When the original Mutant Mudds hit the 3DS eShop, it became an instant classic. Now, the hit indie game is on the Wii U eShop in the form of Mutant Mudds Deluxe, and suffice it to say, I think developer Renegade Kid has managed to knock this little gem out of the ballpark.
The game begins, as it did in the 3DS version, with little Max watching TV and playing a video game with grandma, until suddenly, the TV screen turns black and a reporter appears talking about an alien “mud invasion”. In true geek heroic fashion, Max straps on a bubble water jetpack and heads out to stop the menace. The player is then thrown straight into training mode where he/she learns the basics of how to play. During the tutorial, the player will learn that there are things called “water sprites” that can kill dirt and mud, and if enough of these are collected the player will be able to stop the muddy horde once and for all. At the end of each of the stages, or even secretly hidden away, Max must find each sprite to advance to the next level. He also must find 100 gold jewels in order to pass on to the next location.
I decided to try playing the game on the GamePad first, since that is where the game began–on a handheld. The GamePad controls were perfect using either the cross pad or the control stick, and it felt natural to hold while controlling Max. To jump or hover you press A or B , but keep in mind that Max’s water jet pack only allows him to hover for so long. In order to make sure Max doesn’t run out of water and fall to his doom you will see a water meter on the lower left side of the screen, which measures both his amount of water to shoot and to use to hover. Pressing X or Y allows you to shoot a few blasts at a time at the mutants, but each one may take more than one shot to kill. There are disappearing platforms, like in the old Mega Man games, that you must jump on or hover over to before they disappear. There are also spikes, huge rocks with ugly faces that try to crush you, hammers that try to crush you, mud blobs with spears and more.
Some of the nice upgrades I found were one that would allow me to shoot further, one that helped me jump at least five times higher, and one that helped me hover longer so I could get over long spiked gaps or stay in the air longer to shoot blobs that were further away. You have to collect 100 jewels plus one water sprite at the end of each level in order to be able to access the doors to obtain the upgrades, and that is not an easy feat.
To play as Max’s Grandma you have to find every single golden jewel in each level and every secret and regular water sprite! One nice, but very difficult addition to the game are 20 ghost levels, and they are designed to be as frustrating as possible. Not only that, but you can’t kill the mudds unless you find a special ghost gun which only has ten shots, so strategy is the key.
Other then being extremely difficult, the game play is as tight as it was on the 3DS, plus Renegade Kid decide to add extra game play functionality so you could use the Game Pad, Wii Remote, Wii U Pro Controller, Wii Classic Controller, and Wii Remote and Nunchuck if you choose.
The graphics in this game are a feast for the eyes. They look nice on the 3DS, but when you fire the game up and look at it on the GamePad the colors, bits, and sprites just seem to jump off the screen. On the bigger screen in HD things are even more sharp, crisp, and nostalgic. There is a nice mix of both NES 8-bit style, such as Max himself, on down to SNES style alien mudd enemies.
The jump to HD, along with the added levels, plus the extra free Grannie levels, made this quite a package deal. The cool nostalgic bit chip tunes are there to compliment each type of level, such as spooky Luigi’s Mansion style music in the 20 ghost levels, a new weapon, and added controls for different playing styles is nice. However, with the ability to switch back and forth from background to foreground, the enhanced 3D effect isn’t there, which brings the presentation down quite a bit. You also cannot see the background as sharp as you could when using the 3D, which can make it easy to take hits from enemies, and you can only get hit three times before you die.
The sound is awesome coming from the speakers of your HD TV or home theater set up, and compliments the game’s features quite well as a throwback to NES or SNES style games with chip tune rock in the background. The GamePad, however, has a very minimal sound volume to it that seems to be much lower than that of the 3DS and is kind of a letdown.
Mutant Mudds Deluxe achieved what it set out to do for those who weren’t lucky to catch it on the 3DS. It brings to life a memorable platformer with a silly story, awesome retro chip tune music, high Mega Man style difficulty, cool weapons, stuff to collect and find, and tons of replay value. While it missed the mark on not being able to utilize the 3D effect, which in turn made the jump to background to foreground and back again effects work, it managed to maintain a fun, playable, and challenging experience. I would have to say despite the lack of 3D that Mutant Mudds Deluxe is worth its $9.99 price tag, because you get the sweetness of the original, chewy DLC grannie levels, and a crunchy center of 20 challenging ghost levels.