Microsoft Treasure Hunt Strategy Guide
The links following take you to additional pages of the Guide.
- Introduction and General Strategies (this page)
- General Patterns
- Row Patterns
- Corner Patterns
- Specific Patterns
- Level 86 Walk Through
Microsoft Treasure Hunt is a free logic puzzle game available from the Microsoft Studios in the Windows Store. It is a variant of the venerable Minesweeper game bundled with older versions of Windows, updated both in graphic appeal, and involving a more complex strategy.
Treasure Hunt is a level-based game where the object is to find the exit and escape to the next level. The level grid is comprised of 5 terrain types: traps, treasure, unexposed ground, exposed ground and barriers. Every five levels (those ending with 1 or 6) , you enter the Greedy Mummy Shop where you can buy resources with the treasure you find on the grid.
As you can see below, I finally reached level 275 and was very close to the exit when I made a mistake and hit a trap. I was out of resources, and even without the mistake, at best I could have only hoped for one more level.
In the following I first give some general advice, and then go over specific problems.
Backup and Recovery
While there is no way to replay a level built into the game, there are valid reasons to want to save a game and come back to it later. The primary reason is that sometimes the game crashes, and starts you over at Level 1 with none of your permanent items. One way to back up a game is to play it on some other computer. There is a “local copy” on each computer where you play the game, and as you play a copy is saved in cloud storage. When you start a game where the local copy differs from the cloud storage copy, you are prompted to pick which game to resume. Once you pick a game, it gets copied to cloud storage.
So recently when I was on a trip with my tablet computer, Microsoft Treasure Hunt crashed at the end of level 136, dumping me back to Level 1. When I got home, I started the game on my desktop system, where I had left off at level 66. I chose the Local game, and it restarted me at level 66 with all my permanent items. That’s better than Level 1 with nothing!
Note: after the game crashed it offered me the option the Local / Cloud option. Local was the wrong answer!
When you play Microsoft Treasure Hunt in tablet mode a new button appears in the upper right of the screen. It looks like a leather patch with two flags. When you click this button the games switches to tablet mode. Here’s how tablet mode works:
|Tap on unexposed cell||Flag the cell|
|Tap on exposed cell||Enter the cell|
|Tap-hold unexposed cell||Enter the cell|
|Tap on number||Chords the number (see section on “chording”)|
Since this article was originally written, a number of bugs appear to have been fixed, specifically I have not seen the crash on return from the bonus level in a long time. I still see the bonus level video fail to play resulting in your losing the bonus upon return–what I have found helps is to retry the video, sometimes many times, until it actually plays.
Running on a desktop, I found that attempting to chord (clicking the left and right mouse buttons together) gathering treasure in a bonus level locks up the game immediately and then crashes. There are problems using explosives next to doors where the game will not automatically route you around the door through the gaps you have opened, and if you have a key or an arrow, it will use that to clear the door or monster even though there is a way around the barrier.
GS1 – When given the opportunity, buy pickaxe belts, map tubes and dynamite bags. These are permanent, and will be with you even if you start a new game, and you will have to start a new game eventually. At the most advanced level you can accommodate containers to hold 30 maps, 30 pickaxes, and 30 dynamite sticks. Also buy Hero’s Hearts (up to 5 lives). Note: Pickaxes cannot dig through the stone walls, but they can dig through the boulders.
GS2 – At the Greedy Mummy Shop, buy all the maps, dynamite and pickaxes you can. There is no advantage to saving money because items will only be more expensive at the next shop. After the first shop, where items are 30 gold, the cost increase and after the next level, the cost goes up by 300 gold at each subsequent shop. Around level 30, you can start to accumulate large amounts of gold, but at higher levels, the treasure you find does not increase in value as fast has the cost of resources. I suggest that you do not buy shields. They are expensive, they only expose one trap, and they prevent you from using up your cost-free lives to explore territory.
GS3 – In the lower levels, he amount of treasure you gather will not allow you to buy many resources at the Greedy Mummy Shop. If you have to choose, buy and use maps because they give you the most information per unit cost. Buy some dynamite in case you have to remove a barrier, but mostly maps. In the middle levels you will be able to buy everything in the Mummy Shop. In the upper levels, you will once again have to pinch pennies, and maps are the best value.
Here’s a fairly typical situation:
One might be tempted to use a pickaxe to expose the two traps at the entrance. That works, but probably half the time, it won’t give you enough information to clear the entire space. A map will. One map costs 3 times as much as 3 pickaxes.
GS4 – Usually, the level numbers ending in 0 and 5 are levels designed to allow you to accumulate treasure. Be sure to do it. You will find groups of 4 treasure items surrounded by a barrier or completely enclosed with traps. Use dynamite to get at the treasure. Hint: when you see 4 treasures on one of these levels and no wall around them, they are usually surrounded by traps, or in one instance on level 35 by 11 traps.
GS5 – Always seek and enter the bonus levels. Here’s why:
- The advertisement gives you a break to stretch your legs. If you relax a bit, you are less likely to make a mistake.
- You gain significant treasure at the lower levels, and you need it then.
- You regain any lost lives in the level. You may want to save entering the bonus level until you have lost some lives.
- You get a four-leaf clover doubling the value of treasure you receive when you return to the main level. You may want to enter the bonus level ASAP to maximize the result of doubling. This is especially important for level numbers that are a multiple of 5, the treasure levels.
Some users of Microsoft Treasure Hunt experience game freezes when exiting a bonus level. That can in some cases cause you to die and have to start the level over. If you see this occasionally, you may want to decide to enter the level based on where you are in the level (always take a bonus level at the beginning). One trick I use is to take a screen shot of the level before entering the bonus level, so that I can recreate my position without having to expend resources (maps, etc.). It is possible that this crash is due to the graphics card driver. Check with the manufacturer’s web site for the latest version.
GS6 – Expose all unexposed squares adjacent to blank squares (those that are exposed but with no adjacent trap count) before moving. This has two advantages. First, you might find that moving into the area exposes additional blank squares. Second, you may make a mistake and assume one of them could hold a trap, when it can’t. Sometimes you will see a treasure surrounded by 7 ground squares, but with an entrance you can get to. Grab the treasure immediately because it might just expose some adjacent blank squares.
Moving next to a blank area can solve the issue of the exit. For example:
Moving to the right and then up two spaces reveals additional blank space above the exit.
GS7 – Flag all the traps you can before moving. This has two benefits. It may help you solve nearby squares, and it prevents you from accidentally running into a trap. (You can’t run into a flag.)
GS8 – One of the most serious mistakes you can make is to flag a cell that isn’t a trap. It throws off your patterns, and you’ll almost invariably run into a trap (or more than one). If you run into a trap that you didn’t expect, un-flag all the adjacent traps and re-evaluate them. Do not move until you resolve the anomaly.
GS9 – Use your lives. Particularly if you have the Hero’s Heart with 5 lives, you can save resources by using a life to intentionally trigger a trap. This is especially useful if you have already found a way to the exit, but want to probe some unexposed areas to get more treasure. Life is cheap.
GS10 – If you are down to two lives, do nothing but try to find a path to the exit. Use your maps. It’s too easy to get blown up, and after 100 levels, you do not want to die!
GS11 – Be specially careful around exposed traps. You become visually accustomed to counting flagged traps, and may miss counting an exposed trap if you get in a hurry.
GS12 – If you get stuck in one place, try somewhere else. It may be that you can eventually work back to where you were stuck, or when you come back to the problem, you may see a solution you missed before.
GS13 – When using a map, try to position it so as to cover the most unexposed territory.
GS14 –An area fully enclosed by a barrier and showing a single treasure is probably not worth the cost of the dynamite to blast in, and rarely has any more treasure than you can see.
GS15 – It’s not the best strategy to try to clear the entire map. While this is possible and beneficial in the early levels, later on doing so will require resources (maps, pickaxes and dynamite) and generally you will not find enough treasure to pay for the resources you used.
GS16 – When there is only one way forward, it doesn’t have a trap. Here’s an example:
In this case the opening between the wall is the only opening between here and the exit. It is safe to enter the square to right between the walls.
GS17 – When presented with the option of using dynamite to get access to treasure that is worth less than the cost of the dynamite, consider whether you can use the explosion to both get the treasure and to clear the way forward. If it advances the way forward, them perhaps it’s a better cost-benefit than using a map.
GS18 – Consider using dynamite rather than a map for very congested areas. In many cases the dynamite will create or expose a new area with few traps, that can be crossed easily.
When clearing level after level, one becomes adept at pattern recognition and can, without reflection, clear large sections of a map using the simple rules detailed in this guide. As the game progresses, the layout of the traps shifts and something that you might expect not be there appears. Instead of a simple row pattern there will be an additional uncovered cell that might or might not be a trap, unnoticed because is around the corner of a wall or something like that. Being complacent in a transition is a serious danger because you may find yourself flagging traps that might not be traps, and then chording will hit lots of traps, and you will be losing lives quickly. As I said in the general strategies, when a trap is wrongly flagged STOP and work out what you did wrong before moving on. Level 178 is an example of a transition level.