I’m a fan of the work of Finnish game creator Arvi Tekari, aka Hempuli. He burst on the scene three years ago with genuine indie hit Baba Is You, which somehow continues to receive updates. (If you have it and haven’t played it in a while, you might want to take a look. It just might have a lot more puzzles in it than you remember.) We’ve also linked to his Finnish translations of the Super Mario Bros. manual, and his parody game of his own work Baba Is You XTREME.
Somehow though, he keeps making interesting new things! Most recently there’s Babataire, a variant of Spider Solitaire that uses Baba characters for cards (it’s fun!), Babataire Ex, a variant of the variant that also uses Baba Is You’s rule-modification mechanic (and that, honestly, I can’t make much sense of), and Cavern Sweeper.
Cavern Sweeper is really good! It’s a generalization of Minesweeper where the mines not only have different values, casting varying amounts of danger into the adjacent squares, but where, on harder difficulties, different kinds of mines can even have differently-shaped danger zones.
In the easiest version, all monsters have a diamond-shaped peril region around them with a value from one to three. The number in a space is the sum of all the danger spread into them. Harder versions also add slimes, which have the traditional square-shaped Minesweeper danger zone, ghosts with plus-shaped areas, and optionally serpents with X-shaped zonas de peligro.
To make up for the added uncertainty, you’re granted two additional helps. First, as you mark spaces (you must select the proper kind of monster in the space for it to count), the numbers are subtracted from the nearby regions, decreasing the chaos around it, and any impossible situations are marked for you. And you’re allowed two extra misses before you’re actually in danger of losing the game.
Cavern Sweeper is a fine addition to the genre of Minesweeper variants, and I rather think I prefer it to the original.
Cavern Sweeper (itch.io, browser-playable, $0)