Game: Mutant Mudds Super Challenge
Platform: PlayStation 4, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U and PC
Rating: E for Everyone
Difficulty can be imperative to a video game’s success. If it is too easy gamers will hop off board quickly, thus inciting them to find a new title to spend their time on. However, on the flip side of this, if a game is too hard players will get frustrated, and this will cause them to put the controller down out of anger. Our review this week focuses on Mutant Mudds Super Challenge and its unique focus on difficulty.
A Nonexistent Narrative
I usually like to introduce readers to the game’s narrative in this section. Unfortunately for us, the game, Mutant Mudds hardly has a story to tell. We first meet the protagonist, Max, through a few very brief slideshow-esque cinematic scenes. Max is a geeky, blonde haired child who is tasked with solely facing the Mudd, a band of bizarre creatures that take the form of ghosts, worms, and all manor of flying monsters throughout the game world. This title is the sequel to the Nintendo 3DS’ 2012 release Mutant Mudds. The developer has not focused on the story for their second outing, instead putting all of their time and effort into the difficulty.
Challenge For The Worthy
Super challenge is aptly named. This game is hard; I am talking one of the hardest videos games I have ever touched. The retro connoisseurs among you will undoubtedly scoff at this statement, for you, ladies and gentlemen, have played the likes of Ghosts ‘n Goblins and Castlevania, so I am sure you believe this cutesy 2D side-scroller is nothing new when compared to the hundreds of games that came before it. Certainly this cheerful looking game won’t offer you—the masters of the 80s and 90s video games—a challenge. Well you had better think again. This experience is merciless, making the fabled difficulty of the Dark Souls series seem like a scenic Animal Crossing play-through.
What makes this game so hard? I hear you ask. Its hair-pulling toughness isn’t due to any unfair glitches or overpowered bosses—it is all down to timing. As you jump, shoot, and hover your way throughout over 40 new levels, you will come across jagged spikes, along with many more similar pitfalls. Not only that, the Mudd themselves prove quite the obstacle when jumping from and maneuvering across platforms— this is where the timing comes in. You have to be precise in your jumps, otherwise you may hit a spike, and if that happens it’s all over in one hit. You have to jump, shoot or float at the right moment otherwise its curtains for both you and Max. The problem is that this can take time. The name of the game is trial and error. In each level you will simply experiment with alternative methods of play until something works, until it just clicks. Despite the length of the stages clocking in at only a few minutes, you could spend hours trying to make it through a particularly troubling section.
Mutant Mudds also brings something extremely fresh to the genre: The ability to jump back and fourth between three sections of the background and foreground. Max will either appear large at the front of your screen, or tiny in the backdrop. This game element forces you to change your play and stay vigilant of the enemies lurking between plains.
A Familiar Look
Anybody who has ever played a Sega Genesis or the early Nintendo systems will recognize this game’s aesthetics. Super Challenge clearly draws inspiration from the likes of Super Mario Bros., Megaman, Sonic the Hedgehog, and many more from that era. A comforting nostalgia permeates the colorful levels and the characters residing therein. Whether it’s spooky ghosts, flying creatures dropping bombs, or Max himself, they all exude an 8-bit charm. However, the year is 2016, so gamers accustomed to the big budget titles of today will see Mutants as incredibly dated, but the boys and girls of the 90s will feel right at home.
Mutant Mudds Super Challenge is a product of a bygone age. It takes already challenging games from the 90s and rams up the difficulty. The game is rated E for everyone, but don’t let the family friendly visuals fool you, this game is as tough as nails. Retro gamers of yesteryear will feel right at home, yet players of today will find it hard to connect with the rudimentary graphics and linear gameplay.