Review: Pickpawcket

Pickpawket1.png

The dogs of the world have forcefully taken the cats’ artwork and have it displayed in various museums across the world. Pickpawcket, a world-renown cat burglar, has volunteered to steal back the artwork from the dogs for all of cat-kind. Such is the world in Loopycube Software’s Pickpawcket for iPhone and iPad.

Since this is a game focused on sneaking into and out of museums to pilfer paintings, each level will have you guide Pickpawcket past security dogs and laser alarm systems in order to steal a piece of artwork, then sneak back past them to an exit. As you progress through the game’s 60 stages, you’ll gain abilities and items to aid you in making it through undetected, however you’ll also come across more advanced dog sentries and environmental obstacles to contend with.

Navigating Pickpawcket through each stage is easy, but also one of the most frustrating parts of the game. By just pressing at a particular part of the screen your cat thief will skulk in that direction. Depending on the level, though, it’s usually important to be able to have a full field of vision across the entire screen. Unfortunately, I found that there were many times where my finger was obstructing my view. This caused me to have to hold my iPhone in awkward positions just to see everything that was going on. There is a “joystick” option available from the menu, but compared to the default control scheme this seemed less intuitive and useful as this (plus the presence of your thumb/finger) obstructs the view in either the bottom left or right corner of the screen. There were also times when the controls seemed sluggish. This occurred usually in levels that featured a lot of sentries patrolling — exactly the levels in which snappy controls were a necessity.

Aside from these control issues, the game is pretty fun. As I previously mentioned, there are 60 levels split evenly amongst three museums. Within each museum the difficulty progresses at an excellent pace. It gets you used to whatever new challenges the museum provides, along with any new abilities Pickpawcket gains to thwart the evil dog menace. The levels are also laid out very well considering that the game can only be played in portrait mode. This makes for many levels of long vertical hallways and very few that expand much over the right/left sides of the iPhone.

While your main goal in each of these levels is to swipe the piece of artwork and make it out without being detected, a secondary objective is to collect red jewels in the shape of cat heads scattered throughout the level. While these can be bypassed quite easily, they’re necessary to unlock levels, progress through the game, and steal other pieces of art. Speaking of artwork, all of the pieces that you help Pickpawcket swipe from the museums are based on real-world works, the only difference being that the humans are replaced with cats. These stolen paintings may also be viewed in the game’s Gallery mode which gives the names of the artwork along with the piece of art from which the modified version was inspired.

Pickpawcket surprised me by just how much I was engaged in attempting to finish each level and see just what piece of art I would unlock next. There are a few issues with the controls to be sure, but overall the amount of fun I had playing it outweighed any issues by a long shot. While there is a “lite” version to check out for free with 10 levels and 10 paintings, the full game is only $1 which makes this a great investment.

BuyIt.jpg

Pros:
+ Puzzles vary from simplistic to challenging
+ Fun parodies of famous artwork given as rewards for completing levels
+ Levels are configured well for the iPhone’s portrait view

Cons:
– Controls can cause visibility issues
– Controls are sometimes sluggish, leading to unnecessarily difficult levels

Game Info:
Platform: iPhone / iPad
Publisher: Loopycube Software Inc
Developer: Loopycube Software Inc
Release Date: 9/8/2011
Reviewed Version: 1.2
Genre: Puzzle
Age Rating: 4+
Players: 1
Source: Review code provided by publisher

[nggallery id=2090]

About the Author

Having over 25 years of gaming experience, Zach knows a thing or two when it comes to one of his favorite entertainment activities. Additionally, he has also written many articles previewing and reviewing titles which can be found in various places around the net, including VGBlogger.com.