It's a brave developer who gives his game a name like Pickpawket.
Given that the pun is more likely to induce groans than admiring nods from App Store browsers who happen to come across it, the game itself needs to be pretty solid.
Fortunately, it is.Cat burgling
Pickpawket is a line-of-sight puzzler that sees you guiding a plucky feline snatch-and-grab artist around a variety of different museums, in order to re-steal a job lot of cat-ified paintings from snooty dogs.
Each level is a single room, with a painting to pilfer and an exit to scarper through. To sneak past the canine guards you need to avoid the dark grey bar that represents their line of sight, using your speed, stealth, or a cunning televisual distraction.
There are also red gems to collect throughout each of the levels if you want to get the highest possible score. Success is down to carefully watching the movement patterns of the guards, timing your sneaks and rushes, and cowering in a corner hoping the bad doggy will go away.Dogged determination
You control your cat by tapping on the screen in the direction you want him to scurry. He'll automatically steal any gem or painting he passes, which makes for an uncluttered UI and a game that almost anyone can pick up and play.
As you progress you'll be confronted with different obstacles, and equipped with more ingenious ways to circumnavigate them. Disguises let you walk past guards unmolested, whilst TVs set off a diversion that draws the attention of any dogs in the vicinity.
There are 60 levels for you to rob your way through, beginning with simple mono-dogged affairs and steadily advancing to lazer-mazed fortresses full of evil dogs determined to thwart your progress at every possible turn.A game of cat and dog
Pickpawket's biggest flaw is its appearance. It looks functional, but in this age of sparkly mobile graphics it doesn't stand out. It has some nice hand-drawn cut-scenes, and the art you steal is always a giggle, but the in-game graphics are a bit of a dog's dinner.
The game also tries to squeeze a little bit too much out of each of its obstacles, waiting for a few too many levels before introducing the next. It's a problem of pacing, and whilst it doesn't detract too much from the overall experience it's the kind of thing that the best games get right.
Pickpawket manages to rise above its pun-tastic name to deliver a unique experience that plays an awful lot better than it looks. It doesn't quite manage to shimmy up the drainpipe to reach the pinnacle of iOS gaming, but it has a damn good try.