Find Out How Dexterous You Really Are With Single-Player Co-Op In Mr. Tart

Mr. Tart

When you’re a sticky slab of manufactured human food, the best you can hope for in life is to be eaten. I know it’s not much to look forward to, but look, if you’re a pop tart with a conscience, then ending your life as quickly as possible is priority. And hey, you may as well provide a tasty snack for someone, rather than putting your life to a complete waste, right? This is clearly the logic of Mr. Tart, who is a pop tart who wants to be eaten by the developer of the game he stars in, conveniently called Mr. Tart.

This is short puzzle-platformer made for the Stencyl Jam 2013, and was the winner of the Bigdino sponsorship, so there must be something quirky going on here. And yes, there is, I suppose. It’s one of those games in which I can use that frilly line, “co-op with yourself!” That doesn’t really tell you much; however, I will attempt to explain as it turns out to be a tricky mechanic that works well most of the time. It’s certainly interesting.

Mr. Tart

After completing the rather standard first level of Mr. Tart, you are then introduced to your goofy blue friend, who you’re also able to control. This is how it works: with the arrow keys you control Mr. Tart, and with the WASD keys you control the blue guy. This isn’t exactly something new, but what the game does with this set-up becomes more interesting as you progress. To start off with, the puzzle is as boring as having the blue guy fall down a hole and land on a button, which then removes the wall of spikes, preventing Mr. Tart from getting to the toaster, which marks the end of the level. The cutest aspect of the game is that Mr. Tart enters the toaster, and is then flung out of the level, back to the level select screen.

Oh, the mirth!

The third level isn’t too exciting either if you’ve ever played a game with a similar mechanic, as you simply use the blue guy to hit buttons that open the way up for Mr. Tart. Basic stuff. It’s the fourth level that starts to get a little more interesting. Called “Balancing Act,” you have to place Mr. Tart on his blue friend, and then move them together across a wide spike pit to the exit on the other side. To succeed, you need to get both of your fingers working in conjunction with each other, or move each character a tiny bit at a time. It’s quite the test at first.

Mr. Tart

The consequent levels use this co-operation in many different ways. “Body Guard” has the blue guy jumping in the way of forks that would otherwise kill Mr. Tart, for instance. More interesting are the levels which involve the transportation of a key. In these levels you usually have to use both characters to juggle a key across to a lock, and if it shall fall, then you’d have ruined your chance to complete the level. The introduction of magic hats that your blue friend can travel through add another interesting dynamic to the later levels.

The level that stands out the most apart from the fiddly and slightly obnoxious last level, however, is “Trust Fall.” In this you have to use your dexterity to jump the blue guy into the air and across a large gap, while, at the same time, have Mr. Tart mimic the motion, but in a way so that he can jump off the blue guy’s head halfway across this large gap and into the toast on the other side. It’s pretty hard until you get used to the controls a little more, but I found it to be the most amusing level of the game, and I wish that there were more levels that focused on dexterity in this fashion, rather than merely being careful or balancing various objects.

Give Mr. Tart a try, if just to try out “Trust Fall,” but I’d note that the rest of levels are diverse and quite fun to work out and pull off too.

Mr. Tart

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