Boomtown Rats: Transformice

By Kieron Gillen on June 22nd, 2010 at 11:13 am.

This won't end well.
I haven’t posted about this until now as the servers have been heaving for the last day with its mass Digg-age. After trying all yesterday, I finally managed to get into a game at about 2am last night. And it’s good! This morning? Servers are still sticky, but there’s a new Russian one as well as the English and (more populated) French ones. I’ve got in after a few tries. MAYBE YOU COULD TOO. And it’s worth the effort. Transformice positions you as a mouse, with the mission to get cheese and get back. With many other mice, trying to do the same thing. What stands against you? Physics. Evil physics. Luckily, one of you is the Shaman, who is abstractly meant to be facilitating all this hot mouse-on-cheese action. It doesn’t normally work like that. A video explaining it and a few other notes follow…

In short: hilarity.

You’ve got a couple of dozen people trying to complete the same aim at the same time, in levels which offer individual challenges. Sometimes it’s every mouse for itself, climbing on top of one another to reach the Cheese, with your comrades only of use as glorified steps. Other times you’re entirely reliant on other mice being sensible – like the level where you start in the middle of a see-saw with cheese at either end. If too many mice go one way, the whole thing collapses. It’s a game about balancing the interest of the group (Can any of us make it?) with the self-interest (I will score better if I make it first?). I’m generally reminded of the scene in the Towering Inferno where too many people try to use the sky-line-car out of the building at once, and they all end up falling to their deaths. Except funny.

The Shaman is the special chap, who’s able to create actual tools to help you succeed in your task, like pulleys and bombs. In other words, it’s a little like being a Lemming in lemmings, with one of your number in the position of leader to save you all. Except, much like Lemmings, it doesn’t normally end that way.

You’re going to be all over this. More evidence? The other reason why I’m posting it is that it’s the game that we’ve recieved most mail about in ages, and I’m posting it to stop more people filling up the inbox. Novel, striking, fun and a great excuse for mice-based-gags.

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53 Comments »

  1. TotalBiscuit says:

    That video has the dew-scented waft of GOONY GOONS.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      The video was actually made by someone from /v/, which is why it’s full of people spouting “my face when X” and “>implying greentext” memes.

      I’m also pretty sure you’re not supposed to spend your time deliberately griefing everyone else.

    • KindredPhantom says:

      I’m sure you aren’t but it adds to the fun.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Oh, I didn’t know that’s where EVD frequented.

      Anywho I had seen this and was going to link… this video.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Kindred: so does speedhacking.

  2. Arreh says:

    Yeah, I laughed my socks off.

    • Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

      Monkey Island was the last time i laughed this hard at a game.

  3. BooleanBob says:

    Of mice and man’s inhumanity to man.

  4. Mitza says:

    One of the most awesome games I’ve played lately.

  5. Jeeva says:

    Yeah, I enjoyed this. =D Never got to be shamouse, though. Might have to try again until I do.

  6. misterk says:

    amazing already!

  7. Armyofnone says:

    Oh my. I quite enjoyed this earlier today. Shaman is quite fun, too, once you get it. Although I can hardly resist the temptation to lazer my fellow comrades off the platform… or drop anvils on them…

  8. Sobric says:

    Apparently, you get points to spend on hats. It seems Valve’s status as #1 hat simulator is threatened.

  9. misterk says:

    Although christ theres a lot of griefing. Something makes me feel 4chan is all over this one.

    • Scypher says:

      You make it sound as if this game wasn’t designed to facilitate griefing.

    • Webbz says:

      This is actually 4chan’s members. Thanks to the efforts of a Anon who posted in /b/ with a easy 1,2,3 step guide to how to log in and asking all to join salon v. /b/ answered as did I and was crazy fun aside from the massive trolling going on. Im quite amazed to learn someone was recording our antics.

  10. Nero says:

    Ah yes, here it is. I found out about this yesterday and played a whole lot. I got up to 150 cheese (I want that top hat!) and it’s hilarious.

    Also, if you want to try being a shaman just do /room “some random name” which noone else is in and you will be shaman all the time to practice.

  11. Internet Friend says:

    That looks amazingly badass.

  12. MadMatty says:

    Wow a simulation of how society works!
    will check out immediately – cheers Kieron :)

  13. Shivoa says:

    It’s good you posted this, I was about to fill your inbox some more after playing this whenever I should have been doing real work so far this week.

    There are 20 mice in a level; up to two are Shaman who get localised powers of incredible machines/physics builder sets; get to the cheese, get back to the holes. What could be simpler?

    AnvilSnake is God, worship him and everything will work out. Until someone does something stupid. It’s like a micro (2 minute timer on most levels) raid pug, with shaman leaders doing all the heavy lifting, fighting with the other shaman if they exist, and generally showing one person will go for gold if they think they’ve got a hope. An hour in you might end up in a room with too many others who have been there a while and you start properly playing as a cohesive whole and wondering when we get voicechat.

    Console port? XBLA/PSN gold.

    • Winged Nazgul says:

      BTW, there can be more than 20 mice in a level. If you do a /room 1 to change to the most populated room you will find upwards of 50+ mice at any given time.

      There is also the option of creation custom rooms such as /room rps

  14. Ian says:

    Will have to try this later.

    Meanwhile:
    “Luckily, one of you is the Shaman, who is abstractly meant to be facilitating all this hot mouse-on-cheese action.”

    Will RPS ever have a fine sentence than that?

  15. Adrian says:

    only the french page works for me :(

  16. Flimgoblin says:

    That looks absolutely brilliant. Probably hideously frustrating but the video had me in tears.

  17. Cooper says:

    I was gonna email about this too.

    SOmeone on TIGsauce called it “4Chan in game form”
    Which I think may be a fairly accurate description…

  18. misterk says:

    More news- typing /room [name] creates a new room that anyone can join. so /room rps will work

  19. JB says:

    That anvilsnake made me laugh soooo hard. Funniest thing I’ve seen for ages.

    I don’t get out much, mind you.

  20. LionsInnards says:

    At 1:10, the comments slayed me.

  21. Feet says:

    Ok, so i’m going to have to try that.

  22. Davie says:

    It’s a hilarious game, because you can just throw logic and common decency out the window and be as self-centered and single-minded as the most obnoxious multiplayer gamer. Griefing is fun, and practically encouraged. I remember one map in which the mice collide with one another, and there was a tunnel to the cheese that required mice to enter and exit in single file. Needless to say, the ones that got there first were trying to exit the tunnel to claim their points as fast as possible, and the slower ones were trying to enter the tunnel to claim their cheese as soon as possible. It was just a giant 60-man mouse jam, neither side ceding an inch to the other. It was incredibly stupid, but incredibly funny. Half the fun is watching what new ways players have come up with to be completely counterproductive.

  23. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    Join /room rps, maybe for actual co op

  24. Samuel Bigos says:

    There should be a guide for shamans, whenever I get it I don’t know how to place stuff and people shout at me :(.

  25. Dozer says:

    How do I create an account???

    • Winged Nazgul says:

      Think up appropriate nickname and super-secret password then hit Submit.

  26. YouAteMyCheeto says:

    This is why libertarianism will never work.

  27. Bassism says:

    This game is some of the best, simplest, most satisfying fun I’ve had in some time.
    As far as griefing goes…. that’s largely the point. When there are two shamans with different coloured holes, only one of them can emerge victorious. Otherwise, whoever is fastest (and/or the biggest ass) gets more points.

    I do have to admit that one of my favourite things to do is kill noobs who are mucking thigns up for the rest of us. Does that make me a griefer..? Probably. But it doesn’t matter in Transformice!

  28. Tei says:

    This is a machine to create irony and lol-whorty moments.

  29. Iain says:

    This is brilliant. Best browser-based game I’ve played since Off-Road Velociraptor Safari.

  30. Tei says:

    Here is a early version of the game (posted on tigsource)
    http://www.extinction.fr/minijeux/

  31. MadMatty says:

    hehe this is utterly brilliant! two thumbs up from the madman

  32. Skiddings says:

    To room 33! overload it with players!

  33. Darkdobe says:

    This game has been glorious fun for the last week and some since stumbling upon it on SA – Been waiting for RPS to run an article, as it’s too awesome to be missed.

    The key to successful shamanry is NOT making it easy for the mice to succeed, but to build a deadly contraption to filter out the weaklings. If one mouse gets through my conglomeration of planks and motorized anvils, I have succeeded.

  34. Tei says:

    The whole internet has been hammering the serves to pulp. The link to the game are everywhere. How can a tiny game do that, and get more users than some MMORPG? I don’t know. The tecn behind this is impresive. A webpage is not designed to consume information that quick. Probably this is evil corrupt Flash magic. Webservers are not supposed to be that quick to produce something like this.

    So, tecnically this impresive, a feat. But also as gameplay, is pure magic, is a totally new world of multiplayer games that opens now. It crazzyly mix genres,.. puzlle multiplayer coop-deathmatch?!?!?!.

    If a game deserve a medal or something, is this game. Congrats to the authors!.. /clap /clap /clap

  35. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    It’s grand!

    It’s like an MMO experience but distilled. Quite interesting really.

  36. Ricc says:

    They mentioned on twitter, that they got over 100.000 users right now and that the servers are full 24 hours every day.

    Love, love, love this game! I haven’t laughed out loud at a game so often or at all in a long time, actually. They got a hit in their hands. :) Great thing is, the jankyness adds to the fun and it’s great thing to pub.

  37. Jeremy says:

    Played this last night for the first time, and just about died from laughing. I was actually old man wheezing at some points because of the absurdity of it all. There are some lag glitches and certain strange clipping errors in the game, but I hope they don’t iron those out because, man, the chaos adds to the flavor. I love the pure anarchy of it all, mice dying for no reason except that they curiously jumped on a box, when suddenly 15 mice decide to push the box off the edge of the map. It’s brutal, primitive, and brilliant.

  38. LOL says:

    Cannot resist playing this without Yakety Sax int he background.

  39. Iain says:

    @LOL: You’re a genius. Yakety Sax is the *perfect* soundtrack for this game.

  40. ostolero says:

    superior soundtrack:

  41. BAReFOOt says:

    The video is N/A in my country. (The child raping coke snorting media terrorists again! They shall live forever, in hell on earth!)