Game Review – Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge

 

Short Version: It’s really good, but it’s really hard. I suggest you all go play the original Mutant Mudds before getting into this one, for this game is absolutely relentless in its difficulty. If you guys like to play hard platformer games, then go ahead, but I highly recommend you play the predecessors first, since those are way easier by comparison, and will make for a smoother transition into Super Challenge.

Long Version: Sometimes I truly feel that Mutant Mudds is an SNES games that got lost in some sort of time vortex and somehow got released in 2013, with a new sequel out now in 2016. I wish to say that with the most positive connotation possible, since I like these games a lot, despite how incredibly hard they can get. Within its colorful and friendly exterior, there is a brutal 2D platformer waiting to test you on your skills; and it does a great job at that.

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A Muddy Situation

Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge, developed and published by Renegade Kid, is a sequel to the original Mutant Mudds, where the simple story, aesthetic, enemies, upgrades and environments are pretty much identical to the previous game. However, the actual level design and mechanics are much more difficult than before, truly pushing Mutant Mudds veterans to their limit, one spiky pit at a time.

Playing the game is fairly simple. You move with the D-pad, shoot your water gun, jump and use your jetpack to hover for a little bit. That’s pretty much all you need to know in terms of controls. There are some upgrades you can get, such as having a stronger weapon or being able to float for slightly longer, but in general, the entire game is focused around how good you are at moving, jumping and shooting mud monsters. It is expected out of any platformer to have good control feel, and this game truly delivers. Playing the game feels tight and responsive and never feels like it’s the game screwing up whenever I get killed. Just like in the previous game, the controls work just fine and will never be a problem for you when playing.

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Complex Simplicity

Clearly, it is not the most complex game in the world, but that ends up working in its favor. The game is set up to take you straight to the action as soon as possible, but still allowing you to beat whatever levels you want at your own pace. Very similar to the first game, you beginning in a hub area where you are allowed to choose which world and what level within it you want to play, rather than most games that will tend to feed you levels through a linear path. Think Megaman, but with mud monsters instead of robots. I think this feature is great, since there have been many times I’ve gotten tired of dying in the same parts of a level over and over again that being able to easily exit and choose another level was a breath of fresh air that prevented me from putting the game down out of frustration.

Speaking of frustration, the game now has an integrated death counter, which is a fun little stat that clearly communicates what kind of game we are dealing with here. This counter can be seen after you die and get a little screen that asks you if you wish to retry or quit. I’m not super fond of this little screen, since it gives me time to stop and think about maybe giving up, when I think it would’ve been better to just immediately keep playing after a death, with the death counter showing in the corner. If there is ever any moment where I want to quit, I will pause the game and do so. There is no need for the game to constantly keep asking me if I want to try again every single time I die, for I think it completely breaks the flow of the game. Could you imagine if Super Meat Boy had the same menu pop up every single time you died? Try and visualize that and you’ll see what I mean. The point I’m trying to make is that the game could’ve done a better job than it already has in bringing you back into the action, making for a better flowing experience.

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Hurts So Good

However, this complaint is merely myself reaching for something to give constructive criticism on, since I’ve been having a pretty tough time pointing out anything that’s “wrong” about the game. I guess it’s a little disappointing that most of the environments are the same as the last game, but that didn’t really bother me at all. I’ve also been constantly mentioning the difficulty and how much I agonize about it, but I’ve actually been having a blast. Not only is it fun to beat the levels, but also it is equally so in replaying them in order to collect medals scattered and hidden all over the place. There are also some extra, hidden levels within these that are, you guessed it, way more difficult than the main level. These are also really fun, but require a good degree of patience if you want to find all of the medals and make it out alive.

There are also some boss battles in the game, but they are very difficult to get to, since you need to have found and beaten everything in all the levels of one world to have access to them. When you do get there, the bosses felt more like puzzles than they did actual fights. It almost felt like when you fight someone in Dark Souls, where you don’t charge at the enemy, but rather you stop and think about where to hit them without dying after a couple of hits.

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Ain’t Broke? Don’t Fix It! Just Make It Harder…

Aside from that, there really isn’t much else to say about the game, other than the fact that it is still just as good as the previous one. If you were already a fan of Mutant Mudds, then I can assure that you will have a lot of fun with this new installment as well. However, for any newcomers out there, this might be a little much. In this case, I suggest that these people go play the original Mutant Mudds, get a feel for the controls, the enemies and the difficulty curve. After that, you are more than ready to take a deep dive into Super Challenge, since the game goes into it assuming that you’ve seen this song and dance before. In terms of platform, I recommend getting this on PS Vita. That’s the version I played for this review and proved to be a really fast, fun experience that was easy to pick up and play whenever I wanted. On top of that, this game has cross-buy, so if you purchase the Vita version, you’ll also get a copy for PS4, so it’s a tough deal to reject. Either way, it’s still the same ol’ Mutant Mudds as always, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

A copy of Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge for PlayStation Vita was provided by Renegade Kid for this review.

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