Play a new version of Windows classic Minesweeper, complete with XBox achievements and a brand new adventure mode. Yep, I’m writing an article about Minesweeper. And why shouldn’t I? It’s a game that’s been included by default with Windows since forever, a comforting relic from the 90’s that until recently came with every new PC . No longer though. Windows 8 is the first version not to come with Minesweeper at setup.
Don’t worry, though, there’s a version of Minesweeper for Windows 8, and in some ways it’s better then ever. You simply have to download it from the Windows Store. Just don’t expect the windowed experience of ages past – the new Microsoft Minesweeper is a full screen Metro app, complete with a brand new adventure mode that uses Minesweeper as the basis for a fully-fledged puzzle game. There’s even XBox Live integration, complete with Achievements to unlock.
If you’ve got any fond memories of Minesweeper you should seriously check this out – the Adventure mode alone makes it worthwhile.
Playing Microsoft’s New Minesweeper
Start Microsoft Minesweeper and you’ll see a standard Metro screen with your offerings:
Just as before you can play the Easy, Medium or Expert level – or create your own grid size. The game itself hasn’t changed much – it’s just gone from being a windowed-distraction to a full-screen distraction (alas, this might have negative implications for office employees attempting to hide their extracurricular activities). There’s also an all-new adventure mode, but we’ll get to that later.
The main game is about what you remember, albeit a little bigger. Left-click to activate a square; right click to flag it. You know the drill at this point.
It’s worth pointing out, for those who enjoy cute things, that there is an optional Garden theme. You’ll find it on the main screen by scrolling, and it replaces the mines with ladybugs.
The real reason to check out this version of Minesweeper is the new adventure mode. In it you move an Indiana Jones-esque character through a cave full of mines, using the rules of that game to move from left to right. It’s immediately intuitive if you’re familar with Minesweeper, and it’s a great refresh for the game.
There is gold to collect, tools to find and a lot to explore. It’s a worthy diversion if you’re looking for one, and aptly builds on Minesweeper’s rules to create something new, so check it out if you have any fond memories of the original.
Get Microsoft Minesweeper
You’ll find Microsoft Minesweeper in the new Windows Store. It’s for Windows 8 only. Sorry, vast majority of the population of earth.
Microsoft is trying to re-create Windows in the image of Metro, and while it may be a silly example, this version of Minesweeper is an indication of what to expect from that. What once were game options hidden in a menu (easy, medium and expert) are now front-and-center when you start the game. There’s no options screen at all: just easily understandable tiles. A tutorial shows up when you first play. The game itself is integrated with XBox Live, complete with Rewards, pointing to future integration across the Microsoft eco-system.
It’s a Windows 8 version of Minesweeper in every sense of the word.
Minesweeper was intended to teach consumers how to use the mouse, so this version is a good point to comparison. And while I’m not convinced the Metro vision is one I embrace on a desktop without a touch screen, I must admit – it works here. You might disagree, but don’t panic – you can grab the XP version of Minesweeper and other games if you’ve got a Windows XP computer around.