Besides having what is quite possibly the best game title ever, It's Mr. Pants brings the cheeky, stick-figure, Web site host of Rare's reader-letter Pantsboard to the fore as he presents an array of puzzle games to the populace. Mr. Pants' defining feature is not so much his elegantly scribbled moustache or even his stylish bowler hat, but instead it's the generously proportioned underpants that he proudly sports (yes, it's that kind of pants, not the kind you might be thinking of). Gratuitous underwear imagery aside, It's Mr. Pants is based around a simple array of puzzle-block games that center on clearing the game board for fun and fabulous prizes.
It's Mr. Pants contains three basic gameplay modes: puzzle, wipeout, and marathon. Puzzle mode presents you with a board full of differently colored shapes, and your goal is to completely clear the board using a restricted number of various Tetris-like pieces. When you place like-colored pieces against one another, they'll all become incorporated into the same shape. If the shape is a square or a rectangle that's larger than two-by-two, the whole thing will disappear, along with any qualifying adjacent shapes. You can replace pieces of one color with those of another with no problem, but you can't do the same with two pieces of the same shade.
Wipeout mode gives you a similar setup, but it dots the playing board with random pieces. Your goal here will be to eliminate everything on the board within a certain time frame. The last mode, marathon, gives you an empty board in which you'll get to ply your mad points-gaining skills by quickly building shapes and clearing them. While you do so, however, a snakelike bar creeps around the periphery of the board. Clearing pieces and gaining points will knock the bar back, but eventually, if you're not earning points fast enough, the bar will circle in to the center of the board, and then it's game over. The object is to last as long as possible while also earning as many points as possible. There are varying levels of difficulty to these modes, and completing a set of puzzles will net you different sorts of pants postcards that feature soothing cartoon scenes of underpants.
The game has a lighthearted, hand-drawn style in which stick figures, cute animals, and brightly colored briefs abound. Sound effects include a number of voice clips for the menu systems--where occupied underpants save slots are "stinky," and open ones are "fresh," and where the guest login is "disposable"--that really help to lend the game proceedings some character. The soundtrack is a perfect match for the universe of Mr. Pants, with plenty of simple, little upbeat tunes that keep the action moving along.
Fans of Rare's portly Pantsboard moderator will get a kick out of seeing him here, and those who enjoy simply puzzle games might want to keep their eyes on this quirky, little title. GameSpot will have more information on It's Mr. Pants' Game Boy Advance release as it approaches.