When Microsoft published their free Xbox Live version of Minesweeper in August, we were all happy to get a free game. However, we noticed something was up with it. Namely, there were so many mines that you couldn’t solve the puzzles properly! Minesweeper’s supposed to be challenging, but not like that. I resolved to stop playing it until an update came out.

Thankfully, Microsoft and developer Babaroga took notice of these problems as well. Today they issued an update corrects the difficulty issues, but it’s not a traditional update. Minesweeper’s control data is stored as an XML file on a Microsoft server. This allows the developers to make adjustments to the game without the need for a patch. When gamers launch the game while connected to the internet, it checks for the updated XML file and updates accordingly.

Today’s Minesweeper changes include:

Classic mode

  • Intermediate:
    Mines reduced from 36 to 24
    Experience reward increased from 150 to 200
  • Advanced:
    Mines reduced from 76 to 60
    Experience increased from 250 to 300

Speed mode

  • Beginner:
    Mines reduced from 15 to 12
    Experience increased from 150 to 200
  • Intermediate:
    Mines reduced from 40 to 24
    Experience increased from 200 to 300
  • Advanced:
    Experience increased from 300 to 400

To update your game, launch the game while connected to the internet. You may need to load up the Leaderboards and/or restart the game for the changes to take effect. You’ll know it worked when the mines listed on the difficulty selection pages match the new values.

It’s amazing what a difference a few less mines can make. Previously, it took me over 100 tries to complete an Intermediate puzzle. Post-update, I finished one on my first try. This dramatically improves the game and makes the Achievements much easier too. Look forward to our full review soon.

Minesweeper is free on Xbox Live. Get it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.