Version tested: PlayStation 2
Mr Moskeeto is part of Eidos' plan to open a floodgate of odd and intriguing titles from Japan on their Fresh Games label, and it's fair to say that it more than fits the bill. It's not every day you come across a game in which the primary objective is to assume the role of a tiny flying insect on a blood-sucking rampage around a family home. It involves aerial acrobatic skills, stealth and cunning, quick reactions and, perhaps best of all, cute Japanese girls. But we'll try not to let that make our minds up... ahem.
It's summer, and Mr Moskeeto has chosen the home of the Yamada family as his dining location. The three members of the family, consisting of two parents and their teenage daughter, go about their business as you would expect; watching television, cooking and taking baths and so on in each of the house's twelve rooms. Your first course of action is trying to figure out where to sting the person, as they could well have applied bug spray, meaning you can't simply land anywhere you like.
Sometimes your landing points are pointed out immediately by red targeting squares, and at other times you may need to employ some sort of environment manipulation which will reveal appropriate areas of skin. For example, on the first level the girl is snoozing on her bed and you can't see where you might be able to land. A quick reconnaissance of the room reveals a light switch, and you hurtle towards it and switch it off. This causes the girl to get up from her bed to turn the light back on, highlighting an area on her thigh ripe for sucking (I'm trying desperately not to make this sound perverse, I promise).
Metal Gear Moskeeto
Once you know where you're supposed to be landing, it's a case of getting close enough for you to lock-on without the family member noticing you. As soon as you're actually on the skin the procedure for juicing your target is an art in itself, which involves the delicate rotation of the right analogue stick. The speed at which you rotate affects a kind of awareness meter that dictates whether or not you're going to get swatted. You need to speed up and slow down in order to keep the meter in the blue until all your blood tanks are full up - spend too long in the red and it can be game over almost instantly, unless you notice the warning signs and take off before they can get to you.
Should you completely foul up your stealthy approach and get spotted, you're granted a warning in the form of your screen turning red. You need to use this time to get out of sight until the human calms down and you can try again. However, failure to do that sends you into a battle mode, and this is where the real challenges lie. The person begins doing everything they can to try and dispose of you, including flinging their arms at you, spraying insecticides, and trying to shoot you with water from a showerhead. Stopping them in their tracks involves locking on to a "pressure point" somewhere on their body and hitting it, sending them into some kind of relaxed bliss. The further you get into the game, the more pressure points there are to hit on each person, and as the battle mode appears with greater regularity it can become extremely annoying.
The environments for you to fly about in are as varied as you'd expect, from store cupboards and kitchen to bedrooms and bathroom, and each is fairly nicely decked out despite the textures appearing rather rudimentary at times. The human characters are nicely modelled and animated, although there are occasionally slack moments where they end up walking about like zombies on rails. The voice acting, however, is utterly diabolical. This adds to the oddball, humorous atmosphere though, until the meandering and pointless cut-scenes between each level get mind-numbingly irritating that is.
Despite things starting out well for Mr Moskeeto, the novelty wears thin disappointingly quickly, and there really isn't anything here to keep you coming back, past the adolescent thrill of swooping down on a buxom teenager in the bath. I can think of a number of extras they could have stuffed into the title to make it a worthwhile purchase; what about some kind of PilotWings-style flying tests, or obstacle courses to take part in? What about racing, target practice, or even a multiplayer section of mini-games a la Super Monkey Ball? There are a ton of missed opportunities here, and I'm afraid for that reason Mr Moskeeto just isn't worth the outlay.
5 / 10