Mushroom 11 (PC) Review

By Thom Compton 27.01.2016

Review for Mushroom 11 on PC

It's kind of a running joke. Indie games are always platformers. Fortunately, over the years, that stereotype has been challenged time and time again. Still, they have a tendency to gravitate back to platformers, and who can blame them. Aside from shmups, it's probably the easiest genre to make, which could be why Mushroom 11 is so bizarre. It must have been a complicated project to work on, and yet, it's not entirely a platformer. After a glowing hands-on preview before release, it's time to see how the final game shaped up...

A lot of people say that it's lazy to explain something by comparing it to other things, but Mushroom 11 definitely begs for it, at least in the art department. It combines the paper-esque, DIY art style of And Yet it Moves with a simple, gritty beauty like that found in Machinarium. Okay, comparison hour is over.

Regardless, it's beautiful. The fluid animation is absolutely gorgeous, and the levels are dripping with an eerie aesthetic that showcases the world perfectly, a world that is clearly in the middle of a cataclysmic event that is leaving it in a shambles, and the art is ideal for that.

Playing Mushroom 11 is fairly simple: using the mouse, parts of the titular mushroom must be erased, effectively causing it to grow in the opposite direction. It's hard to deny that it's fun, at first. Watching the mushroom move forward is magically mysterious and is one of, arguably, the most interesting game mechanics to grace the genre in a while.

Screenshot for Mushroom 11 on PC

This, of course, adds to the puzzle aspect. Figuring out how to manipulate the mushroom is clearly the intention, and it's where the game starts to lose some of its charm. While this definitely falls into the "sublimely fun to figure out once it's solved" category of puzzlers, the answer is often too trial-and-error to be enjoyable. Quickly dashing across rooftops is exhilarating, yet it comes to a point where moving isn't as simple as erasing the mushroom. There's clearly a formula at play, and it seems a bit too easy to miss, and, frankly, hard to predict, in order to continue being a blast.

The soundtrack is pretty simple, yet not in a bad or good way. The sci-fi, almost small, orchestral soundtrack is pleasing, but it does little to jump out and strike the senses. As interesting as the gameplay can be, and as brilliant as the artwork is, this music aspect does merely falls flat.

Where does this leave Mushroom 11, then? It's stunning in the art department and very interesting, if not cumbersome, in the gameplay stakes. The music is never bad, nor is it stand-out. The controls are definitely amusing, but the random movements the mushroom tends to make really detracts from the fun. Mushroom 11 isn't a chore to play, so much as it's frustrating trying to get to the moments of excitement. While some will find enjoyment in slowly figuring out the gameplay on the fly, it can often feel too random to really grow on many others.

Screenshot for Mushroom 11 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Mushroom 11 manages to be a fun experience overall, despite a few shortcomings. While there are parts that may prevent a second playthrough due to a higher than expected amount of trial-and-error, it still hits the right spot the majority of the time. At the end of the day, its interesting concept and relatively good execution carry it, ultimately leaving what is actually one of the best puzzle-platformers to come out of the indie scene in recent times.

Developer

Untame

Publisher

Untame

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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