Mutant Mudds Deluxe (PC) Review

By Rudy Lavaux 25.01.2014

Review for Mutant Mudds Deluxe on PC

The Mutant Mudds project, brainchild of Renegade Kid - the small studio that supported the DS with its first-person horror series, Dementium - has come a long way now. Originally shown off as a 3D third-person shooter for the original Nintendo DS at E3 2009, the project failed to attract the attention of potential publishers as a retail product and failed to see the light of day on DSiWare as well. Fast-forward to 2011 and it was revealed as a side-scrolling platform game with shooting elements included. At first it was for the Nintendo 3DS, then eventually ported to the Wii U eShop as Mutant Mudds Deluxe, and finally released on Steam and, now, even on PlayStation 3. The Steam version is the one that's just about to be reviewed!

As was the case in the original, Mutant Mudds Deluxe sees little hero, Max, fighting off the muddy Mutant Mudds from outer space that are invading his planet. He does this helped solely by his jet pack and water gun. Saving the world is as simple as visiting every single stage in the game to collect every Water Sprite waiting at the end. New stages unlock depending on how many have already been cleared, meaning that if a certain stage is proving a bit too challenging, it may be skipped over in favour of another one and left for later, which is convenient for fighting off the frustration of repetitive deaths on one single hard spot.

Each level contains one entrance to secondary - kind of "secret" stages - that present a higher challenge and have to be beaten in order to fully complete the game, which can only be reached using certain power-ups that Max can purchase in exchange for diamonds. Where does one find these diamonds? In the stages themselves, of course! Each holds a hundred of them and the game keeps track of each single one that Max has collected. Max, however, cannot stack those power-ups and can only carry one at a time, meaning that exploring the stages multiple times - coming back with the right power-up - will be required in order to fully complete the game. This is a nice feature, kind of reminiscent of the Metroid games, but with a different sort of vibe.

Screenshot for Mutant Mudds Deluxe on PC

The game proves quite challenging, though. Reaching certain platforms can be a trial in itself as Max can't jump very high. His jet pack can't hover for very long, and enemies tend to be in the way at all times and require lots of hits from the water gun to be defeated. What makes it even harder is that Max can only shoot horizontally and the shots from the regular water gun don't reach very far either. All these points combined make the game quite challenging - perhaps a little bit too challenging, actually. It gets better once Max gets access to at least one power-up, either allowing him to hover for a longer time, or to rocket his way upwards out of danger, or for his shots to gain a better range, on top of the ability to break through otherwise unbreakable yellow blocks. That's when the game suddenly becomes much more fun and enjoyable!

The level design of the stages itself remains quite plain throughout. Therefore, don't expect anything to truly impress - whether it's artistically or technically - but, as expected, the fun of the game comes more from the exploration and challenging platforming than from the visuals. The music itself is truly nice, though, and very reminiscent of the cheerful quirky 8-bit games from the staff's childhood - although the graphics look perhaps a bit more 16-bit due to the higher amount of colours used.

The main thing of interest in Mutant Mudds, and what sets it apart from other retro-looking games on the market, is its depth of field element. Originally a 3DS game, it used the stereoscopic 3D effect of the console to give of a true feel of the depth at which every 2D plan of the game sits in the scene. Indeed, Max has the ability to jump forward to the foreground, or towards the background, far into the distance. On the 3DS, it was easy to perceive this thanks to the auto-stereoscopic screen built into the machine, but since not all TVs or PC monitors come with the ability to display 3D, this was replaced by a depth-of-field blur effect in the Wii U and Steam versions. This works well to give the right sense so that it can be played normally, but it removes some of the fun that came from it on the 3DS.

What is, however, part of the package on Steam, which wasn't originally in the 3DS iteration, are 20 exclusive stages where the player takes control of the grandma of the protagonist, who has the convenient ability of combining all power-ups at once, opening doors to even more complex level design ideas. However, while that would have made the Steam version perhaps more worthwhile, those 20 levels are now available on 3DS as well thanks to a free update, so all versions offer the same content, making everyone happy. The Steam version is, as one would expect, compatible with keyboard controls, Xbox 360 controllers, and should support any generic PC joypad on the market. Cubed3 tried it out with a European Club Nintendo SNES Controller (which is, in reality, a disguised Wii Classic Controller) connected wirelessly to the PC through the Bluetooth of the Wii Remote, and it played like a charm!

Screenshot for Mutant Mudds Deluxe on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

While the gameplay may be fairly simple, and the controls not so convenient in the first few minutes of the game, until the main character finds his first upgrade, Mutant Mudds Deluxe still remains loads of fun to play, showing the world once again that pretty graphics and overly complex controls are not necessary to make a fun game. The Steam version allows players to appreciate the game with the greatest variety of control methods possible, and to play it on a larger screen than the 3DS version, but the most interesting aspect of the original - the stereoscopic 3D - is obviously absent and the portability is somewhat lost in the process. Furthermore, the exclusive content from the Steam version isn't exclusive anymore as it was reintroduced, for free, to 3DS owners via an update. Therefore, which version to pick up should only really depend on what machines are available to the reader, but the 3DS version should win the vote of those who own both!

Developer

Renegade Kid

Publisher

Renegade Kid

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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