There's something not quite right about Sugar Kid. Its main antagonist - the villainous Mr Lemon - spends his days hanging around playing fields, kidnapping small (sugar cube) children, and attempting to dissolve them in his own acidic juices.
It makes you yearn for simpler times, when the height of iOS nefariousness meant denying a monster a sweet.
But strip away Sugar Kid's rather sinister veneer and you're left with a very familiar reflex puzzle game. Thankfully, its underlying mechanics offer a twist on the familiar, tasking you with finger-drawing ducts across the screen in a bid to shift the constant flow of cascading liquid away from Sugar Kid as he stumbles back and forth below.
Wat-er way to go
Throughout its 45-odd stages, the game uses a handful of different mission criteria to test you against.
Sometimes you're required to keep Sugar Kid alive until the timer reaches zero. Other times, you're asked to channel liquid to specific areas on the ground in order to fill up a meter.
Occasionally, our plucky hero gets stuck in a bubble that can only be burst by - you guessed it - specific quantities of the wet stuff.
It's the perfect foundation for a quick-thinking puzzler, with plenty of potential for creative level design.
Unfortunately, that's where Sugar Kid stumbles quite significantly. Once the game's introductory levels are over, there's simply no evolution of its core mechanics and the whole thing plods forward in desperate need of imagination.
A bit of a lemon
That's not to say that Sugar Kid doesn't try. Every now and then it slings in a potentially intriguing new variable - wind, for instance - but, bafflingly, these are are almost always one-shot ideas that never resurface.
It's biggest shake-up, around the midway mark, introduces various liquid types - brown, yellow. and white - but these quickly reveal themselves to be an underdeveloped, underused colour-matching mechanic, adding very little to the game
What's more, Sugar Kid is staggeringly easy - it's possible to blow through the whole game in no time. With excessive health, an abundance of assistive items, and repetitive stage design that neither encourages nor requires any semblance of strategic thinking, there's simply no challenge - and consequently no sense of reward.
Which is a shame, as Sugar Kid has all the basic elements of an enjoyably escalating puzzler. Instead, it's a disappointingly one-note drudge that squanders all its potential through a complete absence of creative stage design. A bittersweet end for Sugar Kid, then.