Ms. Particle-Man was a retro-infused touchscreen title with a sting in its tail. It was the sort of game that would repeatedly bash you about the head until you finally gave up, desperate and utterly beaten.

Mr. Particle-Man initially seems to be the breezy, fun, clever, more expansive, and easier sequel. And it's certainly four of those five things.

The basics of the game remain roughly the same. Mr. Particle-Man - a spherical particle with a natty moustache - lurks within a series of single-screen levels and wants to progress.

He does so by reaching the exit, optionally grabbing glowing dots for bonus points along the way.

The problem is that reaching the exit is frequently scuppered by the many things that are in your way, and a control scheme that's roughly equivalent to flicking a ping-pong ball on ice, inside a pinball table also made of ice.


A swipe sends Mr. Particle-Man on his way, whereupon physics takes hold of proceedings and very much introduces you to the concept of inertia. In order to turn, you must carefully judge your momentum and the best angle to swipe in order to do so.

And all this quite often in a fraction of a second, so the hero isn't annihilated by roaming and deadly sparks, obliterated by a laser beam, or bounced into some kind of glowing projectile due to the stupidity of your fingers.

And that's the key thing about Mr. Particle-Man: the controls might be skiddy, but they're also precise. There's (almost) never a point when you feel that failure was the game's fault.

Instead, it was you that couldn't escape from a pack of crazed sparks. It was you that got a bit panicky and instead of brilliantly navigating a corner had Mr. Particle-Man briefly bounce around like a dying fly before frying himself on a forcefield.


It's this realisation, the cleverly judged difficulty curve, and the game's constant reinvention that keeps you going. Because even when things start to get a bit gruelling after the halfway point, there's always something new to see.

It might be an amusing nod to an arcade classic, a new contraption to try and beat, or another obstacle to solve. Only right at the very end of the hundred levels does the fun give way to a kind of grind that veers Mr. Particle-Man away from being fun.

And even then there's still that feeling that your fingers are failing you. Fortunately, this time round, unlike in the game's predecessor, you at least get infinite goes at each round.

You gradually hone your skills, even if taking too long wrecks your bonus and chances at topping the highscore table in Game Center.

In short, then, this is a great single-screen arcade title for those who love a challenge. Especially so on the iPad, where the larger screen lets it truly shine.

Visually, it's colourful and old-school, and the chip-tunes are catchy and bleepy in equal measure. In play, it's a mix of gleeful fun and head-smashing exasperation.

Although I might soon think otherwise if I can't bludgeon my way past this final boss, who's racking up quite the collection of dead Mr. Particle-Men in his basement of evil.