App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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I almost always have preconceived notions whenever I start playing a game for the first time. For better or worse, I just can't help but assume things based on videos, screens shots, user reviews and so on. Based on my general disinterest in line-drawing games, recent releases notwithstanding, I wasn't expecting to be as enamored with SPY Mouse as I have been. Yes it's the latest title from Firemint, makers of all things awesome on iOS, but I still had my doubts. Mmmmmm, Humble Pie.
SPY Mouse follows the exploits of one Agent Squeak as he attempts to liberate some wayward cheeses from their fascist oppressors. Or something to that effect. In practice, it involves tracing a path for the diminutive double-o in order to steer him around dangers, through the cheese and to the exit. Instead of directing multiple targets players will be controlling Agent Squeak exclusively, requiring some altogether new strategies compared to what Firemint fans are probably used to. This includes completing a level by tracing a single line, never getting spotted and so on. Flight Control this is not.
SPY Mouse is certainly a looker with it's highly polished cartoon visuals, but the music really steals the show. The soundtrack takes inspiration from virtually every spy movie and TV show throughout history, creating a sound that isn't entirely unique but fits the theme perfectly. It really sells the lighthearted silliness of it all. As do the over-the-top boss fights. Yes, boss fights.
Another great quality of SPY Mouse is its longevity. Six different worlds with their own unique challenges, over 70 levels and three ribbons to earn for each. It's the ribbons that really do it; asking players to finish in under a certain time, make a cat run into a wall and the like. Completing a level is all fine and dandy, but getting all three ribbons (which thankfully don't have to be earned all in one go) takes some doing. Even in the first world.
The only issues I've come across are those that we've all come to expect with the genre. Namely fingers getting in the way of the action on occasion, as well as an unintended hand movement tracing a line that's just slightly off the mark. It's nothing that breaks the experience or even lessens the fun, but sometimes Agent Squeak will have to have a do-over. That's just how it is I suppose.
SPY Mouse has been "two years in the making," and it shows. It might "just" be a line-drawing game, but it's one of the best and most thought-out line drawing games on the App Store. Fans of games like this should snap it up right away. Everyone else should still give it a try. It might just win them over.