The Mummy Demastered Review (Switch/PS4/X1) – “Mummyvania”


The days of movie-based games releasing on consoles have certainly become a dime a dozen nowadays. Years ago, almost any movie that could be made into a game was made. Universal has rebooted one of their monster franchises a few months ago, The Mummy. The movie was poorly received, but shockingly there is a game based on the property itself, releasing just in time for Halloween. Thanks to developer WayForward, we have The Mummy Demastered. So does the game succeed at the rare feat of besting it’s movie counterpart?

Let’s get this out of the way now…this is very much superior to its film counterpart. That being said, The Mummy Demastered (cleverly titled) is a 16-bit, 2D-style Metroidvania game, playing much like a mixture of their previous titles like Shantae and even more so like TMNT: Danger of the Ooze. Naturally though, the closest comparison would be Super Metroid more than anything. 


The Mummy Demastered has you playing the role of an elite agent part of the Prodigium Unit, a group specialized in facing supernatural elements. Princess Ahmanet has been resurrected and it’s up to your unit to put a stop to her before she regains full power to transform the world to her liking. You will be in communication with Henry Jekyll as he provides you updates to the whereabouts of Princess Ahmanet, as well as hints to certain equipment in the area.

As mentioned, this is a 2D Metroidvania game, with a twist (more on that soon). You will explore various areas interconnected throughout London: graveyards, sewers, caverns, ravaged city streets, and a clocktower. Naturally at the start of the game, you’re only equipped with a standard automatic rifle, but as you explore the world, you will come across a variety of weapons like flamethrowers, machine guns, harpoon guns, etc. These will certainly give you an edge with more challenging creatures, and each weapon may be more powerful against enemies versus other weapons. Some areas and rooms will be blocked and require backtracking with proper projectile weapons or artifact abilities. Artifacts hidden in the world will grant your agent a special ability, such as phase dashing or running at faster speeds. You will be able to extract to different locations based on areas where helicopters are on standby. This is certainly helpful when backtracking and trying to access areas previously blocked.


Mechanically, there’s a twist that will keep you on your toes throughout the journey: dying. Sure, that sounds obvious to avoid, but if you die, your character will become an undead soldier of Ahmanet and you will play as another agent from your last save point. The catch here is that you will have none of the upgrades or weapons that you acquired with your now undead agent. You will need to hunt down the undead agent (thankfully displayed on your map) and take them down to acquire all the upgrades and equipment earned throughout the game at that moment in time. Oh, and don’t think you can just quit the game and reload your save to avoid this…the game saves automatically the moment you die. 

The game will certainly provide a challenge, as enemies will not drop many health items. As the game does try to push the concept of dying and retrieving your equipment from undead soldiers, health is scarce. Health items dropped will only replenish a minimal amount. Ammo is not as scarce to maintain, but even if you run out, you can always utilize your default rifle which has unlimited ammo. Speaking of weaponry, you can carry up to two additional weapons to swap between. Figuring out which weapons to carry in your loadout is essential to survival, as you will quickly realize that your default rifle is quite weak. Loadouts can be changed at any of the ammo cache locations throughout the areas. 


There are bosses to face in each area as well. Boss battles are large in scale, and gradually get more intense with each battle. The bosses are well designed and really add to the intensity of the game. Whether you face off against a giant scarab, or giant spider, or the other vile creatures that await, the bosses will certainly keep you on your toes. By the final boss, you really need to have as much equipment as possible, as you will truly be tested.

WayForward has Metroidvania platformers under their belt, and The Mummy Demastered is no slouch. Level design is very well done for the most part, aside from a few rooms where platforming could’ve been a bit more refined. There are numerous times where enemies will be an obstacle while carefully jumping, but getting hit will knock you back. Enemies occasionally throw projectiles and seem to do so before they fully appear on-screen, leading to a few cheap shots. Additionally, flying creatures such as birds and bats may have infinite spawning, leading to a bit of frustration trying to climb your way to the top of rooms. Outside of this though, the overall level designs really nail atmosphere and are laid out quite well.


As always, WayForward excels with their ultra-smooth animations and 60 FPS (for the most part). The game really captures the feel of a 16-bit game, with nice pixel art, and nicely layered backdrops with parallaxing. Even the foreground elements of fog add to the game’s overall atmosphere. It’s as smooth as a 16-bit looking game gets, given the HD coating for modern consoles. While the framerate is hitting 60 FPS, there were several instances of framerate drops. While this was tested on the Switch, both docked and undocked experiences saw the frame drops based on the number of enemies on-screen. In terms of music, composer Monomer has provided a truly superb soundtrack that easily stood out throughout the entire experience. Each area has music that hits all the right notes. The atmospheric and upbeat tunes engross you immensely and cannot be praised enough. By far, one of the best gaming soundtracks I’ve heard this year. Yes, it’s that good. Sound effects also pack a punch, with each weapon sounding powerful and creature noises fleshing them out. 


The Mummy Demastered is a 16-bit Metroidvania done very well. While the property it’s based on may not have the best track record, the game itself certainly evades the curse of subpar movie-based games, and provides a rich experience. The superb pixel work, silky-smooth animations, tight gameplay, and sublime soundtrack really round out one of the best movie-based games, let alone an all-around great game, in quite some time.

Overall Score: 8.0 out of 10 = BUY IT!

A special thank you to the publisher for providing us a review copy for The Mummy Demastered! Copy reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

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Mighty Switch Force! 2 Review (Wii U): “A Fiery Good Time”

Mighty Switch Force 2 Wii U Wallpaper 1

WayForward has had quite the relationship with Nintendo. Whether it be the 3DS, Wii or Wii U, they have always been fond of bringing their titles to Nintendo’s market. At the Wii U’s launch, WayForward remastered the predecessor in full HD, all hand-drawn, and provided a few extras to the HD edition. Earlier this year, the 3DS was graced with the sequel to the cult hit, “Mighty Switch Force! 2”. However, after much demand, WayForward has brought the game over to the Wii U. Does the sequel come blazing in hot or completely washed out?

Mighty Switch Force 2 is a 2D action/puzzle-platformer at heart; One which starts off with a simple, yet unique premise. If you’ve played the original Mighty Switch Force, whether for the 3DS or Wii U edition, the gameplay remains essentially the same. You’ll control Patricia Wagon again, who’s now part of the Galactic Fire Brigade and equipped with an Infinity Dousing Apparatus (I.D.A.) that lets you spray water to no end, trying to capture the Hooligan Sisters. Much like its predecessor, you’ll have to platform your way through 16 incidents. Gameplay wise, you’ll traverse the levels capturing five Hooligan Sisters scattered around the area and then escape with your robot cop sidekick (or as I still call him since the first game, Robocop). New in the sequel are the hidden crying babies in each incident. Find them and you’ll pull off a South Park by “kicking the baby” out of the screen. It’s hilarious when you see it actually happen as you wouldn’t expect Ms. Wagon to punt the baby. While platforming, you’ll notice blocks that are faded into the background. With the simple press of a button, you can switch the blocks to appear in the foreground and utilize them to make your way through the area. However, this simple concept will soon become a real test of your platforming skills, as you’ll have to master switching the blocks from foreground to background on the fly. Sometimes you’ll have to be mid-jump when transitioning this. Later on, you’ll need to be absolutely precise in timing the button pressing so that the background block doesn’t smash your character against the screen when transitioning to the foreground. Since the sequel revolves around the fire element, expect fiery obstacles to block your path. This is where your I.D.A. will come in handy most. You’ll have to extinguish fires that block your path, with small flames dousing almost instantly to larger flames that need more water to douse. If you don’t douse it all the way, it will rise again. In later stages you’ll have to platform on furnaces that you must douse to traverse, but must move quick as they’ll reignite.

Mighty Switch Force 2 Wii U Gameplay 1

It wouldn’t be a WayForward game if their platforming and overall gameplay didn’t ramp up dramatically in difficulty as you advance and their testament still stands here. You’ll get three hearts to get through an area, of which enemies, spikes, or accidentally smashing yourself against the screen when switching a block can take a heart away. There are heart discs that enemies can drop or are laying around the area so there’s a chance to revitalize yourself when needed. There are also checkpoints in each area but that’s only if you get smashed on screen or touch the spikes where they actually come into effect. If you lose all three hearts, you’ll have to repeat the level from the beginning. Luckily, a majority of the incidents are only a few minutes long, with the exception of the final levels. These ones are much more intensive and provide more of an endurance in terms of how much longer you’ll need to survive the insane platforming. Like the first game, there’s a final boss to tackle at the end of the last incident, and it’s pretty intense (also thanks to the music playing). Upon beating it, I wished WayForward would incorporate even more boss battles, as this was definitely a highlight during my playthrough.

Thanks for flying "Air Wagon"! We hope you fly again with us soon!

Thanks for flying “Air Wagon”! We hope you fly again with us soon!

Throughout the game, platforming won’t be your only enemy. Many of the same enemies return from the predecessor, varying from little flying creatures to lock-on to you as you approach them, to walking rocks lit on fire, to robotic dinosaur-type enemies that charge at you, to heavily armored spiky-shelled creatures. However, every enemy won’t be dealt with directly with your water blaster. While the flying creatures can be shot at easily, the robotic dinosaur-type enemies will require you to either shoot them from behind or trick them into running into a switch block and then launch them into the screen. Same goes for the spiky-shelled creatures. They can only be defeated by tricking them into falling on spikes or smashing them against the screen.  A new enemy introduced here are these bloated purple creatures with a big mouth to boot. To take them down, you’ll have to fill it up with enough water to make it explode. To make enemies even more interesting, WayForward made enemies essential into advancing your way through an area. For example, you may need to have fire rocks walk up to a large wooden block so they can set it on fire, opening a passage for you. You may need to utilize launching switch blocks to guide enemies to a certain area to clear a path or smash them against a screen to open a locked door. It’s these moments that really provide a grand sense of satisfaction and open up your mind into more creative ways to advance through a level. However, a new puzzle element are the switch blocks with piping in them. When you see these, you’ll shoot your water blaster into them so that water travels through the pathway and out the other end. This will help wash mud away that was blocking your path or one of the damsels. The puzzles involving these really provide even more satisfaction to the already fine tuned gameplay.

Visually, WayForward has always been known for having a mastery with 2D sprites. When we saw “Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition” on the Wii U last November, the game looked absolutely crisp and stunning in HD. Unfortunately, Mighty Switch Force! 2 is a straight port of the 3DS version that released earlier this year. If you’re expecting to see the lush, hand-drawn HD crisp visuals from Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition, you’ll be let down here. Instead, we get the game in pixelated form, which still looks great honestly! If it wasn’t for the fact that I was blown away with WayForward’s hand-drawn sprites (like Double Dragon Neon, Bloodrayne: Betrayal, and naturally, Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition), I wouldn’t be deducting points off the visuals department. The game still runs as rock solid as you’d expect from the developer’s previous efforts. Jake Kaufman returns to provide yet another great soundtrack for a WayForward title. Providing a little bit of techno, dubstep and retro sounding tracks, Mighty Switch Force! 2 has a catchy soundtrack that does a very good job of nailing the game’s setting. “Flame broiled” and “Safe and sound” may sound cheesy when Patricia delivers the line, but it’s so campy, it’s good.

Mighty Switch Force 2 Wii U Gameplay 3

While the game doesn’t take a terribly long time to beat, hardcore players can attempt to tackle the “Par” times for every incident. These will take the utmost perfection and memorization to complete and if you do, you should be very proud of yourself. These are not for the feint of heart. Unlike it’s HD predecessor, once you beat the game, there are no bonus levels or hyper blaster to replay the game with. As a side-note, I really do appreciate that WayForward is still the only developer to choose a more unique name for their community on the Miiverse. Instead of just calling it “Mighty Switch Force! 2 Community”, they’ve opted to call it “Mighty Switch Force! 2 Command Center”. I love the fact that WayForward tries to make the Miiverse community more “fun”.

KICK THE BABY!!

KICK THE BABY!!

Mighty Switch Force! 2 may not be the HD remaster that it’s predecessor got on the Wii U’s launch day, but that still doesn’t stop it from being a great game by any means. WayForward knows their 2D games and continues to excel in this department. While this edition may not exactly add any content to warrant a new purchase for those who own the 3DS version, Wii U owners would still do very well to grab this for a low $5.99 asking price. If you’ve never played the 3DS version and like your 2D platformers, then by all means pick this up now. It may be a short game, but it’s also just so gratifying to play thanks to the excellent level designs, additional new “switch” mechanics, beautiful visuals and an energetic soundtrack.

Overall Score: 8.0 out of 10 = BUY IT!

A special thank you to WayForward for providing us a review copy for “Mighty Switch Force! 2”!

Enjoy our review? Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter: @GamersXTREME for the latest in gaming news and reviews.

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Duck Tales Remastered Announced for PSN, XBLA, and Wii U

Title

Fans of the NES classic, Duck Tales, will be pleased to know that Capcom and WayForward are working on an HD remastered version titled “DuckTales Remastered”.

Announced at PAX East today, the game will feature classic DuckTales gameplay with a completely-remastered look and feel, featuring hand-drawn 2D sprites in a 3D environment. Additionally, the game’s classic 8-bit tunes will be remastered, placing a fresh twist on the game’s nostalgic feel. A few bonuses will be included as well, including a tutorial, a museum, and the ability to swim through Scrooge McDuck’s money bin.

The game is set to be released in Summer 2013 for PSN, XBLA, and the Wii U eShop for $14.99, or 1200 MS Points. Check out the teaser trailer below!

Double Dragon Neon coming to XBLA and PSN with online “Bro-Op”

Any fans of the original beat-em-up will be happy to hear that WayForward Studios, the studio behind such titles as Contra 4 and Bloodrayne Betrayal, plans to release Double Dragon Neon, a fresh re-boot of the arcade hit. Neon is set to reproduce the addictive action of the original with a fresh coat of 80’s-inspired paint. Everything from the new UI to throwing out high-fives to your bro will accentuate the era when Double Dragon took arcades by storm. Best of all, the game will come with an online “Bro-Op” mode, allowing you to team up with a friend to take on the Black Warriors gang.

Look for Double Dragon Neon on Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network in July.