They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. House Pest leads us to wonder whether the same can be said for pets of the feline kind.
We have here a mini-game collection, of all things. I know, right? How very 2007.
Beyond merely being a tired concept, though, House Pet is a somewhat dull and repetitive example of the genre that do do enough in its App Store description to emphasise just how much of a kids' app it is.Utter fiasco
The theme running through House Pest - such as it is - involves picking up after Fiasco the cat. This charming/annoying (delete according to age and cynicism) little furball runs around your middle-class suburban abode cheerfully trashing the joint.
It's up to you (or more likely your child) to clean up the mess that Fiasco creates, whether that means cleaning the paw prints from your coffee table or putting the stuffing back in a teddy bear.
Each of these mini-games is preceded by a little skit starring Fiasco, as he dances around getting into typical cartoon cat scrapes. The variety and quality of the animation is pretty good, and will doubtless delight young kids with little gaming experience.Always cleaning up after you
Despite this, the mini-games themselves are far from stellar. Too many resort to the same old rapid screen-scrubbing tactics and other basic gestures. There's a three-star system, but it's neither consistent nor particularly useful at gauging your performance.
When the games switch to using your iOS device's accelerometer, the controls are rudimentary and simply not very engaging. Has a rolling bowling ball ever controlled less like a bowling ball in a game, we wonder?
Of course, the primary target of House Pest (despite the rather wishy-washy 'family game' description) is small children, and they'll doubtless love Fiasco's slapstick antics. The lack of nuance won't bother them in the slightest, so in this respect the game is a qualified success.House trained
Of course, this highlights House Pest's questionable framework. With a game this obviously geared towards kids, why establish a premise whereby you're trying to impress your boss, your snooty neighbour, and the repair man?
It's a bit like a mash-up of Garfield and Desperate Housewives - minus the wit of the former and the, er, Terri Hatcher of the latter - and it jars a little.
Still, your adorable nipper won't care a jot about the strange rating system or the jolly woman telling you how lovely your lounge is. They'll just be impatient to see Fiasco smash up your bathroom mirror.
By all means download House Pest for your little 'un, then, but don't expect fun for the whole family.