The name's Squeak. Agent Squeak.
Firemint have previously helped us realise our dreams of being a racing driver and have shown us what it's like to be an air traffic controller. Now add the thrill of being a super spy Mouse to that list.
Though it seems an odd choice of direction for the company, once you play Spy Mouse you'll realise that it has all the trappings of a Firemint game. The easy to master controls, the high quality presentation and the one-more-go aspect that made Flight Control such a big sell on the App Store.
Spy Mouse is a game about mice, cheese and cats. It's Tom and Jerry meets Flight Control. Your aim, if you hadn't already guessed by now, is to help the mouse gather all the cheese in each room, avoiding the cats and mouse traps along the way. You do this by drawing a line from the mouse to where he needs to go, much in the same way as you draw the flight path in Flight Control. But unlike that game, there are obstacles in the way, in the form of cats who patrol the area. Their patrol space is marked out in dotted lines, so you can tell where they're heading and potentially plan ahead.
Cats will spot you if you stray into their line of sight and then they'll follow you and pounce when they get near enough. If you're quick you can use this to your advantage and make them hit a wall, knocking them unconscious for a while and allowing your mouse to escape. Ideally, though, you will be able to plot a path that avoids the cat's stare altogether.
The first few levels give you a taste of the controls and avoiding the cats. Then the game ups the ante. Carrying only one piece at a time, you need to go back and forth to a safe place to keep the cheese before grabbing the final piece. Only then will the mouse hole open for you to complete the level. After another few levels, the game allows you to carry more cheese at one time, but presents you with another problem, more cheese slows you down. Add in coloured mouse holes that you can use to get across the room, traps which need toy mice to get around and yet more cats and you have a challenge on your hands.
In addition to the main gameplay, there are also small cheese crumbs that you'll find dotted around each level. Small cracks in the wall or a door will reveal a hidden area for more crumbs. Gathering all these will give you more points but will also slow you down, taking some precious time to gather up.
Why is time precious? Well, you'll be timed for each level which will add to your score. There is also the matter of rewards to consider. Each level will give you three objectives, which range from completing the room in a certain time, not alerting the cats or not using objects to help you. The game gives you a handy summary of how many you completed when you finish each world. If you're like me, this will mean revisiting old levels to try and get the remaining achievements.
Boss battles at the end of each world are just as humous and often require a quick hand as well as strategy to complete. Beginning with a stealth level, following a cat without being seen, our mouse finds himself up against the boss cat in a big robotic machine. The boss fight with cutlery stand out in particular as a highlight.
Presentation is up to Firemint's previous standards, each room is laid out in a way that makes it clear what to do, but at the same time there is a level of detail that gives it character. Your mouse and the cats both have a lot of character too and the feeling is often reminiscent of a Tom and Jerry cartoon, with all the humour you would expect from Hanna Barbera. Likewise, the sound is top notch with some lovely sound effects and the music feels very James Bond-esque at times. When everything comes together you have a game that oozes quality.
Unlike Firemint's previous games, however, there will come a time when you complete the six worlds on offer (which is still over seventy levels). I'm hoping they add to this with a future update, but whether you go back and try to aim for all the achievements or delete the game after this point will really decide how much longevity you get from Spy Mouse. If you're someone who can't resist a challenge, then the high scores and achievements may keep you going for some time.
Spy Mouse is another instant hit from Firemint, who seem to be able to do no wrong. If you enjoy a good line drawing game then I recommend that you pick this up straight away.
- Sound: 10
- Graphics: 10
- Gameplay: 10
- Longevity: 9
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