I am continually fascinated by posts on Miiverse. One of the first things I did when I got my hands on Mutant Mudds Deluxe was see what the community was saying about it. It’s very surprising to me that many haven’t heard about this game (and the success it’s found on 3DS, PC and other platforms). Longtime readers of the site know I have no shortage of praise to offer Renegade Kid. And I’m certainly glad the majesty of Mutant Mudds is finding its way to yet another group of hardcore gamers.
But… I’m going to hazard a guess and assume most people reading this have heard of Mutant Mudds, and know there’s fun to be had. The goal of this review isn’t to reiterate the same points I’ve made elsewhere; it’s to describe what makes Mutant Mudds Deluxe unique compared to the other versions out there. There’s way more to tell than you might think. If you’re on the fence about making a second (or possibly third or fourth) purchase—this one’s for you:
Let’s get missed opportunities out of the way.
First of all, the Leaderboards exclusive to the PC version of the game are not present in the Wii U Version. This means time still clocks down instead of adding up, and Deluxe sorely misses an opportunity to compete with other users on Miiverse. Watsham has said Leaderboards couldn’t be added to the DS version because things would have to be retooled, but… it’s kind of odd such a unique feature wasn’t added to the console version (which had to be retooled to some extent to wind up on the Wii U, of course). I think Leaderboards would have really helped make Deluxe the definitive version of the game.
I’ve also seen people turned off because the 3D effects from the original version are sorely missed. There haven’t been any additional graphical tweaks besides those I’ve already noted in the PC version. Some of the backgrounds and foregrounds produce a bit of a blur effect on Wii U. I assume this effect is only present to give players a better sense of where Max is, since there are so many layers to each individual level. It is wonderful to see Renegade Kid’s artistry in high definition, but…methinks anyone who owns the PC version of the game won’t notice much of a difference. Those of you jumping from 3DS to Wii U, however, will be very pleased with the results.
Onto fundamentals that set this version apart.
Mutant Mudds Deluxe is playable on the Wii U Gamepad. It’s also fully functional in off-TV play. And hey, you can use the Wii U Pro Controller as well! That’s the primary way I blasted through the game again. I have to say, it was refreshing to use a controller to play through Mutant Mudds. The experience just felt a little tighter with an actual controller, to me. All input modes were competent, though, so it really boils down to personal preference.
I saw another Miiverse quote that made me raise an eyebrow. “I hated the 3DS version; I thought it was too hard.” I suppose a lot of people found Mutant Mudds’ difficulty unsettling, but Renegade Kid has an answer for those folks! Checkpoints have been added to all levels of Mutant Mudds. The twenty normal levels, the secret levels, the Grannie levels, and even the new Ghost levels that I’ll get into a little later…they all have fairly placed checkpoints. You return to the checkpoint when you die, and the Water Sprites you collected up to that point are saved.
I love the placement of them, personally. They’re always right before those particularly agonizing points in the levels, allowing you to try again ‘til your heart’s content without the added frustration of recollecting your Water Sprites or trying not to get hit again. It made my burden as a reviewer a little lighter, but… as far as personal tastes go, I’ll probably play with the checkpoints off in the future. And you can do it that way, too. Checkpoints can be turned on and off at any point from the hub worlds. The crutch is there if you need it, and it’ll hopefully bring folks who thought the game might be a little too hard around for more.
Mutant Mudds Deluxe has a ghost problem.
There were twenty Grannie levels offered as a former exclusive for the PC version and free DLC for the 3DS version. They were fantastic, but they didn’t fundamentally change the gameplay of Mutant Mudds at all. So I can understand the skeptics out there who don’t think these twenty new ghost levels are enough to warrant a(nother) purchase of the game on Wii U. And not only that, but you could only access these new levels after 100%ing the original game, which many could never do.
Here’s the first bit of good news, along with a bit of exposition: each ghost level is accessible after completing the corresponding normal level. Because the ghost level is meant to be a sort of “bizzaro” version of the original level (you access the Ghost World by walking through a mirror, after all), it’s accessible as soon as you beat the level it corresponds with. Don’t be mistaken, however—these levels are new designs that are inspired by the original twenty. Certain aspects of the level remain, but they’re usually the most difficult parts of it. There’s also new music for these ghost levels (and their hub world) that maintains the greatness of the rest of the original soundtrack. I was able to access the first ghost level after beating the first normal one. So… you don’t have to wait forever or accomplish herculean tasks to access the new content.
The second bit: these levels do manage to throw a rather large wrench into the conventions of Mutant Mudds. The ghost Mudds can’t be hurt, which means it becomes a game of avoidance, which means you’re probably going to die/rely upon those handy checkpoints… a lot. Hoo, boy. Those crazy Mudds that shoot bullets at you, or the ones with a sword and shield that you hastily kill before they kill you? You can’t hurt them. So you scramble like a madman to avoid them, instead.
But…wait. You can hurt them. There’s an item you can pick up (they’re strategically placed within each level) that gives you the power to destroy, but…your ammo is limited to 10 shots. These levels are a shade on the cruel side, though. I’ll offer an example. There was a Mudd with the sword and shield that I took out with 4/10 bullets. I killed a shooting Mudd with three more of my bullets. But then I needed four bullets to take out the huge Mudd blocking my path to the exit. I ran out, so… I died.
Yeah, ammo conservation in Mutant Mudds is a thing. It made for some crazy situations; I had a lot of fun. Did I mention the Ghost Mudds regenerate after you kill them? How ‘bout a little anxiety to go along with your ammo conservation?
Hopefully I’ve communicated that these aren’t just your typical Grannie levels. These new ghost levels offer something fundamentally different to Mutant Mudds, and they truly helped make this version great, in my eyes. Unfortunately, there’s no real reward for triumphing over them, but… Mutant Mudds has always been about the journey, to me.
It’s Mutant Mudds again. That $9.99 asking price isn’t competitive with any other versions of the game. It’s simply another version of the same game. The 3DS version has a more portable nature and 3D effects. The PC version has Leaderboards, but is somewhat held back by keyboard controls. And Mutant Mudds Deluxe has everything you could want in the Renegade Kid classic (except Leaderboards), plus a truly game-changing experience on top of it.
If these new levels were shades of mediocrity, I’d advise against making the jump. But… they’re really, really fun. And considering they’re going to remain exclusive to Mutant Mudds Deluxe—there’s your draw, ladies and gentlemen. I realize I may not convince some of you (and justifiably so, since it’s not exactly a wealth of content for the same asking price). I think what I’ve just said is why I can’t give this game a perfect score, too. There’s just not enough changes to deem this version the definitive one. But if you’re on the fence… I truly believe Deluxe is worth owning, if only to contemplate breaking your $40 Wii U Pro Controller when you’re right near the end of a level and that one aggravating Ghost Mudd regenerates right on top of you.
Review Code provided by Renegade Kid.