Mutant Mudds (3DS eShop) - Review by Andrew
Waiting for Mutant Mudds to arrive in Europe has been a painful experience. After all this is the first original eShop game which really caused a significant amount of excitement from both the media and gamers alike. It was a bit of a risk for the developers too and the game started off life as a perfectly enjoyable 3D action adventure until it failed to gain a publisher. A few years on and we now have the 2D reworking and with added retro experience. So, what's all the fuss about?
After a wonderful intro it becomes apparent that you have been charged with saving the planet from the pesky Mutant Mudd Monsters who have just dropped in via a rouge meteor. Why you, you're asking, well Max (the character you play) is already armed with a bubble blaster, which dissolves the Monsters, and a water pack allowing him to hover in mid air for a few seconds. Clearly the army were unavailable so, it's up to you this time.
The game itself takes place over 40 levels with the ultimate challenge to locate the elusive Water Sprite which will rid the planet of these uninvited guests for good. It's here were you'll quickly discover the real genius behind Mutant Muddds: the level design. This is both challenging and entertaining and the ability to jump between planes have never been executed so successfully.
Timing is also an important part of the gameplay and whether it's dodging a particularly huge Rock Monster or hitting one of the dissolving platforms at just the right moment, you'll find yourself counting down in your head so you make your move at just the right moment. Once you have completed a level you'll quickly realize that the whole game is liked through a central HUB with all the levels appearing as doors. As with all classic platformers, not all of these are available at the games start and you must amass enough exit tokens in order to open up the more advanced sections of the game.
There is a point to collecting the gems too and given that each level is against the clock it would be tempting to simply bypass these valuable jewels in order to reach the exit. The bottom screen gives you a running total of just how many gems you've managed to pick up and at the centre of the HUB is a shop. Yes, you guessed it, you can spen your booty on a selection of power-up's although we'd like to have seen the shop a little better stocked still it does make the game a little easier.
To match its retro look, the developers have also employed a simple, but classic, control system so there's no need to have a hefty manual detailing a complicated button layout. Max can jump, hover and shoot but even without these being signposted, during the tutorial level, you'd probably work it all out anyway.
Mutant Muuds is never going to win any awards for tapping into the core power of the 3DS's graphical capabilities and it's probably fair to say that this could have been developed on the Gameboy Advance or maybe even the GameBoy Color. That's not a criticism though as the whole thing looks incredible and the 2D stylized environments and characters look superb and we can only hope that the planned sequel keeps the same visuals.
Teaming up with the 8 Bit visuals is the sound and if you recall the early days of home computing or arcades, the sounds and music here will have you grinning from ear to ear. Wonderful stuff.
It's become very clear now that the stereoscopic effect doesn't always work well on the majority of games developed for the system. Here though the 3D adds a great deal of depth to the levels and the different planes look fantastic with the 3D actually adding to the games enjoyment.
In an age when most reviews talk about the incredible production values, Mutant Mudds goes back to basics and instead focuses on the actual game design. That's not to say that the graphics and sound have been abandoned completely and the 8 Bit feel to the whole game fits perfectly with the platforming theme. The only criticism is that the whole experience can become a little repetitive but given that we had to tear our self away from the game, to write this review, that doesn't seem to be too much of a problem. If you have a 3DS, you need this game, plain and simple.
Pro: Simple, Entertaining Gameplay. Great Retro Feel.
Con: Can Become a Little Repetitive
Final score: 9