By Alex Irish / December 20th, 2017
|Title||Mutant Mudds Collection|
|Release Date||December 14 2017|
When it first came out in 2012, Mutant Mudds quickly became my personal favorite 3DS digital game. It was a refreshing mixture of a unique platform puzzler with a retro aesthetic. Flash forward five years later, and it has been collected into a newly remastered Mutant Mudds Collection for the Nintendo Switch. A union of the original game’s Deluxe edition, its Super Challenge sequel, and the all-new puzzle game Mudd Blocks, this collection offers plenty of value for both returning veterans and newcomers alike.
Mutant Mudds has been around the block in these last five years. After starting on 3DS, the series has appeared in various permutations on Wii U, PlayStation Vita and PS4, mobile, and PC. As the scrappy Max, you traverse a multitude of platforming challenges while blowing up mud monsters with a water cannon, collecting diamonds along the way. You’ll have to navigate across multiple background planes and use a jet pack to hover over dangerous pits.
As you complete levels and earn more diamonds, Max can be outfitted with upgrades that augment his abilities and help to unlock hidden sub-levels in every area. It starts out reasonable but quickly ups the challenge to hair-pulling degrees of difficulty. Despite the difficulty curve, it’s a highly addictive structure that encourages that “one more level” feeling driving you to nab 100% completion. It’s all sugar-coated with whimsical pixel art and a killer retro soundtrack of jam-worthy tunes.
Mutant Mudds Collection starts off with the enhanced Mutant Mudds Deluxe, an upgrade on the 3DS version originally released on Wii U in 2013. Compared to the original, it includes even more levels and the ability to play as Max’s grandma (all of which was ported back to 3DS afterwards). 2016’s Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge is very much like the first game, but much harder. It’s the equivalent to Super Mario Bros.’ Lost Levels, the much-harder remix of its predecessor that tests the might of its veteran players. Being designed for Mutant Mudds veterans, you will die much more than in the first. As a special bonus, Super Challenge does include a death counter this time.
Besides the usual diamonds to collect, Super Challenge ups the ante with unlockable music tracks and 20 playable characters to find. These characters are much harder to find, as they’re placed in locations and coves you’d never think to look. Also new to Super Challenge are boss fights, which are almost as hard as the hardest levels in each world.
Playing Mutant Mudds Collection on the Switch marks the first time I’ve personally experienced the series on a platform other than 3DS. Comparing the first two games on 3DS to this Switch collection, you of course get a higher resolution that affords much-needed real estate. On 3DS in comparison, the view is much more squashed in, a necessity made by the smaller screen size while needing to preserve the core art. Seeing more of the stage on Switch without sacrificing the crisp pixel art means you’re less likely to die from a cheap death. Whether you’re on the TV or portable, both games look great.
One major omission is present and that’s stereoscopic 3D. The use of 3D in the 3DS games was a perfect use of the hardware and Mutant Mudds felt like it was designed around this critical feature. 3D aided in the level’s depth perception in relation to what layer Max is standing on. Here, the different layers you’re not standing on get a blur effect. It’s not quite as useful (or novel) as proper 3D, but it’s a favorable compromise.
To make up for the lack of 3D, Switch players now have an HD Rumble effect, and it’s one of the best uses of the feature on the system. You’ll feel every rat-a-tat of your water gun, a strong shudder when you die, and the distant rumble of stone enemies smacking the ground among other effects. This creates an immersion effect Mutant Mudds never had before, and is the kind of HD Rumble other Switch games should follow the example of. Controls are highly configurable too, capturing that feeling of playing this post-modern game on an elderly console or Amiga PC.
The one genuinely new surprise for returning players is the all-new puzzle game Mudd Blocks. It’s not just a simple match-3 puzzler. While you do drop various colored mud beings, the real story are the orbs, which are needed to explode those matching blocks in its proximity. Some orbs even explode in your hands if not properly disposed of. You will want to match similar colored monsters though as orbs can chain them for more points. If the mud monsters reach the top line, it’s game over for Max.
Besides the default Endless Mode, Atooi beefed up Mudd Blocks with multiplayer, time attack, and a rescue mode where you play as Grandma having to rescue an imprisoned Max through narrowing down a countdown meter to release him. No matter the mode, you’re granted great flexibility in how to play, best shown in a tablet-style when playing portable, and the option to play entirely with touch controls. Playing portable with touch controls may be the most optimal way to experience this puzzler. Don’t think it’s a throwaway mode; Mudd Blocks offers enough combo and chain-making addictive fun to keep me coming back to improve my score.
If you’ve already played Mutant Mudds to death, should you re-buy them on the Switch? That’s dependent on how much you want to replay them again, especially if you’ve bought it on the multiple platforms it’s been on in the last five years. The two Mutant Mudds platformers offers lots of replay value and worthwhile Switch updates such as HD Rumble and high resolution visuals whether on the TV or on the go, while Mudd Blocks is a surprisingly fun addition you probably weren’t expecting much out of. If you’re brand new to the series, the Mutant Mudds Collection offers three fantastic, challenging games for a reasonable price. Played it or not, it’s another great addition to the Switch eShop.
Review code provided by developer
AtooiMutant Mudds CollectionRenegade Kid