Transformice is a Free-to-play online browser game created by French designers known by their aliases Melibellule and Tigrounette. Melibellule handles the game's artwork and graphics, while Tigrounette programs the game's functions and mechanics. The game was released on May 1, 2010.
In the game, players control a mouse that must collect a piece of cheese on a map and bring it back to their mouse hole. As they continue to gather cheese, they are given points on a scoreboard. Once a player reaches the highest score on the board, they become a Shaman in the next map involving one. As a Shaman, players can create and build objects and contraptions on the map to help the other mice collect the cheese. Shamans can also hinder the other mice, either purposely or accidentally. The game is updated on a regular basis, to implement special events, add new items into the game's item shop, or to update the game's mechanics.
According to Alexa rankings, as of April 2011, the site is within the top 40,000 most popular websites and the top 10,000 in Turkey, Brazil and Chile. It has won a People's Choice Award in Mochi Media's Flash Gaming Summit 2011. The game is recognized by Newgrounds, Kotaku and Kongregate. It has also garnered over 180,000 likes on Facebook as of April 2011. The game was originally only in French, running on French servers, but has since expanded to English, Russian, Brazilian (Portugese), Turkish and Chinese servers with their own language support.
The main objective of the game is to collect a piece of cheese placed randomly around a map. Players can control their mouse with the arrow keys or the WASD keys to run, duck and jump. Players mice must touch the cheese to collect it. After which, the player must take the collected cheese back to the map's mouse hole to finish. The number of cheese and mouse holes varies between maps. Players are awarded points on a scoreboard that is updated in real-time. Bonus points are awarded for players who place first, second or third. Collecting cheese is recorded into a player's permanent stats. Players are also given extra recognition in their stats for finishing first. Maps have a time limit of two minutes, at which time a new map is loaded. Maps can instantly switch before the time limit if all mice complete the map or die. Dying takes away one point from a player's score on the scoreboard.
When a player reaches the highest score on the scoreboard, they will become a Shaman in the next map involving one. The general objective of the Shaman is to help the other mice to reach the cheese and bring it back to the hole. Doing so will award the Shaman with 'saves' for each mouse who completes the map, which are recorded onto the player's stats. The Shaman can do so by summoning objects such as boards, boxes, anvils and balloons to create buildings or contraptions such as bridges to cross gaps or various other obstacles. A shaman can 'anchor' or connect boards and boxes to other world objects or summoned objects with various-colored nails. Red nails keep an object firmly grounded and will not move. Yellow nails connect to most other objects, particularly red-nailed ones, and keep an object's placement, but can move. Green nails connect two objects but are loose and can rotate an object.
Upon reaching 1,000 total saves as a Shaman, a player can choose to become a 'hard mode' Shaman. In hard mode, a Shaman cannot use red nails which anchor an object solidly, nor can they use the Spirit tool, which can push mice and objects with a flash of light. In lieu of this, hard mode Shaman's can create a pre-made 'totem', which is constructed on an in-game editor map. Totems can be constructed with up to 20 objects, but only one red nail may be used as an anchor. A completed totem construction can be summoned instantly as a hard mode Shaman and is immediately functional, but may only be summoned once per map.
Collected cheese is also saved up and used as currency in the game. Players can use this currency to buy virtual clothing items for their mouse in the game's item shop. Items are purely visual and do not give bonus stats. Players can also create their own maps via an in-game editor. Created maps must be verified by a test run of the map where the creator has to be able to successfully collect the cheese and bring it back to the hole. Once verified, players can choose to submit their map into rotation at the cost of 40 cheese.
An in-game achievement system awards players with new titles. Titles are awarded for collecting specific numbers of cheese, obtaining a certain amount of first place victories, accumulating saves as a Shaman and buying items from the shop.
Trolling is considered a part of the game, as stated in the in-game 'Help/Rules' menu. Some players infrequently decide to troll, whether playing as the Shaman or a normal mouse. Shamans can kill other mice by striking them with cannonballs and other objects, as well as blocking them from progressing in the map by building an impossible to pass structure. Normal mice can troll by stalling, which is to stay on the map for as long as possible without capturing the cheese. They can also push other mice, including the Shaman, off the stage in maps where there is collision detection.
The game was developed by Melibellule (real name Mélanie Christin, born July 24, 1986) and Tigrounette (real name unknown, born February 22, 1984). The two met at work and became friends. The idea for Transformice came about when the two decided to team up and create a game together. Tigrounette had experience making games in the past and wanted Melibellule's artistry experience to help in creating the visuals. Melibellule pitched the idea of a little mouse who had to grab a piece of cheese and bring it back to the mouse hole as quickly as possible.
Before Transformice, Tigrounette had worked on another online flash game in April 2008 titled Aaaah! The object of the game was to control a stick figure-like character through a silhouetted map to reach a pharmacy. The game boasted similar mechanics to Transformice, in that multiple players were competing for the same goal while one player with the most points was designated as a guide and could draw pathways to help the other players reach the goal. The game also has a map editor much like Transformice.
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