Mutant Mudds - Nintendo 3DS

I can’t help but wonder if there is a game on the WiiWare or DSiWare service that has sold literally zero copies. There almost has to be right? Especially at this point. If not zero copies then there has to be at least a few that have only sold a few dozen. It’s a shame because of those services did show promise but now have been relegated to weekly ridicule.

I really hope that 3DSware does not eventually encounter the same fate because it is off to a ridiculously strong start. In recent weeks we’ve been given Pushmo, VVVVVV, Mighty Switch Force, Zen Pinball and the one we’re here to talk about, Mutant Mudds.

I will admit I was unfamiliar with this one right up until the morning of its release. One look at a couple of screenshots however and I was immediately intrigued. Mutant Mudds is an homage to the 8 and 16-bit era (the developers actually refer to this game as being 12-bit), with pixilated graphics and classic, old school platforming action. The mechanics are simple. You can jump, shoot your gun, and use a jetpack to hover in the air for a short period. You get upgrades later on but these are basically the only actions that you have to worry about. Many of the levels also allow you to jump into the foreground and background, much like Wario Land on the Virtual Boy, a game I’m sure at least .6% of you are familiar with.

As with the best of the 2D side scrolling genre, Mutant Mudds gives you a few basic mechanics, but then crafts fantastic levels around them. Things start off slowly and for a while I was concerned the game was going to be a breeze. That concern was brutally murdered by about the second world when the hover mechanic is given room to shine. By that point you’ll be hovering through spiked walls and ceilings and timing your actions on vanishing platforms, all the while dealing with harder and harder enemies. It’s a perfect difficulty curve, introducing you to the mechanics gradually so that by the time shit gets raw, you are more than prepared for it. Though fair warning, you will still die many, many, many, many, many times before the game is done. If you even get to that point as I have heard from several people who flat out gave up at a certain point.

Personally I never found it got to that point. The game controls great so any error is due to your own mistakes and you would never be able to fault the game itself. It’s challenging sure, but nothing ever feels impossible. You keep going because you know next time you will nail it. Plus the levels are about 2 minutes long on average so having to start from the beginning never becomes a chore, at least I never found it to. I’m not the greatest at video games and I was able to do everything there is to do in this game so come on guys buck up, you can do it! Go for your goals! Reach for your dreams!

Mutant Mudds kicks off with 20 levels, spread out over five different worlds. In each level are 100 water crystals to collect, which add extra challenge as some of them are off the beaten path and require some pretty deft maneuvering. Thankfully you don’t have to collect them all in one go and if you beat a stage with 90/100, when you reload it you’ll still only have the remaining 10 left to get. Each of these stages also contains a hidden secret stage which can only be uncovered by using the power-ups you can buy with your collected water crystals. These stages are styled after Game Boy and Virtual Boy stages and are also where the game shows no mercy whatsoever. The secret stages are often shorter than the regular stages, but filled to the grim with constant threats of death. They’re very challenging but again, always feel manageable. As you can see, plenty to do before you will be ready to set Mutant Mudds down.

I also found this to be one of the best examples of 3D on the 3DS so far. Side scrollers always seem to work the best (Mighty Switch Force being another example of this) and here it’s made extra impressive by the ability to hop into different plains of field. It’s difficult to explain but trust me, you’re going to want to see this one in action.

Mutant Mudds carries a higher price tag than normal at 8.99 but I found it to be well worth it. Getting 100% in this game will take you some time and it’s just so much god damn fun. I played through this in several marathon sessions, never wanting to put it down. No lie, I debated canceling a social outing just so I could keep going. You think I’m proud of that?! But that’s the kind of grip this game will get on you man! 3DS owners have no excuse not to check this one out.