First Impressions: Mutant Mudds (3DSWare)

Something old and something new

There are some games that just grab you right from the moment you begin playing them and that was exactly the case when I began making my way through the levels of Renegade Kid's upcoming 3DSWare title Mutant Mudds.

For those of you not familiar with the game, it actually began life as a free-roaming 3D retail title and began garnering a bit of a following before the developers decided it might be a better fit for Nintendo's upcoming 3DSWare service and decided to publish the game themselves.

To begin with, the developers have given the game a complete 2D makeover that features one of the most unique visual presentations you'll ever likely see. While there are plenty of 8 and 16-bit touches strung throughout the game, there's a level of polish to the package that gives it an almost 32-bit look to it. There are vibrant color schemes and an amazing amount of 3D depth that really comes alive on the 3DS system. But don't be fooled, all of that 3D depth isn't just for show, as it plays a key role in the gameplay as well.

Your character's ultimate goal in each level is to make it to the end of the stage intact. You only have a certain amount of health hearts to work with and once they're used up, it's back to the beginning of the level. While the typical run and jump platforming gameplay is alive and well, there are some nice additional play control touches to make things even more interesting.

For starters, with the press of a button you can make Max hover in the air for a short time, thus allowing you to reach platforms and areas that would normally be inaccessible. Max also has a powerful water cannon at his disposal that will be quite useful in taking out the barrage of enemies you'll encounter along the way.

Another unique feature of the game involves the ability of Max to move into and out of the backgrounds and foregrounds. This is where the 3D effect begins to play a vital role in the progression through the levels rather than just something that's fun to look at. It can also make navigating through some levels quite challenging, so be prepared to don your thinking cap for some of the more advanced levels later on in the game.

The control scheme is obviously heavily-influenced by the original Wario Land title, yet adds in some amazing shooting action to give it a fresh feel. Couple all of this with some spot-on play controls and physics and you've got an extremely smooth and responsive platforming experience.

The musical score features the nostalgic chip-tune sound that classic gamers will definitely appreciate and the tunes are rather catchy, even in and of themselves. And much like the visuals, they too have a polished sound to them that gives them a more modern feel while still retaining the 8-bit overtones.

In a world where 2D platformers are becoming few and far between it's nice to see a developer pull off something that features not only something for classic gamers, but also something for gamers who appreciate a more modern presentation. Mutant Mudds is everything a platformer fan could ask for and was easily one of the most enjoyable titles I had the opportunity to play at the E3 show.

We'd like to thank Jools Watsham of Renegade Kid for taking time out of his busy schedule to allow us the opportunity to play the game and answer our questions.