Just one short week ago Starbucks and Apple expanded their long-standing iTunes Pick of the Week promotion to include Apps. iTunes Pick of the Week has been around since 2008 offering Starbucks customers a chance to download a free song from the iTunes Music Store.
When I heard the first App to be featured in this promotion was Shazaam Encore, an App that can identify any song instantly, I assumed Starbucks and Apple would be using music Apps to supplement their free music selection. I was pretty excited to hear that the 2nd app to be featured is a game! The game is called Spy Mouse and starting today you can receive a free copy by picking up a card with a promo code on it from your local Starbucks.
Even prior to the Starbucks promotion (although perhaps partially fueled by the hype) Spy Mouse had already risen to the top-selling iPhone App in the App Store. I decided to check out Spy Mouse for myself and see if it’s worth a cup of coffee.
In Spy Mouse you play as Agent Squeak, a mouse navigating his way through 6 different worlds trying to avoid cats and collect cheese. You control Agent Squeak by swiping your finger across the screen creating a path for him. Squeak follows along your path, unless you swipe again changing paths. The goal of each round is to collect all of the cheese and then make it to the exit.
The game combines three things I look for in a game; action, strategy, and a mouse in a bow tie. Seriously though, Spy Mouse is great for people who like games that involve a little thinking. A lot of times the best way to tackle a level is not obvious at first and requires some trial and error.
While the game is simple to understand there is actually a lot going on. Each round is packed with different tools you can use to avoid the cats including mouse holes, couches to hide under, secret areas, balloons to lighten your load, balls of yarn to distract cats, and a safe to store your cheese (to name just a few). You’ll also need to avoid different kinds of cats. Just like in real life some of the cats are blind, while others throw ninja stars. The introduction of new enemies and gadgets as the game progresses keeps each round fresh.
Each round also features three different trophies you can earn. These trophies vary from level to level but involve scenarios like not using a certain item, or only using a set amount of paths, or not being seen by any cats. The trophies are not necessary to move on to the next round, but give players looking for more challenge an extra goal to aim for. You can replay any level anytime you want and all three trophies don’t have to be completed all in the same turn. So for me the trophies are a reason to revisit the game after completing it.
At the end of every world is a boss level. Each boss is a cat in a different machine, which sort of reminds me of Dr. Robotnik in the classic Sonic games. These levels are a bit different and involve you trying to outsmart your feline adversary and eventually tricking them into causing their own demise. The boss levels are a nice change of pace from the regular rounds.
The game has an in-App purchase called Kiska The Cat. For an additional $.99, Kiska is able to help you by attacking other cats once a day. One thing that was really annoying though was the constant appearance of Kiska offering to help you. I couldn’t tell if it happened at random or only when I was doing really terrible, but either way I got tired of it quickly. It was annoying! I don’t want to buy you Kiska, leave me alone!
Kiska aside, Spy Mouse is a really great game and definitely worth $.99 via the App Store (or free via a trip to Starbucks). Honestly if anything, the $.99 price tag seems a little low for this one. I would encourage every fan of strategy games to check this one out.
Final Rating: 8.3/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: iPhone 4
Approximate Time to Completion: 5 hours to beat the game, additional time to collect all the trophies
Price Bought at: N/A review copy provided by EA Games
Current Price: $.99
Recommend Purchase Price: $.99 is a great price. Free from Starbucks is even better.