Review: Mr. Sweet
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Review copy provided by developer via Curator Connect
You don’t really need a good hook for an infinite runner, but it helps. Canabalt’s an excellent example, because the bizarre techno-apocalypse going on around you helps keep you focused on progression when smacking into windowsills gets old. You could say Mr. Sweet has a good hook for a runner, but it would be an unconventional one. The gameplay is perfectly solid and the colorful, linear worlds of junk food are both fun and challenging to get through, so it’s not super important that your runner avatars are fucking horrifying. But hey, every little bit helps, right?
You are Mr. Sweet, the bipedal set of mandibles charged with charging through world after world of deadly comestibles. I don’t know why you’re doing this, or why you can’t eat your way through donut barricades and eclair walls with your nightmarish teeth, but you’ve got to weave past the obstacles laid before you as best you can. Levels don’t have endings, you just run as far as you can while collecting coins and the occasional safe confection. Each level gets trickier than the last, but with a little (okay, a lot) of practice you’ll surely become a master of these tricky realms.
As an infinite runner, you’ll find yourself speeding forward at an absolutely constant pace. It’s up to you to jump when necessary, and slip between the three parallel tracks leading off into the horizon to dodge barriers and traps. Starting out this won’t be too hard, but each of the game’s 16 levels adds one or more new hazards to deal with. They might be giant donuts to leap through, a gingerbread head with gnashing teeth to slip past, spinning blades, fireballs, or just looming gaps in your path. The controls are blessedly tight for these delicate moves, and tapping jump in midair lets you slam back down in a hurry so you won’t overshoot small platforms.
Assuming you can survive the perils of this peckish place, you can go a little out of your way to snag coins and snacks. This currency is used to buy new music tracks from a shockingly good selection of techno and vaporwave, and new characters to embark with. Mr. Sweet has no special powers but the unlockable characters do, all manner of useful talents from absorbing coins remotely to devouring specific obstacles to turning intangible on command. Unlocks come at a fairly swift pace if you’re diligent about snagging coins and that’s good, mainly because you’re the DJ of this game and the musical tracks only change when you change them with your unlocks.
It plays good and it sounds great, and it looks good for certain values of “good” as well. The graphics are sharp and colorful, with quite a bit of detail on every onion ring and spiked cookie in your way. It won’t take long to learn the spacing on everything thanks to the clear graphics, and there are enough variations between levels to make each feel unique. But you may notice odd details like rust on some metal obstacles, or blood on candied arches. It goes back to the horrific appearance of your avatar, a disembodied maw floating above nondescript pants… there’s a definite creepy factor to this game, and while it’s not overwhelming it can feel a little bizarre at times.
I’m not going to call this a new classic of the runner genre or anything, but Mr. Sweet is shaping up to be a real treat. Between the solid gameplay and unique presentation, there’s enough going on to occupy any fan of these games for a few hours. The challenge ramps up in a reasonable way and after a few lengthy attempts you’ll find yourself flush with the cash for another upgrade. It does everything you need a runner to do, just with repulsive teeth people in a twisted candyland void, and honestly that’s a pretty good sell for me.