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Mia: The Search for Grandma’s Remedy

Score: 90%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Kutoka Interactive
Developer: Kutoka Interactive
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Edutainment/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

One of the few problems with Mia: The Search for Grandma’s Remedy is that it’s just 256 colors. Not only that, but it forces you to downshift your bit depth to 256 colors if you have it set to anything higher. So, while you’re playing it, prepare for really drab backgrounds and icons. The in-game graphics themselves look fine, with pre-rendered still backgrounds, although you can see the effects of dithering all over. Sure, 256 colors grants compatibility, but most computer systems nowadays have at least 16 bit graphics cards. The character designs are cute, even the “icky” spiders. It’s rather adorable, actually.

Most of The Search for Grandma’s Remedy either doesn’t have music or it’s a reiteration of the “Mia Song,” which thankfully isn’t too bad. The voice acting of the various characters is top-notch, which is pretty much a requirement for a game with so much speech. Unfortunately, you can’t skip speeches you’ve already heard, which will grow quickly annoying when you’re in a long game (the first board game comes to mind) and he reminds you for the umpteenth time that “You lose a po-oi-nt!” Ugh. Overall, though, the game’s presentation is great. A little mouse running around is a pretty novel idea.


Imagine Bad Mojo with cute mice instead of cockroaches... and no deaths... and no gore... and no bathrooms. Erm. Never mind. Okay. Mia: The Search for Grandma’s Remedy is a rather cute little adventure/edutainment game where you control a little mouse named Mia (surprisingly enough), who has to get a remedy for her grandmother’s illness. You control Mia very simply -- she goes where the mouse is pointing. No need to click unless you want her to act on something. The interface is clean and elegant, and if you want to move faster, you can use the arrow keys to have her whip out the skateboard and cruise at about twice the speed.

There are all sorts of puzzles and games and such that you have to solve throughout the game, all of them geared towards kids, of course. There are four difficulty levels, and they do make an impact on the game, from how long the games last to how accurate you have to aim and such. There’s a wide variety of activities as well -- from adding the missing letters to words to following instructions with moving objects around on the screen. The various activities make for less boredom, although some of them can only be done once or twice before they get repetitive. Kids, especially the age groups that this game is geared towards (kindergarten to second grade), might not notice the difference.

A few problems come up with the speed of the game -- even on my brand-new system, it runs SLOW. It gags sometimes when I try to move vertically, and the sound and movie often de-sync. But probably the one most annoying thing about the game is the way Mia moves when you click on something. She’ll circle around the area seemingly aimlessly before hitting on the “execution point,” when she starts to move again with a purpose. You’ll want to slap her around to get a move on. Fortunately, the activities and game world is entertaining enough that you really won’t mind too much.

Along the way, kids will learn all sorts of neat things from words to use of magnetism. And not all of it is presented in the activities -- a lot is learned just by clicking on stuff in the various areas. The explanation of a carpenter’s level struck me as particularly interesting. It’s learning without realizing you’re learning. Good stuff.


There are a few annoying walk-back-and-forth puzzles, but overall, Mia: The Search for Grandma’s Remedy is not difficult at all to understand what’s going on. A younger kid can always be helped by their parents, and the older ones should be able to pick up on what needs to be done. And if you’re ever in doubt, you can click on Mia, who’ll tell you almost always what you need to do next.

Game Mechanics:

The follow-the-mouse mechanics are nice and easy to understand. It took me a while to figure out how to save the game (F3), but once I did, I got a lot less perturbed at having to start over again and again. If the engine were a bit smoother -- jumpiness on a 450 MHz machine is just frightening, considering the minimum system is a P100 -- this game would be practically perfect in both presentation and usefulness. As it is, Mia: The Search for Grandma’s Remedy is still a great game, marred by a few speed problems that detract only slightly from the enjoyment of a well-put-together edutainment title.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:

Win95, P100, 32MB Ram, VGA Card, 16-Bit Soundblaster or compatible, 4X CD, 30MB HD Space (or Mac with System 7.6+, PowerPC 100 MHz, 32MB RAM, VGA Card, Standard Mac Sound, 4X CD, 30MB HD Space)

Test System:

Win98, AMD K6-III 450, 256 MB RAM, Creative Labs TNT2 Ultra w/32MB VRAM, SoundBlaster Live!, 6X/24X DVD-ROM Drive

Windows MDK2 Windows NHL 2001

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated