Thursday, 25 November 2010

Mr Moskeeto - PS2

Mr Moskeeto is a charming little game and one of those quirky little oddities which could only come from the Japanese gaming industry.

Released as Ka in Japan back in 2001, the little blood-sucking mosquito buzzed across to Europe the following year.

The game gave you control over the titular character, who found himself trapped in the Yamada family household. To survive, the player had to guide the big-eyed bug around the large and varied rooms attacking the human inhabitants and drinking their blood.

Tiny hearts and containers were secreted away throughout the Yamada's residence, and with no time limit, the player was free to explore the interesting abode.

Unfortunately for Mr Moskeeto - and for a large chunk of the gaming community - the lighter blighter’s adventures failed to sell in the West and he was swatted away without a second thought.

I picked the game up a few months after its European release. Lying on a dusty shelf in my local indie game store, I was intrigued by the three silly screenshots on the back and the quote: “Watch as the family’s relationship alters as they take their irritation out on each other.”

However, somewhere down the years, I lost the disc and subsequently forgot all about the little buzzing menace. But I recently found someone selling the game for a good price and my copy dropped through the letterbox this morning. Gran Turismo 5 and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood were cast aside as I took a nostalgic trip back through the Yamadas' lives once again.

It still plays well, although Mr Moskeeto’s flying can be a little janky at times, while the camera angles can cause a few problems.

Part of the game’s charm was down to the environments. At eight years old, it’s no surprise to find the muddy textures haven’t held up particularly well, but it is still fun buzzing through the house watching the family go through their daily routines. The soundtrack, too, is simply wonderful, with a nice selection of funky tunes to give the game a lovely atmosphere.

Distracting family members by turning on the stereo, switching off lights and messing with the TV remote still feels great, while the act of attacking weak spots on the family’s body parts is handled remarkably well.

Once zoned in on the target area, a quick press down on the right stick causes Mr Moskeeto to latch on to a bare patch of skin. Then it’s a case of carefully rotating the stick to draw the blood. Do it quickly or too slowly and the victim will react angrily to your presence.

Should this happen, Mr Moskeeto has to attack pressure points on the humans to calm them down. It’s beautifully handled and it’s such a shame the game didn’t receive the love it deserved back in 2002.

Mr Moskeeto is definitely one of my favourite Japanese games from the last generation of consoles. It’s quirky, a genuine joy to play and I would urge anyone with a PS2 to track the game down.

Screenshots are hard to come by, so here's a look at the opening level, which gives an indication of how the game plays:

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