Mutant Mudds Deluxe instilled in me a sense of nostalgia from the very beginning of its catchy chiptune soundtrack, and it didn’t let up until I curled into a ball and wished for my childhood back. Renegade Kid’s game, available on 3DS, PC and iOS, brings retro into the modern day with simple gameplay, bright, varied levels and an interesting depth-switching mechanic.
In true retro style, there isn’t too much messing about before the gamer gets right into the 8-bit action, shooting and jet-packing their way through a selection of levels. That’s what the people want, and Renegade Kid delivers. Aliens come to Earth, and, as Max, the protagonist, it is my job to get rid of them. Sorted.
Each level contains a guaranteed mix; platforms, depth, enemies and coins.
The variety of platforms change between levels, but one aspect remains the same – they’re all beautifully 8-bit, and provide challenge even without the creatures that trudge along them. There are the regular grassy greens of the beginning levels, ice, lava and even ghost levels.
Platforms move, disappear, and generally attempt to kill you, so it pays to stay on guard.
Onto Mutant Mudd Deluxe’s secret weapon; its depth. I’m not talking depth in terms of narrative or gameplay – the game is simple in the best kind of way – but actual depth. There are multiple layers to each level, which the gamer is able to jump between at certain points. For the majority of the game Max will be occupying the middle ground, but now and then will jump into the background or foreground to progress or for the sole purpose of collecting coins. This is fun to do, fun to see, and also wraps up something original in a charmingly retro package.
However, these are rather forgiving, so it’s all too easy to jump right back in and try again.Misjudge a moving platform, or fall through as one disappears, and Max may find himself welcomed by spikes below, taking the gamer back to a checkpoint. However, these are rather forgiving, so it’s all too easy to jump right back in and try again.
My only problem with this depth-jumping ability was that I sometimes found it slightly difficult to differentiate between the layers, especially when there were things happening on each. I’m told that the original 3DS version of Mutant Mudd made this clearer, but others aren’t quite perfect in this respect.
In a game where even touching an enemy will remove health, it is definitely an issue, but it certainly wasn’t enough to decrease my enjoyment in any way.
The enemies add further challenge, and come in many shapes and sizes; all made of mutant mud, of course. Strangely, until I’d actually written that last sentence, I hadn’t even made the connection. There are tiny creatures need to be shot while crouching, large flying blobs that often need to be destroyed or avoided before they knock you from a perch, and even blobs with shields and swords – among others. These sword-and-shield ‘Mudds’ were probably most to blame for my frequent deaths, and yet I still couldn’t help but think they were cool. Must be the sword.
Just as cool is the 100 collectibles of each level – golden diamonds – which are a sure way to keep players putting their jetpack skills to the test. If certain jumps are not timed correctly, diamonds may be missed, and the OCD hoarder inside will whisper insults until the level is restarted and every coin is collected. Or maybe that’s just me?
All in all, Mutant Mudds Deluxe brings good old-fashioned enjoyment, with a few extras added since the original Mutant Mudds game. Though there probably isn’t enough new content here to warrant purchasing Deluxe if you have already played through Mutant Mudds, it is a perfect way to save the world from mutant mud-creatures for the very first time.
The narrative is set, though doesn’t take over the experience, and Max is left to the jet-packing, jumping and shooting delights. Whether through personal trial and error, or confusion during depth-switching madness, death won’t keep anyone down for long. No matter how annoyed a gamer may feel, they know they’re coming back for more, even if it’s just for the delightful chiptune soundtrack.
- Depth-switching mechanic
- Retro fun
- Great soundtrack
- Depth confusion
- Little new content