As a reviewer, I get the opportunity to play a lot of games. I get the good ones, I get the bad ones, and every now and then I’m lucky enough to get the really interesting ones; the games that that are completely original, break new ground and make excellent additions to any true game collector’s library. Mister Mosquito from Fresh Games is such a game. A game that makes you realize that everything is not a copy of something that has come before it.
Mister Mosquito has the player assuming the role of a household mosquito that must collect enough blood in order to survive the winter. In order to collect blood, you must pilot your faithful mosquito around a Japanese household and terrorize the incumbent family. In the process, you face such obstacles as bug spray, kitchen exhaust and the deadly bug zapper. This is truly a unique idea, but unfortunately it is not as well executed as it could have been.
Mister Mosquito boasts impressive human models that are very realistic. The characters possess great detail and move fluidly and naturally. Your mosquito character, however, is somewhat boxy and overly comic. I understand that this was the goal of the developers but it is somewhat disappointing how much the nearly flat shaded mosquito is lacking in detail. All hope is not lost as there are some fun character animations, and I especially enjoyed that your mosquito grows larger with the more blood that he sucks. The rooms in the household are well decorated and boast nice textures, but poor anti-aliasing makes for a very jaggy appearance. There is nice detail in the way that the levels behave. Drapes blow in the breeze and the television is well animated, showing programs that ordinary people watch at home. Levels, such as the bathroom and the kitchen, are well lit and there are excellent bubble and smoke effects throughout. Scale is maintained well as you truly feel small against the large rooms and its occupants. Levels and characters are combined into lengthy cutscenes that play out well and help to maintain the overall humorous feel of the game. The camera behaves reasonably well but it is sometimes difficult to maintain depth or figure out where you are in dark situations. Perhaps my biggest sticking point is the game menus, which are overly simplistic and displayed over a horrible brown background. Overall, the graphics leave something to be desired and I would have liked to see much more polished characters and environments.
Mister Mosquito possesses a large amount of environmental sounds and great amounts of voice acting. While the environmental sounds are well done, the voice acting is below average. The characters seem to squeak and the narrator’s voice is overly slow and boring. The dialog spoken by the characters is quite humorous and adds to the overall oddball nature of the game. The music is well suited to the game and helps to maintain the calm and peaceful atmosphere that the narrator sets. I liked being able to change the music by triggering stereos or other environment objects. The sound is a shining point compared to the graphics and suits the game perfectly.
What can be said about a game where you play the role of a mosquito? The goal is simple: suck as much blood as possible and don’t get swatted. During game time, the player pilots their mosquito around the various rooms of the house searching for victims. Obstacles hamper your progress and there are a large amount of power-ups to collect. Each room has a different family member in it and each has various “suck points” to which you must pilot your little mosquito. It’s easy to hit the suck points thanks to the attack button. As you suck their blood, you must keep an eye on your victim’s heart rate less you get swatted. For each level, you have a target number of blood tanks to fill. There are bonus tanks hidden in each level and by the end of the game it’s a daunting task to fill all of them. Flying around the room, it is important to avoid contact with people as you may be sucked into “battle mode”. In battle mode, you become the hunted and have to deftly avoid the attacks of your human opponent while targeting “relax points” that will calm them down. This variation on gameplay makes the game more interesting and you are rewarded with a new mosquito color if you successfully end battle mode quickly. Sucking blood is challenging, as you must rotate the right analog stick at just the right speed in order to not alert your prey to your actions. It becomes harder as the game goes on and there is a need to achieve balance between blood intake and safely getting away. Flight control is somewhat poor and it is very difficult to pick up the incredibly tiny power-ups that are distributed throughout the level. The large number of power-ups allow for some level replay value, as collecting them all opens up a new gameplay mode. Unfortunately, this mode is only more difficult than the original and does not offer too much more to the game. Overall, Mister Mosquito delivers a gameplay experience that is truly original but could stand to gain a little excitement.
I enjoyed playing Mister Mosquito but hesitate to laud it as an excellent game. It shows a lot of promise in its premise, but the ideas could have been carried out better. I will surely keep this game around to show my friends the range of games that exist, but I doubt that it will keep a place in my PS2 for very long.