Review: Mutant Mudds Collection

Is this assemblage of games a bland retread or a solid return to Max’s world of retro platforming?

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 01/17/2018 11:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
Editor's Choice
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Tight, riveting gameplay; voluminous content; great soundtrack; visuals are retro and fun; V-Land and G-Land are wonderful callbacks to Virtual Boy and Game Boy
Poison Mushroom for...
Brutal difficulty might be a turnoff to some; lack of 3D softens the spectacle of transitioning between layers; the visuals are bright and punchy, but are too minimalist at times

Jools Watsham has been providing Nintendo fans with great games to play for many years now. From Xeodrifter to Dementium: The Ward, under Watsham and Gregg Hargrove’s leadership, defunct studio Renegade Kid brought a number of different titles to players on a range of different consoles. While Watsham and Hargrove have since split Renegade Kid into two separate studios (Atooi and Infitizmo, respectively), none of the different series the duo were responsible for have gone away, thankfully. This includes the beloved Mutant Mudds franchise. Hit up our review of the original for full details on the gameplay and basics of the series, then continue below for more specifics relating to this collection!

With Mutant Mudds Collection, Atooi has taken Mutant Mudds Deluxe and Mutant Mudds Super Challenge and paired them with a new puzzle title dubbed Mudd Blocks. The result is a delightful package for Switch owners to sink their teeth into. For the uninitiated, Mutant Mudds is a series focused on old-school, rigorous platforming and shooting action. The “hook” of the series, so to speak, is star Max’s ability to move in and out of the foreground, middle ground, and background of each stage. The sense of depth is both visually impressive as well as part of the challenge; with multiple layers to navigate, it can be tricky uncovering all of the collectible diamonds that litter each stage. While the gameplay itself is solid, what makes it even more special (or harrowing, depending on your tastes) is the intense difficulty that Mutant Mudds is known for. Expect to die… a lot.

With two games to choose from straight out of the gates, it can be tempting to launch into Super Challenge right away, but in reality this might be a mistake for people new to the series. Deluxe, while still achingly arduous, is a tad bit relaxed compared to its sequel. It’s the perfect jumping on point for those wanting to learn the core mechanics of Mutant Mudds and build up their skills. Truly, the sequence of playing through Deluxe and moving into Super Challenge from there represents the perfect difficulty curve, as the first half of Deluxe gives way to its much harder second half, followed by Super Challenge which is a murderer’s row of stages from start to finish. Still, there’s no right or wrong here, so for anyone wanting to cut their teeth on Super Challenge to start, have at it!

Both games in Mutant Mudds Collection employ a retro aesthetic, utilizing bright, punchy pixel graphics and a rollicking chiptune soundtrack. Admittedly, so far as “retro” styled games go, I don’t think Mutant Mudds is the prettiest title out there. The colors are bold and sumptuous, but I feel like there’s too much blockiness overall. Later releases from Renegade Kid/Atooi like Xeodrifter and Chicken Wiggle do a much better job of establishing their own style without sacrificing too much detail in the way that I feel Mutant Mudds does. Regardless, I’m not going to pretend these are unattractive titles. They’re solid, just not spectacular. I will note that the lack of 3D on Switch’s screen (or on a TV) means the uncanny sense of depth that hopping between layers fostered in the 3DS originals is absent here. I know 3D isn’t a big deal to a lot of players, but in the case of Mutant Mudds, it was masterfully implemented and it’s a shame there’s no way of experiencing it here.


For fans who have played both Deluxe and Super Challenge, there is something new to experience in the aforementioned puzzle title Mudd Blocks, which makes its debut here. While developers will sometimes slap in filler software in collections like this, don’t let that color your judgment of Mudd Blocks. It’s a fun game that even provides a handful of additional modes to tackle. Mudd Blocks tasks players with chaining a series of colored blocks together so that once a bomb is dropped from above, they all explode in sequence. The game even supports TATE mode (vertical monitor display), meaning you can tilt you Switch onto its side and play it like an old arcade cabinet. From single-player to two-player, Mudd Blocks offers engaging gameplay that, while not in the same league as puzzle masterpieces like Tetris and Puzzle League/Panel de Pon, is a legitimately worthy addition to Mutant Mudds Collection. It’s also a nice change of pace from dying constantly in the other two titles!

If you’ve been looking to get into Mutant Mudds or have been simply wanting a new retro platformer on Switch, there are few better options than Mutant Mudds Collection. With two already spectacular titles in Mutant Mudds Deluxe and Mutant Mudds Super Challenge, fans will spend hours plugging away at their immense (and rewarding) challenge. Throw in the solid Mudd Blocks, which is an out of the blue and pleasant surprise (and arguably better than 3DS puzzler Bomb Monkey), and not only is Collection a satisfying time to be had, it’s also a great value, to boot. Switch’s library is stuffed with great games, but don’t let this one pass you by. It’s easily up there with some of the best software on the system.

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.

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