A boy loves his dog, and a dog loves his boy. Mimpi illustrates the bond between humans and dog-kind through a surreal puzzle-adventure game that's built on beautiful graphics and a haunting soundtrack.

The overall experience is a memorable one, not least because many of the puzzles will drive you to scream in frustration and throw your smartphone or tablet up into a ceiling fan.

Homeward bound

You play as a small white terrier called Mimpi. Mimpi is enjoying the lazy life of a dog, soaking up the unconditional affection of his owner, when everything suddenly changes.

His owner vanishes without a trace, and the world is instantly transformed into a colder, wilder place. Mimpi sets out to find his master, because that's what good dogs do.

Mimpi's journey takes him through several haunting levels, each of which is broken up by several checkpoints. The stages are dotted with puzzles, and when Mimpi isn't straining his little doggy brain he's making jumps across treacherous platforms or navigating underwater caverns in a bubble.

There are enemies that you need to outsmart or avoid, and even the environment itself can be manipulated to help you get ahead.

Camouflaged puzzles

Mimpi is thick with puzzles, and for the most part solving them offers a satisfying challenge. You'll play a Simon-style memory game with a flower, thread ropes through gears, outmanoeuvre swordfish that are desperately in love with Mimpi (kind of an issue when he's riding in a fragile bubble), and more.

The problem is, not all of the puzzles are enjoyable or intuitive. There's an already-notorious puzzle involving a sailboat near the end of one water-based level (the solution involves a lot of slow backtracking between checkpoints.)

Worse - and this is a problem with several of the puzzles in Mimpi - vital puzzle-solving components sometimes blend in with the game's background. There are no indicators or highlights. The only way to figure out what's important is to do a lot of random dragging and tapping.

Beautiful journey

It's a shame that the backgrounds in Mimpi sometimes interfere with the gameplay, because it's a great-looking game otherwise. Even though the settings are bright and colourful, there's still a sense of dreamlike jeopardy to your surroundings.

There's twisted vegetation everywhere, not to mention an assortment of odd enemies that want to neuter poor Mimpi before he has a chance to find his owner.

Mimpi also boasts a lovely soundtrack that changes seamlessly as you progress, which lends the journey a ghostly, lonely atmosphere. Pack some headphones for this trip.

There's no doubt Mimpi needs some polish. Some of the puzzles require better clues (the in-game hint system is impotent and costs money outside of a few freebies), you might stumble on a bug or two, and the small on-screen buttons can prove troublesome when making tricky leaps.

But most of these are fixable, and despite the game's frustrating moments you'll probably find yourself returning again and again, like a loyal stray to a patchy but abundant source of tasty scraps.