Neopets Unbound: A Guide to Mouseless Gaming
All Neopets players know that there are two surefire ways to earn Neopoints. One is restocking. The other is games. Restock isn't for everyone, but for everything from Shenkuu Warrior to the Buzzer Game, nearly every Neopian across the globe is strutting his or her stuff with the mouse.
...or are they? What if the Neopian in question doesn't have a mouse? What if they have a touchpad? Surely it's the same thing? Right?
Nope. Nearly any laptop user will tell you that touchpads are despairingly inadequate for most video games that require the mouse. And even having a mouse isn't a guarantee, since as a mouse ages it becomes dodgy and tends to get 'stuck.' What's a poor Neopian to do? Is all hope lost? Will you have to depend on the Soup Faerie forever?
That's where this guide comes in.
The first thing to know is that lacking a mouse (or a reliable one) is not the end of the world. Far from it. There are plenty of games that don't require a broad range of motion or dexterity with your cursor! A lot of the older games, for example, are great ways to earn that precious NP. (And we all know how much you need it, what with inflation and all.) Meerca Chase, a classic game that was recently revamped for better play, is a great choice, since all it requires is some basic reflexes and four arrow keys. The points to NP conversion isn't too shabby either. To be honest, I don't know anyone who doesn't play this game at least once in a while and most people make it a part of their daily lineup. If you're feeling up for a bit of a challenge and just want to use your keyboard without a mouse, Trouble At The National Neopian is a pretty good game that challenges your brain and reflexes at the same time... but it takes some getting used to. It helps to line up your fingers on the necessary keys and then not look down (you'll miss too much), but even then the game takes a bit of time to play. By the way, the unlisted bandit is a Techo in black clothes.
"But wait!" you protest. "None of these games are any fun, I want something with action!" Well, don't give up quite yet. A lot of the side-scrolling games don't require a mouse of any kind. Have you tried Bruno's Backwoods Breakaway or Hannah and the Pirate Caves? While I'm personally terrible at those games, a lot of my more action-loving friends can really rack up the points! It'll probably take a few plays for you to get used to the levels, but once you get them down you can probably do them with your eyes closed. Pterattack is a good old top-view shooter, not unlike an arcade game but with a distinctly Neopian twist. The red weapons are pretty much the best for raising your score quickly, and while a third or fourth level green weapon is formidable, I'd warn players away from the blue ones entirely, since they do pretty much nothing useful at all. Some people have recommended a game called Jelly Blobs of Doom, but it just doesn't seem to exist...
Suppose you're looking for something relaxing, though. Can the mouseless sector cover that too? It sure can! Pyramids, an older game that many veterans have come to rely on to make ends meet, requires patience but has no time limit and can net you up to five thousand neopoints a day if you have the time and determination to play it out. It's a great game to play while doing something else. The simple point and click interface is easy enough even for really old mice or small touchpads. If you're not up to that, maybe you'll want to try GadGadsgame, which is sort of like a backwards Snowmuncher. This is another game I tend to fail miserably at, but if you're good at puzzles and sorting fruit, it's worth your time. Not many people play it, so the conversion is fairly good. Whack-A-Kass, another option, is simply awesome and merely requires the ability to click a mouse or touchpad, though it's a little bit trickier to time and may not be the best choice for older mice. The key (if you can manage it, which you might not be able to) is to click the mouse right as the little Kass doll hits the ground, making it bounce higher and go farther. I can usually only get up to four or five bounces that way, though I suspect it's possible to do more. Another good game for older mice is Destruct-O-Match, which is widely recognised as an oldie but goodie. Finally, there's Snowmuncher. It has a time limit and can sometimes be tough, but there can be something almost hypnotising about guiding a charming little Polarchuck through layers and layers of tasty dinner. Or at least I think so. Generally you'll want to collect every gem you see in the first and second levels, then go after them conservatively in the third. After that, just go from potion to potion and only grab a gem if it's immediately available... or if you're about to bloat completely and you won't reach the potion anyway. By the way, you can slip under a couple of blocks and out again before they fall if you've got fast fingers.
That's about it, really. I could sit and list games until the Kaus come home, but you get the idea. Having no mouse (or simply owning a very old one) is NOT the end of the world. Sure, you won't be able to play everything. But there's a wealth of games out there just waiting for you. And once you've found a few that, you like you'll never want for NP again. Well, unless you want Hubrid's Puzzle Box or the Grimoire of Thade... but that's a task for another guide.