(Besides Grindstone, obv.)
Hello. Last night I almost leapt out of bed and ran into the street wearing just my pyjamas, grabbing anyone I could find and loudly yelling, “Apple Arcade! It’s this new thing on iOS! First month’s free! The only game you need is Painty Mob!” I had been playing Painty Mob for about five minutes by that point. Now I’m several hours deep. The only difference is this: now I would yell even louder.
What is Painty Mob? God that is hard to say really. Years from now there will be college courses designed to answer that question. People will write dissertations and check out inter-library-loan books on Painty Mob and write, “Agree!” in the margins next to the really clever lines. Anyway, take a phone screen, held landscape. Imagine a line dividing it down the middle. The left half? That’s for moving your thumb to run around. The right half? That’s for sending out bursts of paint.
So what is Painty Mob? It’s a game with a mob and you paint them. The more of the mob you paint the higher your score. But the mob chases you and tries to kill you. And there are bombs and other problems. It’s all over so quickly. “It’s All Over so Quickly: Mortality and meaning in Painty Mob.” That one gets a first.
What else is Painty Mob, though? It is a sensation, delivered through the art and up via the screen and the thumbs. It is a softness, a squishiness, a rounded, inflated world of flat colour and emoticon grins that you race across blasting everything with emergency yellow, with hot coral, with Dulux Heartwood. The world is inflated to the point where it might burst any second. Bang. It’s done. You’re done. Painty Mob is done. Back, inevitably, to Painty Mob.
It is a lot of stuff happening on screen all the time, most of it delightful. It is unlockable characters and coins and things to buy with in-game currency that sometimes falls out of a pig. Your paint runs down as you use it and you have to collect more paint all the time. Maybe you hold off painting everything. Maybe you let the mob get in close so your paint builds up and then: pow! Knock them all back. If Painty Mob is so simple, right, why do I have all these strategies brewing? Why do I dream of peering beneath the paint, beneath the mob, and touching the void itself?
Painty Mob! This game is so good. I might faint it’s so good. Maybe I will. Maybe I will just faint.