It's Mr Pants (Game Boy Advance) Review

By Adam Riley 15.02.2005

It is quite a Rare occurrence when a game starts off under one title, goes right off the radar and still somehow manages to turn up entirely intact under a completely different guise and under the wing of a radically changed parent company. Then it is even more unusual to find that what replaced a well-known franchise character is actually some strange British guy that wears just a hat and pair of Y-front undergarments...Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of It's Mr Pants!

Mr Pants was originally Donkey Kong’s Coconut Crackers, but then Rare lost all rights to Nintendo franchises when the British outfit was sold to Microsoft for a ridiculous amount of money. Therefore, the only option was to rework the game completely with a different character – and who better than the pseudo-mascot Mr Pants, supposedly the epitome of British ways…although I personally do not wander round in just my underwear, sporting a bowler hat and dodgy moustache. I shave quite regularly…*ahem* Oh, story? No, no story here. Just a crazy guy in a crazy world, hosting a crazy puzzle game!

Screenshot for It's Mr Pants on Game Boy Advance

You may look at this game and just turn it off straight away or suddenly become so over-awed by its amazing qualities that you simply cannot look away. It could go either way and all comes down to the way you understand the Rare mind-set. Personally I love the 'unusual' work at hand, with its crayola scrawlings that look like Yoshi's Island on drugs. The rough edges around everything suit the proceedings perfectly, giving what could be a plain puzzler an eye-capturing theme. The characters are all very cute to see and extremely comical in there actions, the menus are all clear and easily navigable and the colours used in the main puzzle arena are not painful to see, making intense sessions a pleasure to compete in. Crude, but acceptably so...

The music is great, as in all of Rare's games. The theme tune is so terrible it is actually hilarious, with a simple Bontempi beat in the background with Mr Pants dum-di-dumming away in time...Sounds awful, right? Well yes, but it fits in with the surroundings brilliantly. And anyway, the in-game music is far improved, with some extremely catchy tunes throughout, with one that sounds particularly Tetris-esque. But far and away the highlight has to be the voice acting in It's Mr Pants. Practically every menu move you make is greeted by shouts of 'Poo, smelly!', 'Rubbish!', 'Mmm, fresh!' or similar gravel-voiced nonsense. Then there are the cute little voices that accompany the help light-bulb (aptly called Helpo...) that pops up when you have had to try a level a few times unsuccessfully. Top drawer!

Screenshot for It's Mr Pants on Game Boy Advance

But for all the aesthetic 'glamour' found in It's Mr Pants, it would be a fruitless purchase if the main puzzle element of the title was lacking in either adrenaline-pumping action or a logical setup and play mechanic. Thankfully, just like the best puzzle titles to be found in the world, Mr Pants delivers on both counts to create one of the freshest, yet horrifically frustrating experiences on the Game Boy Advance since its launch. Just how does it do this, though? Because Rare decided against keep the isometric viewpoint originally conceived for Coconut Crackers!

Screenshot for It's Mr Pants on Game Boy Advance

The problem that would have arisen there would have been the depth perception on the GBA, which has proved to be a stickler for Rare's GBA team already in Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge and Sabre Wulf. Therefore it is great to see the old tried-and-tested 2D field making a return, with random shapes (lines and squares of various sizes) appearing on the screen one at a time, whilst you decide where best to place them. Your aim? To form rectangles or squares of the same colour and larger than 2x2 in size, thus making them all disappear to everyone's (yours' and Mr Pants') delight. This can be done be either placing similar colours next to each other, but if you are in a sticky situation, with not enough empty space on the board, never fear.

Screenshot for It's Mr Pants on Game Boy Advance

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Rare has done it again. This is the fifth game released for the GBA, including the DKC ones with Nintendo, and it is right up there with them all in terms of quality. Whilst it may seem rather unorthodox, you simply cannot overlook this little gem of a game. Give thanks to THQ for finally having enough faith to release this...and then go buy it at its ultra-cheap price!

Developer

Rare

Publisher

THQ

Genre

Puzzle

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (5 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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