This was not a good week to quit cheese.
Health kick be damned - a few hours with addictive physics platformer Bouncy Mouse have engendered a severe craving for Wensleydale.
While the game lacks the finesse of Angry Birds and Cut the Rope, both of which are heavy influences, you still get a generous wedge of gameplay. And it’s all wrapped up in a charmingly cute style that keeps you playing even when minor flaws appear like holes in a batch of Emmental.Bouncier than Babybel
The story, recounted through an animated comic strip intro, expands on the classic cat vs mouse formula in true Tom & Jerry style (minus the more violent, iron-to-face, slapstick).
The malevolent Captain Cat has stolen the Big Cheese from Mouse Island, and it's up to heroic Bouncy Mouse to go on a one critter mission to reclaim Le Grand Fromage, bringing peace to his home in the process.
It's a Dairylea-thin story, but provides some gentle motivation to continue the quest, even when sudden difficulty spikes arrive.
Each of the 30 levels, spread across three themed worlds with its own chipper soundtrack, distinct colour scheme, and varied enemy types, has the same goal: follow the trail of cheese crumbs to give the smug cat at the end a flying kick for causing so much trouble.
It’s not that simple, though, as there are plenty of precarious platforms to reach, deadly water traps to avoid, and annoying (equally deadly) bees hindering our whiskered hero's path.Move Caerphilly
Fortunately, Bouncy Mouse is able to use his elastic tale as a slingshot to ping himself between carefully placed pegs on each level. With the touchscreen-friendly ability to change trajectory and stretch out the tail for extra thrust, it's a fun mechanic bearing more than a passing resemblance to Angry Birds.
The only snag with such imitation is that the gameplay also inherits some of the niggles with Rovio's title in the process, such as general inaccuracy and an over-reliance on blind luck.
This isn't too much of a problem in the forgiving opening levels, but once the killer bees, dangling spiders, and spiked walls start appearing you'd give Bouncy Mouse's left ear for a more reliable rodent lobbing technique.
Once the hero is in the air, it's up to the physics to determine where he'll end up, and sometimes that can be jammed between two hills, bouncing on for infinity - or until you reluctantly hit 'restart' anyway.
Most surfaces are springy, and angled ones can propel Bouncy Mouse around enemies and into new areas, but judging the ideal tail swing means a lot of trial and sizeable amount of error.
You start each of the short levels with a generous four lives and restart from the last safe peg, but sometimes just painstakingly flinging your way back to the part you were stuck on can be a significant challenge.A brie-f encounter
Although getting stuck in Bouncy Mouse can be frustrating, persevere and you'll almost always either figure out a perfect route or score a lucky bounce to ricochet you into a nearby peg.
This means you'll sail through the game in a couple of hours or less. More levels are planned for an update 'this fall', though, so any leftover cheese-cravings will soon be satisfied.