Developer: Renegade Kid
Publisher: Renegade Kid
Mutant Mudds is finally in Australia more than five months after its US release, but is it worthy of its hefty $13.50 price tag? Like Mighty Switch Force
, it has 16 levels, with bonus stages to be unlocked upon finishing the main game, but it isn't as inventive as it would like you to think.
You can switch to platforms in the foreground and background by standing on switches. This potentially neat idea attempts to make the most of the console's stereoscopic powers, but it doesn't add much, as the levels are very linear and at no point do you have to think twice about when to switch in and out of the scenery.
Take away the 3D trickery and you have a Mega Man-style platformer with a water-powered jetpack nabbed from Isle Delfino. Except it's not quite as awesome as that sounds. Playing as Maximillian, you have to save the world, following an attack by muddy mutants. To do so, you must use his water blaster gun to shoot Mudds, while collecting the water sprites used to power the gun.
How much you get out of it depends on how much you enjoy fiendishly difficult retro platformers. There is a time limit, so no levels take longer than four minutes, but you'll be replaying these many times as you only have three lives, and falling into a a spike pit means instant death. Enemies are sometimes placed in awkward positions that you'll have to time your leaps and shots perfectly. The final level throws everything at you. You've got clouds blowing you off platforms, spike pits, crushing Thwomp-style baddies, Mudds that lob bombs at you, those disappearing platforms and a bit of ice thrown in to wind you up a little. With no checkpoints to speak of, you find yourself having to replay the same sections over and over again. I was a young tween the last time the phrase "that's so unfair!" passed my lips this often.
Mutant Mudds has very much been designed for Nintendo fans. To access the secret levels dotted around each stage, you'll occasionally need power-ups obtained from Grannie's Attic, but they are a retro Nintendo fan's dream, as the G-Land levels have monochrome Game Boy visuals while V-Land's are designed like a Virtual Boy game. Again, these levels are stupidly difficult.
These, plus the bonus levels, give you just about enough for your $13.50, although you have to question whether the lack of checkpoints and high difficulty make it feel longer than it is. You will feel a great sense of satisfaction if you complete the final level, although you might have to question whether you had that much fun doing it. A very accomplished platformer, but it's likely to appeal only to hardcore gamers who understand the throwbacks.