Mutant Mudds Super Challenge PC Review
Challenging and fun
Plenty of variety and secrets
Huge amount of content
Incredibly difficult, not for the faint of heart
Not much room for creativity
Mutant Mudds Super Challenge is hard. Damn hard. Levels are expertly crafted to infuriate both the hardcore and casual gamer in the name of fun. Still, it takes more than simple challenge to round out a SNES-inspired platformer and developer Renegade Kid is well-aware of it; the game world is packed with secrets, collectibles, enemy types, characters, bonus levels, and more – much more. The experience took me back to the same amazement and feeling of discovery I felt when I first played Super Mario World.
I’m pretty terrible at platformers though I don’t let that stifle my appreciation for the genre. Having said that, I’m even worse at Mutant Mudds. I couldn’t even achieve end-game – give me a few weeks. Luckily, the game lets you select levels at your own discretion, gating only the final level in each world and the final 5th world, giving me a chance to glimpse a majority of the mechanics on offer. And let me tell you, between enemy variations, icy walkways, spike pits, moving platforms, and so on, every level ate me alive like a perfect death machine. Every level has a deliberate counter to every playstyle. Take a level slowly and carefully, you might get crushed by a moving platform while considering your next course of action. Trying to run a level before you’ve mastered and memorized it and a perfectly timed obstacle will be there to swipe your feet out from under you.
You play as Max a retro nerd who, armed with a jetpack and water gun, sets out to clean up an invasion of mutated mudd creatures spawned from a fallen meteorite. There are ghost mudds, flying mudds, cloud mudds, and some absolutely devastating three-phase mudd bosses. The world 1 boss, i.e. B-1, set in a restrictive pit, buds into smallers mudds that roam like gumbas as he takes fire from Max, returning larger with every phase. The ghost boss in world B-4 can only be affected by special, limited water gun pickup; players must collect the temporary upgrade, survive a gambit of smaller ghost mudds while conserving ammo, and finally reach the mudd boss with enough ammo to land a shot on him before they’re sent back to the start of an entirely different gambit. And you have to do this three times! It can feel insurmountable at times, even while you can withstand three hits from enemies. Luckily, players don’t have to worry about collectible lives and are instead treated to a game-long death tally to remind them of their perpetual incompetence.
Every world features a hidden portal to an alternate world with its own design and obstacles, practically doubling the amount of tedium before you achieve completion. Despite the clear aptitude of level designers, some levels feel as though they were too perfectly designed – that there’s only a single way to play them with little to no room for creativity. Playing this way can be a rewarding experience, especially when you take the time to memorize a level then properly perform, but makes it easy to succumb to frustration. Dark Souls, to make a loose comparison, has its enemies well-placed and exhibiting regular behavior patterns that must be learned and countered; the actual way players can go about countering can vary based on character builds and playstyles, allowing room for player expression and style. It’s an altogether different experience but a comparison I feel worth noting. If you don’t already have a reason to throw your controller at the wall, this is the one.
The different game worlds look fantastic in HD on the PS4, featuring crisp edges and a smooth, high framerate. Worlds are pleasantly varied, featuring distinct color schemes, enemy designs, and terrain that evoke moods and atmosphere to line up with their accompanying challenges. Most areas also include layered environments that have you jumping back and forth from foreground and distant background platforms – I imagine this could look great on the 3DS. The musical accompaniment to each world is also top tier, recalling classic harmonies and modes to represent different worlds but also featuring memorable original melodies.
This is the game that you’ll call your friends over to play so you can take turns dying. To keep it simple, Mutant Mudds Super Challenge is fantastic and a great value. At a launch price of $9.99, it’ll bring you enough challenge, frustration, content, and replayability to last you 15+ hours. You might want to start saving up for a new controller while you’re at it.