Who doesn't like a cigar-chomping hamster? Apparently, a lot of aliens don't. Throw any back story out the window--you're a rodent with a gun strapped to your back, and you're also humanity's last hope. Keep running and firing to save the planet. Although the graphics are nothing special, the premise is well-designed and attractive, and the gameplay grows more and more frenetic as you advance through levels. Unfortunately, the 30-minute trial barely allows you enough time to finish the seven provided levels. Missiles, which would likely be a key gameplay ingredient, are also unavailable in the demo. Despite these limitations, we recommend the download, if you've got the bandwidth and you're a fan of point-and-click shooters.
As you proceed from left to right through each level, a variety of cartoon aliens will bombard the explosive rodent. You begin with one main gun, which also functions as a laser beam when charged for four to five seconds. Using the gun as a beam allows you to score combinations of enemy destruction, which gives your hamster more money. You also collect coins that fall from the sky, and your cash can be turned into weapons and shield upgrades, lives, or (in the full version) missiles. You also have two "smart bombs" per level that destroy everything on the screen, except for the end-level bosses. Like everything else, extra smarts can be purchased between levels. It's annoying to think the 30-minute trial restriction will prevent the majority of gamers from finishing all seven levels, but the trial version of Mighty Rodent alone provides a very enjoyable coffee break.