Mutant Mudds Deluxe Review (Wii U): “Getting Muddy Shouldn’t Be This Fun”

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Mutant Mudds was a 2D platformer that released for the 3DS back in 2012 by developer Renegade Kid. Over time, the game has seen a rendition for the iOS and Steam. Renegade Kid has now brought the game to Nintendo’s new console, which is also their first title for the Wii U. While the game was intended for play on the 3DS due to its foreground and background transitioning, how does it handle on the Wii U?

Upon booting up the game, you’re quickly introduced to your main character Max relaxing at his house with Grannie, until all of a sudden, a meteor crashes onto the planet. A newscast then appears on the TV that there’s an invasion of mud-like creatures running rampant. From here, you’ll run out and do what you can to put a stop to this infestation. If you’ve never played Mutant Mudds, the mechanics are simple to pickup-and-play. You’ll wield a water cannon and H20-powered jetpack (which shoots out bubbles to propel Max) to help you along your journey. You’ll use the D-Pad or Analog Stick to move Max in the 2D environment, while the Y button will shoot the water gun and the B button will let you jump. Double-tapping the B button will trigger your jetpack to let you hover your way to distant platforms. Careful though, as the jetpack only lasts for a few short seconds and must recharge (which is instant) when you touch the ground. Controls are incredibly simple, responsive and just plain old-school. To provide more comfortability, you can play the game with literally any combination of controllers that the Wii U can read. The Wii U GamePad, Wii U Pro Controller, Wii Remote, Wii Remote with Nunchuk, and Wii Classic Controller are all options for you to play with.

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In the game, there are four levels within five environments: plains, cave, volcanic castle, mountains and outer space. You will have a time limit during each stage, but that never really becomes much of an issue. Throughout the levels, you’ll platform your way to the exit collecting the 100 water sprites littered around and taking out the Mudds. Platforming will take place between three different panes: foreground, mid-ground, and background. You’ll switch between them with the jump pads placed around levels as you try and nab all the water sprites. Your health consists of three hearts…and only three hearts. There are no health items to collect, so being cautious is a must. Thankfully, new to the Wii U version (compared to the 3DS version) is the ability to reach checkpoints in a level. While these might not seem as necessary in the earlier levels, the latter half has you thanking the game for having these implemented. Of course, for the masochist gamers, you can turn checkpoints off when pausing the game while roaming the HUB, basically making the game return to its original 3DS state. Enemies are scattered throughout levels and there are quite a variety to encounter. The game starts off by throwing ground mudds at you that simply move back and forth. As you progress, you’ll take on bigger mudds that shoot eyeballs at you, flying eyeball mudds, flying mudds that drop bombs, micro-sized mudds and warrior mudds (which wield swords and shields).

As you collect water sprites, you can visit Grannie’s Attic in the HUB to acquire a new upgrade for Max to utilize. There are three upgrades you can acquire: a powerup for your water cannon, an extended jetpack meter and a hi-jump ability. You can only choose one of these at a time for use in levels but you’ll unlock them in the order where they’ll become most useful. For example, the extended jetpack meter will become available if you’ve collected all 100 water sprites in the first two worlds, in time for the third world where it’ll be very handy. Some powerups will become more handy in certain levels and makes experimenting with them an interesting component. To make things more adventurous, each level contains a secret area that can be unlocked. However, to unlock these, you’ll need a certain upgrade equipped. Certain paths may be blocked off by a wall, which would require you to have the upgraded water cannon to shoot it down. Others may either be at a higher to reach altitude or farther distance to reach that can only be reached with a specific upgrade.

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Warrior mudds are one of the most difficult enemies to deal with due to their shield and thrust attacks.

If all this wasn’t enough, there’s a mirror in the HUB that when walked through will take Max to an alternate universe. This alternate universe is basically a ghost world of the original areas, where enemies will become transparent and platforms will move, making you have to be on edge to avoid getting crushed between walls. Since the enemies are ghosts, you’ll have to collect a specific gun found in levels that provides you 10 shots to take them out. However, each ghost mudd takes a few shots to go down, so being strategic with your shots and what you shoot is an absolute must. The mirrored world is dramatically harder than the main world’s levels, and will demand the utmost skill to successfully complete. Also, you can unlock Grannie as a playable character, who has her own set of levels and can utilize all three powerups at once. Only the best of the best will be able to unlock her, bringing about an old-school sense of accomplishment that few games bring to the table.

Visually, Mutant Mudds Deluxe replicates everything an old-school gamer will crack a smile to. From its vibrant, colorful sprites, to great animations and a high frame rate, Mutant Mudds Deluxe is an incredibly crisp looking game. All the environments have a distinct look to them, as do the enemies Max will face. The game’s overall visual aesthetic is very engrossing to get into. However, there’s one particular feature that I was curious about when hearing the game was coming from the 3DS to the Wii U, the 3D element. For the 3DS, the 3D slider really helped the player gain a better perspective as to which part of the background the action was taking place in. Whether it was the foreground, background or in-between, you could easily tell where to distinguish the action. Well, I’m glad to state that Renegade Kid has nailed the transition from 3DS to Wii U by making the 3D element handled with the GamePad and TV screen. To explain it better, the game will be more zoomed out on the TV, while the GamePad will be a bit closer. When in the middle, the TV or GamePad are completely suitable for play. However, if you go into the background areas, the GamePad will be much easier to distinguish objects due to the zoomed-in camera. If you’re in the foreground, the TV will become the better suit of screen to play on so that you have more distance to view up-close. It’s much better to witness in action than explain, but it works remarkably well. As far as audio goes, the sound effects are cheery and do a very good job conveying what pertains to which object. The soundtrack in particular is very catchy, with its retro style tunes that’ll be sticking with you.

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Ghost mudds, lava and spikes…oh my!

Mutant Mudds Deluxe is an enhanced version of a great 3DS game. However, seeing the additions and slight changes put into the core game, this is by far the superior version to get. From the vibrant retro visuals, great audio and addictive gameplay, Mutant Mudds Deluxe is an absolute must own for the Wii U. The game is meant to be as old-school as possible, and that’s what I absolutely loved about it. If you’re a fan of platformers, and more importantly retro games in general, do not let Mutant Mudds Deluxe go past you. It’s a terrific game that nails the term “old-school” and we need more games like this.

Overall Score: 9.0 out of 10 = BUY IT!

A special thank you to Renegade Kid for providing us the review copy for Mutant Mudds Deluxe!

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