Mr. Smoozles Goes Nutso
Developer: Juniper Games
Release: August 2006
A preview by MaryScots 22nd April 2006
Do you know Mr. Smoozles? Not yet? Well, you should change this! You ask why? Oh, there are several reasons. First and foremost, Mr. Smoozles will let you die laughing. He would not agree, of course, for as far as his dry up to dangerously sharp cynicism goes he certainly doesnt fall short of his fellow comic feline Garfield. Unlike him, though, Mr. Smoozles was born in England. Whats more, his proud father is Steve Ince who is one of the designers we still owe for such legends in adventure gaming as Beneath a Steel Sky and the first three Broken Sword games. Browse the comic strips to learn more about Mr. Smoozles and his friends.
Whats the story?
One day, Mr. Smoozles and his friends witness an attack of the evil Goragons from outer space, who try to conquer other worlds by means of minds rays, which do not only twist the minds of those unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time but also alter reality. Fortunately, most of the gang can escape the mind rays, that is, five of them namely Watford, Finny, Pepper, Grik and Zoran are captured and kept locked up, Ed is the only one able to escape, which means that saving the world will be his task. Well, and Mr. Smoozles Goes Nutso - after being hit by one the rays he will show those who thought him a bad cynic before what it means to be dealing with an evil cynic. He grabs his pump-gun and runs after Ed trying to shoot him while the latter is desperately trying to find a way out of their peril and also saving his priced issues of Nerds Monthly.
Whats the game?
Mr. Smoozles Goes Nutso is an arcade-adventure game. Wait, wait, wait read on! I wouldnt write a preview if it was a game no adventure gamer could ever enjoy, ok?! :-)
So its an arcade game. But its just as much an adventure game. As you might have guessed by now you control Ed and lead him through numerous tile-based locations always trying to stay clear of Mr. Smoozles and his gun, while at the same time gathering information about what is happening around you and what you need to do to free the others from their imprisonment, restore Mr. Smoozles sanity and also reality back to normal. You have to collect reality shards, keys and various other items, which help you open doors, buy useful tools, hack computers in order to call for help and so on. There are in fact lots of objects to examine and places waiting to be explored. You will meet a bunch of strange characters to talk to and gather information and/or help. Not all of them are friendly, though. Character interaction is in fact a very important part of the games adventure aspect. More typical arcade elements are a score panel and a health bar. At the beginning of the game you will have three lives. Wouldnt nine lives be more appropriate for a cat, though? Oh well, it would be a little too easy to win, I guess. :-) Of course, you can loose them if you get shot too many times but you will also be awarded additional lives if you solve some of the more complicated tasks. There are three different levels of difficulty for the arcade part and apart from the normal puzzle level you can also choose additional hints.
Whats the fun?
From what I have played of it in the preview version I can at least say that its loads of fun! I havent touched any arcade-style games in years, I have to admit. Mostly because once I had discovered adventures I learned to appreciate their slower gaming pace to be rather relaxing in comparison to my usual Jump & Runs. Mr. Smoozles Goes Nutso got me addicted again - I want more! I like the exploration part very much, the puzzles are logical and I even discovered two different ways to solve one of them. It is not too hard to escape Mr. Smoozles as he cannot follow you everywhere but there are more dangerous locations, too. I did laugh a lot, even found some Easter Eggs and the dry humour is right up my alley. Gamers here also have cause for cheer as a translation into German is already planned. So, if you are not afraid to try something a little different but highly entertaining this game is a definite recommendation.