Sr. Mistu HD ($1.99) by We Choose Fun is a quirky line drawing game for the iPad that comes with excellent graphics and an only so-so game mechanic.
This title is a perfect example of relaxed casual gaming on iOS, but without Game Center integration and a more precise control system, it’s not yet the new Fruit Ninja.
In Sr. Mistu HD, players assume the identity of Sr. Mistu, a man who has neither sight nor olives, but a ton of flavorless pizzas. Users must direct his dog, Gaido, through level after level collecting olives until the protagonist finally has enough greens to top those pies with.
Quirky narrative aside, it can be a real challenge to guide the duo through traffic. Not only must players avoid obvious hazards like cars and potholes, but more abstract roadblocks like pianos, baby strollers, and fish, too. Players must also create the level’s entire path in one go, leading to various timing struggles that must be conquered before Sr. Mistu can reach the exit.
The game comes wrapped in a brilliant art style. The illustrations are lovingly crafted, and reminded me a lot of classic children’s literature. Animations are crisp, and every loose sprite seems to fit effortlessly into the title’s easygoing motif.
The level design itself is also grand, though at times Sr. Mistu HD can become rather repetitive. It’s the same challenge on each map (avoid the obstacles and obtain the olives).
Even though the developer’s have done their best to keep things interesting, having to redo a level over and over because your path is only slightly off can be very demoralizing, especially when each course starts to feel the same.
It’s worth noting, however, that the pacing of the game is simply excellent. Though no new game mechanics are added to the mix, the scenery changes dramatically as levels progress, creating a natural flow that greatly encourages playtime.
Still, I would have liked to see integration with either Game Center or OpenFeint. Having online leader boards, as well as an achievements system, would add a much needed incentive to Sr. Mistu HD’s offering.
Likewise, having a thicker and easier to control line drawing mechanic would be a tremendous advantage for the app. I often found myself lost while tracing a path, as the course line is quite light, and easy to miss. Having my finger directly over the areas I’m trying to avoid was also a pain, though one that’s much harder to fix.
All in all, Sr. Mistu HD’s $1.99 price tag is carried most by the title’s excellent graphics, quirky feel, and relaxing value. If you’re looking for an engaging casual game for the iPad, Sr. Mistu HD is a recommended contender, and one that’s well worth the price of entry.
The game is far from perfect, but with an innovative style and laid-back demeanor, one can certainly kill a lazy afternoon within its walls.