Review: The Mummy Demastered

WayForward replaces Tom Cruise with Samus Aran.

By Marc Deschamps. Posted 11/13/2017 20:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Gorgeous visuals; incredible take on Metroidvania gameplay; massive boss fights
Poison Mushroom for...
Undead agents can become a major nuisance; slowdown can get really noticeable; unremarkable protagonist; strong Joy-Con rumble

Licensed video games have always been a bit of a toss-up. Some are too slavish to their source material, while others go in the complete opposite direction. The Mummy Demastered falls into the latter category, offering up an adventure that has little to do with the recently released Tom Cruise reboot. Fortunately, since that film flopped critically and financially, that seems to be a good thing.

Metroid and Castlevania have inspired a number of titles over the years, but The Mummy Demastered takes perhaps more inspiration from those classic games than most: it truly looks and feels like a Castlevania game with some Metroid trappings thrown in for good measure. You play the game as a nameless Prodigium soldier sent to stop the mummy Ahmanet before she becomes all-powerful. To do so, you’ll travel across an interconnected world, finding new weapons and items left behind by your now-deceased team members to unlock new areas.

While the Metroid franchise offers up power-ups that are based in science fiction, Demastered‘s upgrades are predominantly based on real-life weaponry. You’ll find an assortment of different guns, climbing gear, grenades and more. Grenades serve both as an offensive weapon and as an all-purpose key, blowing open doors, rather than forcing you to find a particular beam to move forward. In other cases, your character will unlock new abilities from magic scrolls, such as the ability to run faster or jump higher.

Demastered‘s areas are crawling with various enemy types: zombies, oversized spiders, bats, bouncing brains, skeletons and slugs all populate the game’s world. Most basic enemies can be taken out easily enough but enemies are fairly abundant, and can prove to be more than just a minor hindrance when they appear in great numbers. The game’s default gun (which has unlimited ammo) can handle most opponents, but the game makes ammo for the better weapons pretty easy to come by as well, which certainly helps with the more heavily infested areas. Enemies also respawn immediately after the player leaves an area. This can prove a bit frustrating at times, particularly when you get lost and have to backtrack, but it also helps when you need to kill some foes to restock on ammo or health. Enemies also lead to one of the game’s issues: slowdown. While the game moves along just fine most of the time, areas with heavier amounts of enemies move noticeably slower than others. These areas are infrequent overall, but in one particular instance I’ll detail below, it can be all the more frustrating.

One interesting, and controversial, deviation from both the Metroid and Castlevania franchises is the idea of permanent death. In Demastered, once your faceless soldier dies, he is reborn as an undead agent. Command will send in a new soldier for you to control at your most recent save point, but those power-ups and weapons you acquired? They’ll have to be recovered from a zombie that knows a thing or two about wielding them. The game also automatically saves after each death, to make it more difficult for players to reset the game and cheat the system. This can get a bit frustrating during some of the game’s more difficult sections as dying multiple times can lead to multiple undead agents to contend with. Only the original will have your weapons and gear, and dying in an area with multiple enemies can make for a really tough time. I managed to die in an area fairly far from a save point, covered in foes. Going back to try to get my gear became a terrible slog, and multiple deaths along the way really hurt my enthusiasm at times, especially when the number of undead agents start to make the game run slower, hampering an already unnerving experience. While the undead agents are a great concept, WayForward should have put a cap on the number that can accumulate on the map.

Despite the Demastered moniker, the game is really, really good looking. All of the game’s monsters are well-designed and environments truly pop, especially when you come across the outdoor areas where the moon shines brightly. The game’s bosses are even more impressive, showcasing some insanely strong (and intimidating) designs. WayForward truly has a knack for design, and it shows throughout the title. Sadly, the same can’t really be said for the generic look of the game’s protagonist. Considering that WayForward is responsible for the charming Shantae design, it’s amazing just how unremarkable this game’s soldiers are; there’s nothing about their design that’s remotely memorable. It does make some sense given the fact that these are soldiers that will die and end up replaced on the field of battle, but the player characters look kind of dull when compared to everything else in the game.

One other source of irritation is the game’s rumble effect. Like the initial release of Snake Pass, The Mummy Demastered shakes the Joy-Cons in a way that’s both distractingly loud and strong, so much so that other people in the room would take notice during my play sessions. Snake Pass was quickly patched to fix the issue, but, as of this writing, there has been no similar announcement for Demastered. It is, by no means, a game-breaking bug, but it is a bit irritating.

Licensed games have changed a lot over the last few console generations. While games based on movies and TV shows were once incredibly prevalent, the rise of mobile gaming and micro transactions all but killed licensed games appearing on consoles. The Mummy Demastered almost seems like a compromise, offering a loose film tie-in that doesn’t break the bank. It’s also really good, though that shouldn’t be that big a surprise with WayForward at the helm. The Mummy Demastered gives Switch owners a Metroidvania style game, while also delivering an experience that brings in some twists of its own. It has a few small warts that hold it back from the classic status of the video game franchises that inspired it, but the fact that can be said for a licensed game in 2017 is nothing short of remarkable.

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.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Log In 0 points Log in or register to grow your Ninja Score while interacting with our site.
Nintendojo's RSS Feeds

All Updates Podcast
News Comments
Like and follow usFacebookTwitter Friend Code Exchange + Game with Us Join the Team!