Mutant Mudds Deluxe

Warning: anyone born before 1987 will hate me for this review.  That’s because Mutant Mudds Deluxe seems to bask in the rule that anything retro is good simply because it’s retro.  I don’t subscribe to that theory myself.  I happen to like neo-retro stuff.  Look at my top ten.  They’ll all cut from that same old-school cloth.  But those games all have fun hooks and entertaining gameplay.  Mutant Mudds looks the part.  In fact, it’s one of the best looking games I’ve seen done in this style since starting this blog.  I just wish the actual game matched its beautiful graphics.  It doesn’t.  It’s one of the dullest platformers I’ve come across.

Can't stress this enough: Mutant Mudds looks like it will be really fun.  But instead, it settled for "playable."

Can’t stress this enough: Mutant Mudds looks like it will be really fun. But instead, it settled for “playable.”

You’re a dude with a gun.  There are coin-things to collect and enemies to shoot.  Instead of a double-jump, you can float briefly.  The big hook is the ability to bounce off specially marked springboards that send you into the foreground or background.  Neat idea, but it seemed like something that would be better tailored for the Nintendo 3DS, which this is actually available for as well.  Also, I tweeted that the idea seemed original, but apparently it was lifted from Virtual Boy Wario Land or so my readers say.  I wouldn’t know.  I was six years old when that piece of shit game machine was released and my parents wouldn’t even let me try the store’s kiosk out of fear for my eyeballs.  And this is before I had epilepsy, mind you.  But I’m going off topic.

Mutant Mudds mostly controls fine.  Mostly.  The only times I had problems were when the game over-used disappearing/reappearing platforms.  I’ve never been a fan of those.  The weird thing is, most retro gamers I know don’t seem to be either.  They seem to be one of the prime reasons why Mega Man 2 is more beloved than the original.  In Mutant Mudds, the jumping is a bit stiff when you don’t use the Princess Peach like floating, and thus the physics don’t lend themselves well to platforms that appear and disappear quickly.  Using the floating doesn’t help much either, because it screws the timing up.  Deactivating the floating requires another press of the button, but it forces you to get stabby with the controls.  It wasn’t until a couple of hours in that I had collected enough coins to buy the extended floaty hover jump thing.  This did almost completely solve my problems with the disappearing shit.  But, by this point I had spent hours getting frustrated by them, because they’re way over-used.  It’s never so bad that it reaches hair-ripping aggravation, but it does serve to slow things down and damper what is already a pretty snore-inducing experience.

Mutant Mudds seems to hit all the platforming clichés.  There's fire.  There's ice.  There's clouds.  Actually, I never ran into an underwater level, but there were still four doors locked when I finally got bored and said "there's no hope this is going to get better."

Mutant Mudds seems to hit all the platforming clichés. There’s fire. There’s ice. There’s clouds. Actually, I never ran into an underwater level, so maybe the game didn’t quite hit a blackout on its platforming cliché bingo card.

When it comes to aesthetics, Mutant Mudd is nearly flawless.  Beautiful graphics, era-appropriate sounds and music.  It’s an extraordinarily well-produced game.  But once you get into the things that make a game fun, it just comes up empty.  Level design is very basic.  Enemies are generic and fighting them is repetitive and boring.  And that’s the prime fault of this game.  It’s visually pleasing, but unambitious.  Well produced, but safe and samey.  I’ve played games like this before.  I want to play something wild and new, but Mutant Mudds is content to stay firmly grounded in tradition.  After finishing all the basic rooms and a couple of the “mirrored” levels that are more like punisher versions of the originals, I found out I couldn’t play on until I had found X amount of hidden trinkets and doors.  Um, nah.  I’m good.  After a couple of hours, I hadn’t really had any fun at all.  I was hopeful after seeing the dimensional hook, but I was still waiting for the game to do something cool and it never came.  I’m guessing older gamers will be satisfied enough just because Mutant Mudds is a really great homage to generic “me-too” platformers from back in the day.  For me, playing through this was no less tiresome than sitting through any average 80s movie or television series where I just can’t get how you children of the Reagan era could accept this as entertainment.  Hey, don’t look at me like that, and don’t say my generation has no taste.  We’re not the ones who made David Hasselhoff a star.  That was you guys.

Mutant Mudds logoMutant Mudds Deluxe was developed by Renegade Kid

$9.99 suggests that if you must buy Mutant Mudds, you should probably get it for 3DS instead since it’s more suited for a 3D screen, plus it would have been nice to not be tethered to a TV for no reason while playing this in the making of this review.

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