GBA REVIEW: IT'S MR. PANTS

It's Mr. Pants is a quirky, fun, Tetris-based puzzles game that captures the pith of irreverent British humor. I wouldn't flinch if I found out that members of Monty Python's Flying Circus were behind this game.

Rave is a British development company. At times you can see their ephemeral mascot Mr. Pants on their website. He's a dapper looking idiot with a bowler hat, moustache and bright red underwear. That's what we British call pants. Mr. Pants is also a very crudely drawn character. He's appears as though he's just walked off of a grade-one drawing which was fastened to an icebox door with a magnet. It's this kind of strange, unsophisticated art that helps make Mr. Pants a unique experience.

Trying to wring out another Tetris-based game that doesn't remind one of Tetris is like trying to write a fresh-sounding, three-chord country song. Somehow Rare has managed to do that. Despite the intentionally awful looking graphics, this is one heck of a deep game. Puzzle fans will certainly enjoy the challenge and even though there is no multi-player mode, the different modes and unlockables are guaranteed to extend the replay value.

The premise of the game is to clear the field of shapes. Different shapes of various colors enter into onto the playfield and must be arranged so as to form squares or rectangles. You can place them anywhere on the grid except over blocks of the same color. You can place them on top of different colored blocks if you're in a bind. When you make a block of three by two, they will disappear. Combos can be made for more points and there's even a way of cutting large blocks in half.

Helpo can be called to give you a hand but he can only be used once. He will place the block where he wants it and you'll have to continue the game based on his idea. It can be frustrating especially since he can't help you out of a bind that he seemingly created.

Wipeout mode gives you two minutes to clear the field. Marathon mode lets you try to rack up the most points within five minutes. You can store the high score. The field gets smaller as the crayon snake begins to scribble around the perimeter heading towards the center. You will send it back each time you make some tiles disappear but if it reaches the center, the game is over.

Obviously It's Mr. Pants has terrible graphics, but they really add character to the game. The layout is unaffected and it's very easy to make everything out. The underwear gag isn't hilarious but it's silly enough to raise a few eyebrows. It's great to hear Mr. Pants yell at the beginning of the game and he hums the theme song throughout the game driving you nuts in a fun way.

Rare took some chances with this game but they've got enough experience to know that a good game with a fun atmosphere is a winner. Perhaps we can look forward to a sequel such as It's Miss Bra and Knickers.

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System: GBA
Dev: Rare
Pub: THQ
Release: Dec 2004
Players: 1
Review by Kelly
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
2.5
CONTROL
5.0
MUSIC/FX
3.5
VALUE
4.0