Whenever your favourite musician or painter embarks on a new project, you're immediately interested because of the quality of their past work. You don't even need to know what the next endeavour is - your instincts tell you it'll be good.
Real Racing and Flight Control developer Firemint have earned such a right, although after having played Agent Squeek there's reason to be excited about this action-packed puzzle game independent of its creator's resume. Offering a bit of action, puzzle-solving, and charm, it's the sort of clever game you can't help but love.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it...
The game has you scampering about levels as a special mouse operative that goes by the handle "Agent Squeek." Your job is to skirt past feline fiends, bypass traps, and work through a range of environments to nab bits of cheese.
Each level acts as a sort of puzzle-solving exercise in which you draw a path for your mouse hero to follow. Obviously, you must trace a line that avoids cats and other obstacles, while at the same time getting you closer to your ultimate objective: cheese.
For instance, one of the game's earliest levels places a spot of cheese in the center of a pleasantly decorated living room. Reaching it would be a snap - just draw a line from Agent Squeek to the cheese - were it not for a cat patroling the room. Timing your swipes of the screen is key to getting to your goal unscathed.
While I was only able to play the easy introductory levels, Firemint insists that the challenges ramp up both in terms of complexity and variety. Massive boss battles, scary cats engulfed in flames, crazy mechanical contraptions and other creative challenge await.
It's not clear just how many levels will be offered, but based on Firemint's description of the game there will be an enormous number of stages. Of course, expect full support for Game Center to boost the game's replay value.
What's most impressive is the game's polish. Although its gameplay is simple, it feels fully realised. There aren't rough edges and there's a sensibility to the controls that make it instantly accessible; moreover, the promised variety in terms of obstacles, enemies, and level design make my hardcore heart flutter.
Agent Squeek is a refreshing departure from the developer's earlier work, yet looks to continue the Firemint brand of quality, in-depth gameplay that has made them top of class on iPhone and iPod touch.
Agent Squeek will be available for iPhone and iPod touch sometime later this year; no price has yet been announced.