Review: Marvin's Mittens (Computer)

Reviewed by Brandon Boui, posted Dec 21, 2014
I personally love the holiday season and everything associated with it, so naturally I jumped on the chance to play this wonderful little platformer.
Dec 21, 2014
  • Release Date (NA): December 17, 2014
  • Publisher: Steam
  • Developer: Breakfall
  • Genres: Platformer
  • ESRB Rating: Everyone
  • PEGI Rating: Three years and older
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
Marvin's Mittens was developed by Breakfall for Steam on the PC. It's a platformer and exploration title that focuses on the main character Marvin, who is on a journey to retrieve his lost mitten.
Brandon Boui

Marvin's Mittens - Steam 

Childhood. Nostalgia. Playing in the snow. Winter. The call of your mother's voice telling you to come inside for the day. These are some of the feelings that are brought up when playing Marvin's Mittens, developed by Breakfall for the PC on the Steam platform. For a couple of bucks, this title will be sure to bring a happy and jolly feeling this holiday season. 

Marvin's Mittens opens up on a brisk wintery day, with Marvin playing in the snow, making a snowman. As he performs his task, a mysterious yellow flash comes by, swiping his mitten and running off with it. Martin, voicing his bemusement, becomes determined to get his mitten back. What follows after is a journey that spans over several hours to claim the mitten back, which involved meeting a group of elves that grant Marvin the magic ability of momentary flight - double jumping. Once the second jump has been received, the game opens up and really allows the sense of exploration - to be able to claim snowflakes that are placed in the environment that will give incremental increases in the height of Marvin's jump - which was very small in the early outset of the game. 

What makes Mittens so much fun is that the exploration is on a time clock - the day clock. The world, given its vastness in appearance, must be taken in the eyes of a small child, as his mother's beckon call to return home for the night is always able to be heard, to Marvin's disappointment as he voices his sadness of having to return home. Exploring becomes all the more fun as the time clock gets the player to explore as much as they can in the amount of time that it takes for the sun to go down each day. Elves along the way will be able to provide shortcuts by digging the landscape, opening up shortcuts that become crucial for exploration time. As Marvin races out on his sled, the shortcuts will be used to do less foot travel and give more exploration time. With extra exploration comes the chance to find extra snowflakes, which increase the height of Marvin's jump, which in turn opens the map up to travel upwards towards the higher tree branches. 

The visuals of Marvin's Mittens are so charming. It's a wonderful art style that has the feel of animation coming to life. The animation looks like it's popping out of the computer screen. It could be compared to the works of Bill Watterson and his Calvin and Hobbes series. I got the comic book vibe from the moment I started playing it, and the bright visuals are complimented by a wintery soundtrack that just has the feeling of Christmas. 

Mittens is a very straightforward title in its execution. The mechanics are simple enough to grasp for a small child, but a small child may have a bit of trouble with the accuracy of the jumps that are required to play the game. Some of the jumps were actually fairly tricky and for a young child, a bit of assistance may be required to complete the jumps. But the game did a great job in putting forth its foot in capturing the feeling of going out in a snow suit and exploring a wintery landscape, keeping the minor subtleties intact, such as hearing Marvin's mother calling out to him, indicating that though the map is quite vast, the setting is actually fairly intimate in nature as the voice can be heard anywhere. The game separates itself with no forms of combat, with a collection involving of finding some critters and drawing them into a notebook. There is no sense of in game tension or angst, and feels relaxing all the way through, although there are a few moments where you want to shout in irritation as the mother calls you in, as, just like a small child would, you wish to keep playing outside. The game is a solid platforming explorer, which scores extra if played during the holidays. Even the most hardened adult would secretly find some charm in playing this title, as it has many cues of a childhood that has become lost in the responsibilities of becoming an adult.  The game, at a few dollars on the Steam store, is definitely worth a purchase, especially given the holiday season being in full swing. I am confident that you'll enjoy the title. Huge thanks to Breakfall for providing us with the review copy!

+ Charming, brings a feeling of nostalgia
+ Lovely visuals and soundtrack
+ Relaxing title, no need to feel angst during gameplay
+ The voice acting brings that nostalgic mood full circle, Marvin's VA was perfect in all of his lines.
- Some gamers might balk at the lack of combat
- Short!
8 Presentation
Visuals are so unique in this game, it looks like it comes straight from an artist's drawing board. The music is so charming and gives that wintery feel from the moment the game starts.
7 Gameplay
Simple jumping platformer that can be played by anyone. No real combat system, more of a collector game to get all snowflakes, find the missing mitten.
8 Lasting Appeal
Should be a nice title to come back and play at any time of the year, with bonus points during the holidays.
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
The score can be interpreted as +/- 1 point depending on the time of year in which you play it. It's an exceptionally solid platformer that shows that even indie titles are capable of creating experiences that are fun for all ages. The title is relatively short but its bright cheery visuals and sound track are worth the price paid.

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