Let’s pester Yamada’s Summer!
Mister Mosquito is indeed one of the most original games available for Sony Playstation 2. Originally released only for the Japanese audience and now published also for Western market by
Eidos Fresh Games, this game - the complete Japanese title is Ka: Yamada-ke No Natsu – is
simply unique, both for the global idea and for the gameplay. The fact Mister Mosquito is filled with Japanese culture’s stereotypes and humor won’t probably please some players, but the game is funny and very enjoyable from many points of view.
The hero of this game is a tiny, roly-poly, adorable and defenceless insect with a goal to achieve: storing blood for the oncoming winter, trying to survive at the same time the Yamadas’ fury (don’t you know that average humans hate mosquitoes?). The Yamada family, composed by Kenichi (the father), Kaneyo (the mother) and Rena (the daughter), will try to defend itself from the attacks of the mosquito, and the mosquito will try to suck their fresh delicious blood during the whole summer, in order to see another warm season. The more the members of the family becomes itchy the more they are hostile to the little creature you represent.
The various levels you have to face as the mosquito take place in the several rooms of Yamada’s house. Controlling the mosquito can be confusing when you first play the game, especially if you approach the game as a miniaturized space shooter. The odd perspective, the controls balanced with the clear purpose of making things more difficult for the player, can be frustrating in the first mission. Anyhow, after a little bit of practice, you’ll start mastering the dangerous and exciting art of stinging.
To find the right area to sting you have to look for a red highlighted square on the body of your victims. Other highlighted areas around the room indicate objects (switches, radio, TV remote control, etc…) you can use to cause a reaction in Yamada people. Pressing the circle button you can dash against objects in order to use them. The same thing goes for stinging the Yamadas. You dash against the highlighted area of the body, then you press the R3 button to hook to the skin and then with the rotation of the same stick you can begin to suck blood.
Two monitors are displayed: one to control how much blood you are draining out of your victim and one to control the victim’s anxiety level. When you are hooked to the skin you are really defenceless and must pay attention to the increasing anxiety level (from green to yellow to red) in order to escape from a violent reaction of your victim, who can kill the mosquito at any time. Adding to this, the mosquito can be spotted by the human and this starts the Battle Mode. Yes, it’s a bit like playing hide-and-seek in Metal Gear Solid.
In Battle Mode the victim becomes your enemy, trying to kill you with slaps, kicks, punches and so on. The level of your health is displayed at the top of the screen by little hearts filled with red blood. When you are hit by the enemy’s attacks, the hearts become empty, and obviously when all hearts are empty you die… Around the levels you can find hearts to gain new life, but to end the Battle Mode, which anyway has a limited time that can vary from level to level, you have to sting the enemy in some precise areas, highlighted as it happens when you have to suck the blood. These areas are called “relax points”. When you have hit all of the areas, the enemy comes back to a normal relaxed status and you can come back to your work. To clear each level you have to think about a strategy considering the useful objects, the nature of the room, the dangers present in the room (like toxic areas), the position of your victim and so on.