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Eets Munchies invites tinkering and experimentation. Like its PC and Xbox 360 predecessor—from Klei Entertainment, of Don’t Starve and Mark of the Ninja fame—this puzzle platformer asks you to move and manipulate wacky objects to help a hungry rodent find dessert. Although Eets doesn’t have quite the feverish pull of other similar puzzlers, it does a splendid job at continually introducing you to new elements and allowing plenty of room to learn and get creative.
Like a film director yelling “action” and “cut,” much of your time in Eets Munchies is spent pressing “Go” and “Stop” buttons. You don’t have the power to control the game’s lemming-like protagonist directly, but you can strategically place objects like bridges and fans to help guide him or her toward the end of the level. The goal is that when “Go” is pressed, the rodent will march right to its pink birthday cake stress-free.
As the game progresses, however, standard planks and trampolines give way to zany new objects, like inflatable elephants and a disembodied brain that induces an anti-gravity effect. Each new item introduced also comes with a fresh game mechanic, which makes for a steady progression of challenge—one of Eets Munchies’ biggest strengths. The most enjoyable aspect of the game, though, is that it never punishes players for failing. If a setup doesn’t work, you can simply do a little rearranging and try again. It’s not quite a sandbox environment, but the spirit of tweaking and tinkering is at the heart of this experience.
There are a handful of brilliant moments in Eets Munchies, wherein a dozen puzzle elements come together like a Rube Goldberg machine—but the total game package leaves something to be desired. Puzzle Maker mode has novelty value, but not being able to share your created level online is a missed opportunity. Also, the tone of the game comes off as kid-centric, almost like a cartoon animation app, but its often-difficult gameplay seems more suited for adults; it’s hard to believe that a young child would be able to solve some of these puzzles. And any sort of narrative background has been omitted. These elements certainly don’t ruin the core fun, but they do make the experience feel somewhat incomplete.
The bottom line. Eets Munchies will nourish your inner level designer, but the experience as a whole is a bit inconsistent.
iPad running iOS 5.0 or later
Creative, emergent gameplay. Level progression continually introduces new mechanics. Wacky, kid-friendly charm.
Puzzle Maker mode doesn’t allow online sharing. Probably too challenging for the younger audience it’s tonally aimed at. No real narrative elements.