attempts to survive the trip, you get to build and improve rooms that meet various needs, like a kitchen, workshop, bedroom, lab or gunsmith. The idea of constantly building a society in a messed up world, improving and growing their rig, made me feel as though it was a mouse version of Mad Max. This world has gone to hell. There are all sorts of enemies out there. If you somehow stop moving, it’s basically a death sentence. It felt so similar, aside from the whole mouse thing.
This is helped by the interactions with various outposts and people you may see in the wild. As the mice search for El Dorado, they go from one settlement to another, often paying for the privilege of knowing where the next place may be. Each place also has folks in need of aid, other rumors and items you may buy. Even though the mice are all trying to reach El Dorado so they can get rich, they are helping all of these other people with quests that are probably making their own lives better. It definitely has that sort of Mad Max mentality where the greater good ends up being served.
But then, there are many times when I can’t help but feel like Of Mice and Sand: Revised feels a little like Desert Bus. Sure, there’s a sense of foreboding. There is a chance of running into monsters, and you know that you can’t run out of gas. But I never really felt like I was in danger. Plus, after you get your first caravan upgrade, it is easy to turn the vehicle into a well-oiled machine. You can have the right mice constantly turning junk into specific items, making better food, preparing weapons and getting other upgrades ready. Once you have things running well, a lot of your time can just be spent watching the mice go from point A to point B, refilling fuel when necessary.
Of course, the new features unique to the Nintendo Switch edition do take away from the whole wasteland wandering themes that made me sometimes made Of Mice and Sand: Revised remind me of Mad Max and Desert Bus. A new area that is actually snowy, rather than barren, can be found. It features some new enemies. This also means some new random events as you travel too. But on the plus side, it is now possible to actually read the text, something that could be difficult in the Nintendo 3DS version, and it is easier to play with the larger visuals.
Of Mice and Sand: Revised is a rather unconventional traveling and town management simulation. You’re basically organizing the lives of these mice by guiding their journey, getting the things they need to help others, surviving enemy encounters and keeping supplies high so you can keep traveling. I felt like the elements could make it feel a lot like Mad Max and Desert Bus as I explored. Perhaps others will feel the same when they head out in search of El Dorado too.
Of Mice and Sand: Revised is available for the Nintendo Switch. Of Mice and Sand is available for the Nintendo 3DS.