There's more than one way to bite a cow, so the old adage goes...or was it something like there's more than one way to feed a mosquito...? I dunno. Maybe the answer lies in Mosquito & Cow, a pretty and peculiar (and pretty peculiar) point-and-click game from Petums. Here you assume the role of a wily mosquito whose main ambition in life is to subdue a cow with whatever means are available with the ultimate goal of filling that mosquito belly with bovine blood.
To help the mosquito achieve its aims, use the mouse to point and click where you want the mosquito to go, then click on and interact with objects in each scene to manipulate the environs and ultimately the cow. It may take an overdose of apples, a pit trap, or even a snowdrift to subdue the cow. Working out the "whats" and "hows" and "wheres" is more than half the fun. Scroll through each scene by moving your mosquito to the far left or right of the screen.
There's so much more to this game than is immediately apparent. There may only be nine levels, but each level requires a decent amount of puzzle solving and a degree of timing to solve. You may have to restart a level more than once, as there are what could be called false leads in that gameplay is not entirely linear. In this game you can and probably will make mistakes, but that's half the fun of discovery and exploration. There is an in-game hint system in the form of minions (worms) showing you what you need to do to gain access to the cow for a meal, but actually achieving each level's goal is not as straightforward as it first seems. There are more in-depth clues made available by clicking on the help button, symoblised by a question mark in the top right corner, but you'll need to solve a mini-game first to be able to access them, though when some of the mini-games are frustrating to the point of hindrance, that it seems easier to try and work on finding the solution.
Mosquito & Cow is not a fast paced game by any means, and you may find yourself darting back and forth across each scene to check on the progress of the cow that ambles at the speed of, well, an ambling cow. Also, having to scroll from left to right to take in each scene can feel like a hindrance, as some of the action may be easily missed when it happens off-screen. Then again, maybe this is encouragement to dart back and forth in true mosquito-like fashion so as to really get the feel of life as a mosquito. Maybe.
Beautifully rustic artwork blended with the backing sounds of Spanish guitar really give this game its character, and you can't help but feel that mosquitoes work pretty hard to earn their daily blood, no matter how stupid cows apparently are. The game's not without its minor frustrations, but there's a richness of character and appealing quality to Mosquito & Cow that have piqued this reveiwer's interest in Petums' work. Let's hope there's more to come...