Mutant Mudds (3DS eShop) - Review by Trent
Mutant Mudds has been available in the eShop in the US for a few months now, and only launched in the PAL eShop today. Even before I played the first level the presentation took me back to the 90s video gaming (which I loved) and the desicion to 'redevelop' the game from the original 3D adventure appears to have been a wise one. As soon as you start game you are presented with a retro style video clip showing the protagonist playing video games, but wait disaster has struck and Mudds are everywhere. With the introduction flashing by, I was already laughing and excited to play the game. While this is a game from 2012, it feels like it's directly out of the 90s or even the arcades of the 80's with twists. I can see we're in for a treat.
Mutant Mudds is, of course, a platformer. This means incorporates jumping with, in this case, shooting in an intertwined experience. It also features a gameplay mechanic which allows users to switch between the background, foreground and of course the middle ground. One example shown from the tutorial level was when Max reached a dead end, he was then able to jump on a portal and go to a section filled with precious gems. Once he had finished, jumping on another portal sent him back to the middle ground section to a new area of the game.
There was a tutorial level soon after I was introduced to that quick cinematic at the start of the game. It was simple and easy, but flowed well, it wasn't intrusive either. The great thing was you could either ignore the tutorial (as it was just signs) or figure out the controls on your own, which made the level not feel any less complete if you decided to do the later.
After the initial level things start getting interesting and harder. Gone from the game is the easy level you learned the controls in and fell in love with, it has now been replaced levels which you are falling in love with for different reasons. The game becomes a challenge, but an enjoyable challenge and the jumping through the background/foreground become integrated into the title stronger.
Something has clicked and while simple, the gameplay has become the highlight of the day, the protagonist jumping through levels shooting down the Mudds with some kind of water solution and collecting gems, which he then uses to unlock doors to move onto the next level and get more gems.
Jumping has a boost to it which allows the protagonist to glide and jump further. Besides the boost feature there is also the heart system. Though the game doesn't feature lives, it does have hearts which can disappear throughout the level as you sustain damage from various actions. Such as been attacked.
There is also a time limit on the stages which is fair and balanced, but still can be a bit annoying if you had gotten stuck at some point and only just figured out how to advance and got a nice little "times up" message.
Various stages will also have secret areas which take on their own unique visual experience while still retaining the 2D graphics. Secret areas are usually much more devious then the levels you just left, they also still retain the background jump ability.
First level is a guided tour through controls. Renegade Kid did it right and the tutorial is just sign posts, with nothing forcing you to comply. Before I ran down the level in under a couple of minutes making sure I had each gem, I learned the controls masterfully so I can explain them to you.
B and A are essentially the same button, as well as X and Y. This means you can comfortably choose how you want to hold the 3DS to reach those buttons. The lower buttons (B and A) are for jumping, making this title an amazing platformer, with the X and Y for simply shooting.
That means that the circle pad and the d pad are used for walking. Holding jump makes you float as well.
The L and R buttons do nothing. Keeping the controls simple and easy.
It might seem silly for a 3D console, which empowers itself through 3D to have a 2D game on it. Well it does, Mutant Mudds is a sprite based 2D game. Also like all platformers there is an amount of variety available to the gamer graphic wise as the game progresses, with Mutant Mudds supporting a few cosmetic changes through different levels.
It still features the 3D feature of the 3DS and works it in very well at times, while feeling flat when there is a constant section of one (fore/middle/back)-ground type.
I've died a lot, only because I'm not great with platformers. However every time I find myself at the retry screen, I just sit there for a moment and enjoy the music. It feels fine, fresh and influenced by a range of classics.
There are no bad tracks; there can be different tastes and nit picking. But overall the music fits the style of the game while giving the tracks a modern feel.
When you talk special features for Mutant Mudds, you don't talk about the 3DS hardware. Yes, you have the 3D the system is known for, which overall works great when the foreground and background areas are shown. When the middle ground is the main focus however, it seems to just blur together.
No when you talk Mutant Mudds special features you talk about the game itself, you talk of course about the feature which Renegade Kid has included which allows you to jump from middle ground to foreground or background. This jumping technique makes the game fresh, and is one of the key features of the game.
It might sound like I've praised the game too much for been a deep "flash back" experience and while it will delight retro gamers, Mutant Mudds is so much more. This is the complete package, not to mention one of the best offerings from the eShop to date, and gamers will find themselves playing a solid 2D title with a significant amount of depth and Gameplay to boot. I was always weary about the original game being 'redeveloped' into this 2D affair but Renegade Kid have done a fantastic job and this is one game every 3DS should have installed. Get it now!
Pro: Great Retro Flashback experience with solid 2D Sprites
Con: Retro flavor might ward off younger games, challanging and basic at times
Final score: 8.7