Mr. Montgomery's Debonair Facial Hair's recent App Store release comes smack dab in the middle of Movember, and one can't fault Hunted Cow for their perfect timing. Upon first blush, trimming and reshaping mustaches could be amusing for one's initial go round, but can a facial hair centric title get past its novelty?
One of the gutsier creative moves by the developers is the app's catchy yet seemingly unwieldy title. What does the moniker really mean, and even if it rolls off the tongue, will it be skipped over by many iOS lovers? The game centers on the cutting adventures of an apprentice barber, and under the tutelage of Mr. Montgomery, our protagonist will attempt to claim the coveted title of Moustache Maestro.
Your first step is a quick tutorial which breaks down the action. As your client is in your chair, circles will form on the screen, and you'll slide your finger to follow the circles' direction. If you miss a circle or follow it in the wrong direction, they will be marked in red. The key is to get all these objects filled with green before they disappear. In the following photo, my uncoordinated digit did a pretty mixed job, which doesn't bode well for this poor soul's mustache.
If sliding your finger over rapidly vanishing circles was the only challenge in getting a good cut from the barber, this app would be way too easy for its own good. But the stages get slightly harder as you progress, as black holes, anchors, and even sharks will appear out of nowhere to block your path. As long as you earn at least one out of three stars on a level, you can move forward. Having things randomly pop up to keep you distracted will certainly hinder your barber skills. It took me several tries before I successfully gave a successful cut without getting totally screwed by the shark.
Through the use of its subtle score and charming 2D visual design, Mr. Montgomery's Debonair Facial Hair effectively captures a specified tone of the little town of Stashton Upon Sea. Next to each of the character's icon on the app menu is an audio button you can press which contains an amusing comment from each of your clients. The game has a nice sense of humor, and for the hour plus I played the the app, I was completely entertained. Having a boatload of Game Center achievements to unlock is also a plus.
The app's only flaw is short lifespan. Once you finishing giving the King of Stashton a solid mustache, you receive your certificate and your journey is pretty much over. If you didn't earn a perfect three stars on certain sections, you can always go back and take those scissors out one more time. For reasons I won't discuss, I've given the bearded lady more than a few trims -- free of charge.
A few more levels may have placed Mr. Montgomery's Debonair Facial Hair on a different creative stratosphere, but it's still a bargain as a $0.99 download. In-app purchases are also not needed to complete the game, so credit the developers for not going for the all too frequent cash grab. Maybe next time Mr. Montgomery opens his doors, a few more mustaches will twirl our way.