Spot-on controls; a clever and fun hover mechanic; appealing visuals; and a tough, but rewarding difficulty
A few sound effect omissions; maybe a bit too unforgiving
Mutant Mudds is unforgiving. The game does not contain checkpoints, health replenishments or a super guide. Succeed or start over. But know success feels ever so sweet with this eShop title.
Developed by Renegade Kid, the platformer stars a kid named Max who’s equipped with a Super Soaker. The titular Mutant Mudds invade earth and patrol 40 well-designed levels, creating havoc and fun for Max. His water blaster not only destroys the alien foes, but also allows Max to hover as well as jump. This power-up sets Mutant Mudds apart from other platform games, and adds some devious challenges.
The hard difficulty plays a major role. Be ready for sweaty hands and an elevated heart rate; one wrong move can set Max back to the beginning of a level. The main character has three hearts and no chance at second chances because enemies lack health drops. There also are the traditional instant deaths to worry about, too– spikes and pits. While at times frustrating, Renegade Kid establishes a well-paced difficulty curve to keep gamers going. Even better, as skills improve and levels get more challenging, the fun increases. It’s refreshing to see a game that contains as much joy at the end as the beginning.
Still, there are times when checkpoints seem needed, especially when the endpoint is only half the challenge. Each of the 20 main levels contains 100 collectable golden diamonds. Having to recollect diamonds as well as traverse back through stages tests patience. Renegade Kid alleviates this quibble a bit by saving diamond pickups with each playthrough; thus, a player can replay a stage over and over and pick up a few diamonds at a time.
Replaying levels gives gamers time to enjoy the retro, multilayered stages. Renegade Kid creates a sprite-based world that is quirky, light-hearted and appealing. The character sprite work is good, but the real star revolves around the multilayered stage designs. Most levels contain three layers of platforming goodness, so Max can jump closer or farther away from the screen. With 3D cranked up, the levels shine and showcase great depth.
The retro-inspired music complements the action well, too. The audio sounds light and chirpy, befitting the overall mood of the game. The sound effects miss the mark a bit, though, because of some omissions. For example, specific platforms disappear and reappear, creating difficult time-based jumps. But these tricky terrains lack an audio cue, so it’s harder to get into a rhythm.
Thankfully, there are no quibbles with the spot-on controls. Mutant Mudds is easy to handle with three inputs: moving, jumping and shooting. But Renegade Kid creates enough depth with these minimal controls to keep gamers happy. The hover ability, in particular, takes a bit to learn, but once figured out, it’s a joy to handle.
In general, Mutant Mudds increases in fun as the game progresses. As the controls and mechanics sink in, the stages become fun and challenging playgrounds. The game also feels rewarding because of its tough, but well-balanced difficulty. Yes, there are minor complaints here and there, but nothing that pulls the experience through the mud. All in all, Renegade Kid delivers its best with its latest in Mutant Mudds.
Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.