There are moments in Lost Socks that show some real promise. It looks lovely, and it bounces along with the speed and swagger of some of the best 16bit platformers.
It's got a violent cartoon edge, and a control scheme that, while a little more complicated than your average mobile auto-runner, does feel like it should give you all the tools you need to succeed.
But problems creep in every now and then as well. There are design choices that lack clarity, and some frustrating leaps that require a different sort of precision to the rest of the game.
Don't get me wrong, there's a lot here to like. But there's a lack of cohesion that means the experience isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Lost socks? You play some socks?
You play some socks. Other socks have been stolen by some mean monsters, and it's up to you to get them back. This involves running around, shooting things, and using a couple of your super sock powers.
Because obviously socks have super powers, right? One lets you float if you tap the screen after a jump. The other is a rechargeable dash attack you need to use to free your fellow socks from their cages.
You've also got two weapons at your disposal, a light one and a heavy one. The light one you can spray about to your socky heart's content. The heavy one is on a recharge cycle so you can't use it as often.
Everything offensive controlled with a series of buttons along the bottom right of the screen. Tap a button on the left to jump and inflate your head. You run automatically, so you just need to make sure you don't run into anything you shouldn't.
The things you shouldn't run into include spikes, bobble-headed creatures, and massive holes. And the problem is you're going to run into them quite a lot.
It's not a game-breaking amount, but there's a very specific way to finish every level that feels a little at odds with the wacky cartoon style of proceedings.
There's a lack of leniency that gets a little off-putting around the fourth time you plunge into an abyss because you didn't manage to time your jump just right.
Hmmmm, that doesn't sound great
You're right, it doesn't. It sounds a bit stinky. But, and this is a reasonably sized but, that doesn't mean the game isn't worth giving a go. When it's flying along nicely, it really is a joy to behold.
The action is fast and furious, and there's a cockiness to it that's just on the right side of endearing. Sure, you might want to punch it in the face on occasion, but once you get past a tricky part things click into place again.
Lost Socks has its moments, and I don't want to dissuade you too much from experiencing them. Just bear in mind that some of the moments it has might make you growl in a sinister fashion.