Despite its wide catalog of beloved characters, Disney’s mobile games (like the great Where's My Water?) have often introduced their own leads created especially for each game. The company's latest such entry is Mittens, a physics-based puzzle-platformer starring that favorite of Internet obsessions: Cats. Mittens is strung together by adorable animated cutscenes, which show the irascible titular feline attempting to woo a prissy purple kitty. Every time Mittens tries to give her a gift, she inevitably grows distracted by some other potential sign of affection. As a result, each set of stages introduces a new target gift to win her heart, like milk, balloons, and chocolates.
That conceit lends itself to a broad range of settings. One moment you’ll be leaping along rooftops, the next you’ll be in a circus, and then a cave. Mittens himself is largely a spectator in the proceedings, as you’re tasked with controlling his environments with simple swipes, taps, and drag maneuvers to push, fling, and bounce him towards his goal. The settings change, but for the most part, the mechanics are identical. A portly circus monkey provides a horizontal bounce in one set of stages, while a bat performs the same function in the next. All of the obstacles and aids are wonderfully animated, matching the story’s aesthetic.
Mittens' puzzles are never too taxing, though nailing a perfect line can get vexing in the later stages. Gathering every collectible requires an exacting path, and is actually sometimes a bit too exact. Disney’s mobile games have excelled at flexibility, letting the player experience a feeling of creativity as he or she forges the solutions. In Mittens, we’re not creating the solutions, but rather discovering them. The functions often feel magnetic, like they're meant to serve one particular purpose and allow one ideal path. It works fine for this particular puzzle type, but we were left wishing we had more say in the solutions, instead of being so clearly guided along a set path.
The bottom line. Mittens is a cute and cuddly time-killer that hearkens back to classic cartoon sensibilities, but its puzzles are a bit more linear than in Disney’s finest.
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