The age of retro 8 bit platformers has long since past us by. However if you are a fan of the indie scene as well as into downloading games off the various digital networks you might think otherwise. There has certainly been a comeback for the retro game as of late and you can see that in both old and new. People are discovering long forgotten classics that they missed out on back in the day and developers are making brand new games in the retro style to capture that nostalgia we all felt playing games as youngsters. It is one of those games that we are looking at today in Mutant Mudds Deluxe.
Mutant Mudds Deluxe is brought to us by Renegade Kid who gained fame with their release of Dementium: The Ward on DS. Why are you calling it Mutant Mudds Deluxe? Well, the game was originally released on the 3DS eShop and the deluxe version adds ghost versions of every single main campaign level. It’s really quite a bit of content that will take you quite a bit of time to get through as the ghost levels are much more difficult than the regular levels in the main game.
I’ll admit that I was a bit concerned going into this game on PS3. One of the main things that made the original release so enjoyable was how well it used the 3D on the 3DS. I’ve found the problem with the 3D feature of the 3DS is that I always leave it turned off and rarely use the feature and part of this problem is because there are few games that actually take advantage of the feature and use it in creative ways. This was one of the best uses of the feature the system has seen yet in it’s lifetime.
The 3D was used to such good effect because one of the main game mechanics is the ability to go into the background and foreground at certain points in the levels. As you popped into the foreground it really looked like you were hopping out of the screen on the 3DS version and the background benefited equally by the 3D giving you a true sense of distance. Unfortunately I did miss this feature in the PS3 version but after a while of playing I totally forgot about it. They actually added the Deluxe content to the 3DS version so if you are looking to pick up the game you have to choose whether you want the increased resolution of the PS3 version or the very well done 3D effect of the 3DS version.
As for the game itself, well, it’s pretty bare bones, but I mean that in a good way. This is a classic style retro platformer/action game. There is very little story to speak of here, just the various levels to challenge you. You are armed with what I guess is a water bazooka type thing that you use to take on the various mud monsters that have infected your world. The enemies start off very simple and escalate in toughness just as they should.
The problem I found though was that the enemy types are very limited so you don’t get that feeling of seeing something new and interesting to kill that often. Thankfully there are tons of traps to maneuver around which is all for the better since this game is clearly more focused on the platforming as opposed to the combat.
Which leads me to Perhaps the most crucial element to your equipment which is a jet pack that you can use to hover and give yourself some extra length on a jump. You will be using this on just about every jump and there are times when you will have to nimbly maneuver your jump over a pit of spikes and then back onto a platform to collect an item/token.
As you go throughout the levels there are 100 tokens per level to collect and each level during the main game has an alternate exit/world to go in. These alternate worlds are really a treat as they are living retro homages. You have virtual levels that are all in red, greyscale levels like the game boy, as well as DOS themed levels. Besides the striking visual designs in these levels you will certainly notice the huge increase in difficulty. These levels are very challenging and feature the trickiest platforming you will have to do in the entire game.
These extra exits also force you to make use of the games upgrade system as they are usually in out of reach places. There are really only 3 upgrades in the game. You get an upgrade to your bazooka which allows your shot to cover the length of the screen as well as fire more rapidly. You can get increased hover power for your jetpack and you can also get an increased vertical jump which sends you flying into the air. You will need to use these to access the secret exits and the increased jumping abilities can really help you out in some of the games more tricky platforming sequences. I usually always kept one of the jumping upgrades with me since I found them much more useful than the weapon upgrade as that one didn’t increase your power at all oddly enough.
After you complete the main game the deluxe content kicks in and you will unlock the ghost versions of the main quest levels that you completed. As I mentioned earlier in this review these are considerably more difficult and not only will you have to use all the skills you mastered during the main game but this deluxe content also throws some new tricks into the fold.
The enemies in these ghost levels can not be harmed by normal means so you will find yourself putting all your jumping skills to the test to avoid them and run as opposed to fighting. This was quite an interesting change as I spent the entire main game just blasting everything I saw. There are weapons you can pick up to harm the enemies in these levels but they have limited ammo and there are areas where you pretty much have to use them to advance so you can’t really use it to rambo your way through like in the main game.
Retro is clearly the theme here and that goes right down to the graphics and the sounds. The game features beautiful sprites complete with pixalized goodness and the music is like an old style chip tune orchestra. It’s really great stuff and if you are anything like me these songs will get stuck in your head.
So that is really all there is, honestly, there really isn’t that much to say about this game but that is probably the best praise I could possibly shower upon it. This is pure retro goodness just like we remember. There are no half hour long cut scenes, convoluted RPG elements, or over complicated upgrade system to keep you away from the action.
With the rise in retro popularity so many of these new games capture the look and feel of retro games but they fail to capture the heart. Games back then were all about getting through extremely tough levels with pinpoint controls, at least on the good ones, while listening to classic music. This game does all of that to near perfection and would honestly not look out of place in 1988.