Mutant Mudds Review
by Alex Balderas
This game had me puzzled form the very beginning. It seems that by the time I first heard about it everyone on message boards was already hyping it to no end. I asked around and the only answer I could get as for why exactly this game was going to be so great was that “it’s made by Renegade Kid”. Now, if you know your portable gaming history, you know that Renegade Kid made some particularly unique games for the DS: Dementium: The Ward, Moon, and Dementium 2. All that is fine, but as I watched gameplay videos of Mutant Mudds, I just kept wondering: how does any of that expertise in First Person adventures translate into a retro-styled Platformer? In absolutely no way, as far as I can see. Still, Renegade Kid did a good job with Mutant Mudds, and it’s certainly worth playing if you have the $9 to fork over.
The mechanics are very simple, consisting at first only of moving (no run button is present), jumping, hovering with your water nerd-science-jetpack-thing, and shooting your water gun. Jumping in certain blocks can send you between foreground and background, with there being typically 3 depth levels in total. These mechanics stay the same throughout the entire game, and the only additions are the 3 upgrades you buy and which you need to access some particular secret stages. Unfortunately, you can’t equip the 3 upgrades at the same time (a design choice that I really don’t understand), so even at the end of the game you don’t feel like you’ve progressed much.
I honestly don’t know how to feel about the game’s length. It literally took me 2 hours and 31 minutes in a single sitting to finish it, but I’ve seen other reviewers and players report much larger figures, roughly averaging at about 6 hours for completion. It’s strange because there really is no way to speedrun this game, considering there is no run mechanic and no particularly useful tricks until late in the game when you get the rocket upgrade.
The visuals are very nice for a retro-style game, and the 3D graphics in particular clearly add a lot to the game. In fact, I would say that without the 3D on, this game could get a little annoying to play due to the background maps being harder to differentiate from the foreground ones. It is a very pleasant effect overall.
The music is also retro-styled, and it is quite catchy and easily hummable for the most part, though due to the game’s shortness there are not many tracks (about 10 plus the menus and selection screens if I’m correct), which is a shame because soundtrack composer Troupe Gammage did a great job on what little is here. You can download the soundtrack from here.
There are secret levels with Virtual Boy and GameBoy visuals.
To be perfectly honest, I’m altogether not too awfully impressed with Mutant Mudds. It is a fine effort considering it’s coming from Renegade Kid (who had never made a platformer before), but in the end I find it a bit short in terms of content, and shallow in terms of game design. If Mutant Mudds had a few more mechanics that increased the complexity of the platforming/shooting and had more stages on which to develop these mechanics, then it would perhaps be a great game. As it is right now I find it merely ‘good’, and for its price of $9 I think I expected more than that.