Rated M for Mandeer
My long-time search for brawny, hairless-chested Mandeer on a Nintendo console is no longer a task on my lengthy bucket list. There, I said it. Cutie Pets Pick Berries is a unique and original puzzle game from indie developer Yazar Media Group — the same team behind the raunchy and hardcore M-rated platform title Electronic Super Joy: Groove City that we liked so much.
If it wasn’t already abundantly obvious, Cutie Pets Pick Berries is a pretty silly game. In fact, it’s one of the most bizarre and corny titles in existence on the eShop. But don’t let its half-naked Mandeer fool you — or scare you away. Just stay. Stay for the challenge. Stay for the sleek and stylish Mandeer Miiverse stamps. Stay for the ridiculous artwork. Stay for the humor. Stay for the calming flute-crafted single track that loops endlessly. If you take this game serious, you’ve already lost. I chose to stay.
Puzzle games come a dime a dozen and every known platform offers them, but Cutie Pets Pick Berries brings a certain style, strange appeal, and cleverness to the genre that I haven’t experienced anywhere else — not that I consider myself a puzzle game aficionado. There’s no boring story or unnecessary dialogue to keep track of, here. Immediately following the loading screen you’re tasked with matching similar berries by connecting them with the stylus while a creepy onlooking Mandeer cheers you on from behind a berry bush. He also makes weird sounds.
Connect all the berries together before the timer runs out and you advance to the next round. Match all the fruit without lifting your stylus and you’ll be rewarded a “One stroke!” bonus that increases your overall point total. String a few of those together and you’ll be on your way to earning a healthy high score that only Miiverse can appreciate. Complete each round as quickly as possible and you may even receive the prestigious “Mandeer is pleased!” bonus which rewards you with even more points. Power-ups such as Wild Berries add to your score while special deer-faced berries possess the power to instantly clear a round.
Speaking of Miiverse, Cutie Pets Pick Berries rewards you with a sizable Miiverse stamp collection — from assorted berries and bushes to buff-chested Mandeer who pose ever so eloquently. Each stamp is earned by completing different tasks during rounds; however, there’s no way of knowing exactly how each stamp is unlocked. Just do your best to keep your Mandeer glistening with excitement and you’ll eventually be compensated accordingly. One last thing worth mentioning is that Cutie Pets Pick Berries is played solely on the Wii U GamePad. And rather than staring at a blank TV screen, Yazar Media took the time to ensure two Mandeer relay random messages created by Miiverse users. My favorite message, posted by Miiverser Niklaz reads, “This game has the simplicity of a mobile game, but with the tension of Russian roulette!”
So here’s the deal: Cutie Pets Pick Berries isn’t going to blow you away with anything too exciting, but it does provide short bursts of entertainment while trying to achieve a high score for Miiverse bragging rights. The game does what it’s supposed to, free of glitches or bugs, and the developer put a unique, creepy, and bizarre spin on an otherwise humdrum puzzle game. I recently watched a YouTuber play for several minutes who, unfortunately, never even knew the “One stroke!” bonus existed — a missed opportunity which has displeased many Mandeer. My only real complaint is that in-game screenshot functionality was not incorporated; only high score screens can be posted to Miiverse. At just two bucks, you’ll have unlimited access to all the Mandeer and Miiverse stamps you could ever want. And berries. But no one really cares about those.
Review copy provided by Yazar Media Group