ClueSweeper: Genre Bender

Play the game here.

Just trying to explain the basic premise of ClueSweeper will raise some eyebrows. As somewhat implied by the name, it is a combination of Minesweeper and Clue. So how does it work? The goal of the game is to figure out which of the suspects is the killer within a certain amount of “time”. Time is equivalent to the number of tiles you have left to click on. Each click removes one time. When you click on a tile, several things can occur. The first is that the tile that comes up is grey and a number appears on it. This means that your search there has turned up no clues, but the number indicates how many tiles around it have objects of interest. A yellow tile gives you more information about one of the suspects. A blue tile indicates something that the killer is NOT (example, The killer is not left-handed). A green tile is a clue for what the killer IS (example, The killer is right-handed). Red herrings, indicated by a black tile, are bad; they remove some time.

This is what the board looks like after a couple of turns

As you learn more and more information, it can very easily get difficult keeping track of it all. That’s why the game records it all for you. You can look at all of the clues gathered about the killer by clicking on “View Notepad”. This brings up a list of everything the killer is or isn’t that you’ve discovered so far. To look at the information you have about each suspect, just place your mouse over that particular person. If it’s clear that one of the suspects is not the killer, click to mark an X over that person. If you make a mistake with that, you can click again to remove the X. Once you’ve eliminated all but one person, or believe that you have enough information, hit the “Solve!” button to make your accusation.


Once you’ve made your accusation, you are told whether or not you are correct. If so, you have solved the case and are able to proceed to the next one. You also get a score based on the number of clues you found, as well as how quickly you solved the case. If you guessed the wrong person, you’ll have to try the case again (with different people and clues).

Victory indeed

But why do I bring up this game? Quite simply, it’s because of how unique it is simply by taking two completely different games and combining them. Many games today typically fit into a single genre, such as first-person shooter or tower defense. Although there might be details that make one first-person shooter better than another, quite honestly, they typically play about the same. There really isn’t a lot of difference between strictly first-person shooter games. However, the games that feel very different are the ones that combine two, or more, genres. For example, a combination first-person shooter and tower defense. A game like this will feel quite different from a regular tower defense or first-person shooter. (Note: This type of game exists. Look at Sanctum). ClueSweeper is an example of this combination of genres. The game doesn’t invent MineSweeper or Clue; instead, he combined the two and made a game that felt completely new.

  1. springsteen1 said:

    I love the idea of merging two games – what if we merged PacMan and Monopoly?
    Monopoly and a video game? There have been video versions of Monopoly, so it wouldn’t be difficult, and for purposes of understanding and exploring game mechanics, I love the idea that we can visually juxtapose two perhaps very different games. In this case, cool points about the merging and why it works. I love that idea.

  2. This game is such a great idea. It actually be one of the most original games I’ve played in a while. It’s so hard to do a mashup of two different genres and get it right. The only other example I can think of is Puzzle Quest, but that’s only because it was mentioned in Juul’s article. I wonder if that means successful game mashups are rare because their mechanics normally don’t mesh well. Cluesweeper gets around that through subtle modification that must have taken lots of playtesting hours.

    • ultrapoulet said:

      I think part of the reason mash-ups seem somewhat rare is not only because the mechanics don’t fit well, but also that there isn’t that great of a market. For example, if you’re a first-person shooter fan, you’re more likely to get a new Call of Duty game than something like Sanctum (FPS + Tower Defense). I think players are less willing to try out new takes on current genres. That isn’t to say that there are almost no genre mixes in games. Sequence is a combination of Dance Dance Revolution and RPG with battles. Realm of the Mad God is a combination shooter (Sorta like Asteroids) and MMORPG. Beat Hazard is a combination (Asteroids-style) shooter and rhythm game. There are plenty more mash-ups, but these are just ones I’ve played. I actually don’t think they’re all that rare, they just go unnoticed by the general population.

  3. jonespj said:

    While playing this game, I often felt that I was simply playing Clue, as I continuously forgot to incorporate the rules of MineSweeper. It was slightly addicting; as soon as I finished one case, I felt it was a must to complete the others. The fact that if you haven’t accumulated any worthwhile clues, you have have to piece them together to figure out the murderer, also kept my interest in the game.That intrigued me. I felt as if I was simply competing against myself and my logic. Overall I feel that, this game is a great twist to Clue. Never would have imagined there would be anything close to an interactive version.

  4. This game was somewhat addicting. The need or want to complete cases really pushed me to accomplish my goal. It keeps you interested and attracts your attention by having you piece together different clues that can be used to solve the case. It challenges you, not your skills. Its very interactive. It sort of reminds me of a game made on the Playstation 3 called L.A. Noir. If gamers like this game they should most definitely give L.A. Noire a chance.

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