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For: iPad   Also on: iPhone

Smelly cat?

Product: Mittens | Developer: MetroGames | Publisher: Disney Mobile Studios | Format: iPad | Genre: Action, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Mittens iPad, thumbnail 1
It's high stakes time on the App Store. Can Disney's emotionally resonant, artistically adventurous, and thoroughly niche new... oh, wait, no. It's another physics-based puzzler. Let's try that again.

Does Disney's latest physics-based puzzler have a hope in hell of making an impact in the overloaded App Store? It's going to take something pretty special, so let's see if Mittens manages to pull it off.

Initial signs are good. After all, this is Disney - and Mittens features all the polish you'd expect from the House of Mouse. Its location hopping series of challenges - which sees our eponymous cat hero attempting to woo a female feline by collecting bric-a-brac around the world - has the purposeful Gallic charm of a Pepé Le Pew cartoon.

It's slickly animated, whimsically orchestrated, and - thankfully - pretty creative when it comes to the all-important gaming bits too.

Milking it

For the asking price, Mittens coughs up three themed worlds - the city rooftops, a high-flying circus, and some underground caves - featuring 24 stages each. An additional 24 languish in the depths, too, should you fancy handing over a smidgen more cash.

What's great about Mittens is its relentless sense of creativity, with each themed area delivering its own unique array of obstacles to overcome and contraptions to exploit.

IAPs explained
Mittens contains three extra sets of levels, which you can download for 69p / 99c each.
On the rooftops, for instance, you're tasked with collecting milk bottles by bouncing off telegraph cables, accosting pigeons for momentary flight, bothering grumpy old men who fling open their windows to launch you across the stage, and probing valves to blast into the air.

Over at the circus, meanwhile, you're able to ride roller coasters, cannon blast through flaming hoops, and boing between inflated apes, among other things. There are constants, too, such as hackable wooden platforms and cuttable strings that offer various forms of momentum as you launch and leap to your goal.

It's all deftly handled by an array of pleasantly tactile touchscreen controls and stage design that puts the focus on careful timing rather than cerebral problem-solving.

You'll rarely struggle to meet your objective once you've got the lay of a level, making for an enjoyable if largely undemanding endeavour. In fact, Mittens's only real challenge comes from collecting all three gems deposited across each stage, and it's here that the game makes its only mild stumble.

Diamonds in the rough

You see, having tipped the balance toward platform antics, Mittens sees fit to add a timing-style streak to gem-collecting. Jewels shift lazily across each stage, easily reached provided you're in the right place at the right time.

Trouble is, it introduces a mildly irritating degree of trial and error to proceedings, forcing a complete and ponderously slow level restart each time you make a blunder. It's just not an especially entertaining mechanic once you've missed a gem by mere pixels for the fifth, sixth, seventh time in a row.

Still, that doesn't particularly detract from Mittens's pleasantly diverting action as you hop through its imaginative, if brisk, array of levels.

Of course, it's hard to get too excited by another physics-based puzzler that merely offers a solidly entertaining example of the well-worn genre - but if you've yet to have your fill when it comes to this kind of thing, there's some decent entertainment to be found in Mittens.
Reviewer photo
Matt Wales | 12 April 2013
A nicely presented, if largely unexceptional, physics-based puzzler that's inventive enough to entertain for the duration of its relatively swift run-time
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