With the big success of iOS titles like Where’s My Water? and Where's My Perry?, Disney has proved that they can compete in the world of mobile games. That's kind of a funny thought, considering that it doesn't get any bigger than Disney when it comes to media companies. But the world of mobile games is an uncharted wild west, where early pioneers like Rovio and Gameloft can go toe-to-toe with the House of Mouse.
So it's odd to think that a new game from Disney might not be up to snuff and it's what I was thinking about when I booted up Disney's latest offering, Mittens. I was also thinking about my childhood cat, because my cat's name was mittens. But that's neither here nor there! So how did Disney do?
My skepticism proved to be founded in certain respects, but also off the mark as well. This new physics puzzler starts off simple, but builds in challenge to keep the attention of older gamers. Mittens proved to be a tight, compact and polished little title that satisfies with its brisk pace and amusing characters. And it's really easy to just boot this up and swipe through a few levels.
While it's not exactly in my wheelhouse in terms of subject matter, I found myself chuckling more than once at the game's clever animations. The European-like setting of Milktown is also, I feel, an homage to the home of a certain notorious, musky lothario of a skunk. Not to mention the overall premise of doing anything you can to impress your feline companion.
As you would imagine for a Disney title aimed at the youngins, it doesn't take long to figure out the gameplay in this title. After all, Disney is perfecting and refining their own breed of physics-based puzzle platformer, and Mittens is very much in step with those efforts.
This both serves to help the game and to take away from it a bit. It helps it because the game is very smooth, well thought out, and executed seamlessly. What you would expect from a well-oiled machine. But at the same time, it does have a bit of a stamped-out feel to it, bringing along elements that feel a little too familiar from other games.
After a couple of introductory levels, where the basics and new gameplay elements are laid out, you are off to the races, sending Mittens bouncing and pouncing around different levels that continue to grow in size and complexity.
Like many physics-based iOS puzzle platformers out there, the game is segmented into four different areas, with each one containing 20 levels. There are also bonus levels you can unlock, depending on how efficient you are at snagging milk bottles for your feline love.
Mittens is a pretty steady offering. The bulk of the game is mostly easy levels for younger kids, while there are some sneakily difficult levels here and there that will surprise you with how tough they can be. I would recommend getting the HD version for $1.99 over the iPhone version for $0.99. It's worth the extra dollar to be able to play it on an iPad without having to expand the screen size.
A word of warning though: beware of the theme music. It will get stuck in your head!