(Wii U eShop)

Mutant Mudds Deluxe (Wii U eShop)

Game Review

Mutant Mudds Deluxe Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

A muddled experience

In early 2012, Mutant Mudds hit the 3DS eShop, and we loved it. Its faux-retro sprite design and satisfying difficulty made for a great gaming experience, as did the fact that it actually used the 3D effect in an interesting way; our hero Max could leap forward and backward through the background layers in order progress through the game, and the 3D always made it easy to tell where you were and what you had to deal with next.

Now Mutant Mudds Deluxe is available through the Wii U eShop, and it's ostensibly the same experience. It includes all of the original levels from the game, the set of "Grannie levels" that was released as free DLC for the original, and a new set of 20 "ghost levels" with some new surprises of their own. It's bigger, but is it better?

Sadly, no. But first, let's focus on the good, because there's a lot of it.

The adorable spritework from the original game and the excellent soundtrack both make the transition to the big screen intact. In the former case the lack of detail makes the scenery feel a bit dull and empty in a way that they never did on the smaller handheld, which is disappointing, but they're not without charm.

The controls are also as tight as ever, with Max's very limited move set and small amount of health meaning you need to make every decision count. You can jump — tapping the button again to hover — and fire your water gun. Three hits and you're dead. There's a decidedly retro feel to this simplistic design, and it works in the game's favour, as you can't just power through difficult areas or rely on powerful attacks. It's as much a brain game as it is a platformer, and that makes for a nice challenge.

However this game was very clearly designed with the 3DS in mind, and the lack of a 3D effect on the Wii U should have triggered at least something in the way of redesign. As it stands we still have Max hopping through the background layers, but now it's difficult to tell just where he is. You might find yourself jumping for platforms that look like they're on the same plane but aren't, or failing to avoid enemies because it looked like they were a layer deeper than you were.

It only takes a few failures owing to this lack of clarity for the game to feel frustrating rather than challenging. Enemies and obstacles that are meant to "pop out" and injure you are just as bad; it's very difficult to tell when it's safe to proceed, and even harder to time tricky jumps between them. It's a serious problem, and it interferes substantially with the enjoyability of the game.

As in the 3DS original you unlock three powerups as you progress through the game: a stronger shot, a longer hover, and a vertical boost. These can be used to access the "retro levels," one of which is hidden in each stage. These were all present in the 3DS game's original release, and were later joined by the Grannie levels, one of which was also hidden in each stage. Now there is also a set of ghost levels, one of which is unlocked for every stage you clear.

With all of these extra levels, the main game begins to feel less like the core experience and more like a difficult world map. While the ghost levels do introduce new mechanics — such as unkillable enemies, enemies that reappear after a set time, limited ammo — they also start to feel like too much of a good thing. The experience of playing through them begins to grow tedious, especially if you're also working your way through the other hidden levels, because they're not challenging you in unique ways. Nearly all of the platforming puzzles in the hidden levels rely on you knowing the precise limits of your hero's ability to hover, and once you master that the game can't think of much else to have you do. It all begins to feel like too much of the same, and a fun short adventure with some challenging levels starts to feel like it's ballooned into a repetitive slog that doesn't want you to leave, but also can't think of any unique ways to keep you interested.

That's not to say the game is bad, but it does feel a little flabby and overstuffed, and the fact that there are three(!) hidden levels for every main game level means Mutant Mudds Deluxe runs out of tricks much too early.

There's also a checkpoint in each level, which was not featured in the original game, and though you can turn it off — which we recommend you do — it is pretty disappointing that Mutant Mudds Deluxe is second-guessing its own difficulty. Having a checkpoint means you get to be substantially less careful along the way, and there isn't much consequence for making foolish mistakes.

Part of the identity of Mutant Mudds came from its punishing difficulty. Once you remove that, you're just left with a charming but unmemorable platformer, and that's unfortunate. It also takes the bite out of the later levels, subbing in tenacity for mastery. The checkpoint system should have been turned off by default, with an option somewhere to turn it on, instead of the other way around. As it stands, it just makes Mutant Mudds Deluxe feel a lot less confident.

Mutant Mudds Deluxe is still a lot of fun, but it has its issues which prevent it from being the definitive version of the game.

Conclusion

Mutant Mudds Deluxe doesn't feel quite at home on larger screens, but it's still a very enjoyable game. Its crisp visuals and great soundtrack are as nice as ever, but it feels like a handheld experience at heart. The lack of 3D and layered scenery also means that it's sometimes difficult to tell what platforms and hazards are actually on your plane, which can lead to some unexpected deaths. The ghost levels are a nice addition, but the abundance of extra levels is starting to feel like too much of a good thing, and the experience of playing through them gets fatiguing and tedious. If you're dying — ahem — for the ghost levels, then it's up to you whether the cost justifies upgrading. If not, we say stick with the 3DS original.

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User Comments (39)

Undead_terror

#1

Undead_terror said:

"Mutant Mudds Deluxe doesn't feel quite at home on larger screens, but it's still a very enjoyable game. Its crisp visuals and great soundtrack are as nice as ever, but it feels like a handheld experience at heart"
I guess someone played too much of it on the 3ds ;)
.....................................
Don't have a wii u but I didn't really enjoy the first one and never had the time to beat it.

DerpSandwich

#2

DerpSandwich said:

This looks just simple enough to be a little fun on a handheld, and not nearly deep enough to be played on an HD console. I'm not really sure what the point of the port was.

chewytapeworm

#3

chewytapeworm said:

I'd love to play the ghost levels. Perhaps I can see another 3ds Mutant Mudds update on the horizon? If not then I'll happily wait for the sequel.

RR529

#4

RR529 said:

This is the score the original should have gotten ;)

A good game sure, but not great.

Denkou

#5

Denkou said:

@RR529
Yes. Finally someone who realizes that game isn't the greatest thing released on the eshop!

Magnalon

#7

Magnalon said:

"The checkpoint system should have been turned off by default, with an option somewhere to turn it on."

To be honest I don't see how this is an issue at all. Renegade Kid was broadening its audience by allowing checkpoints, and placating hardcore fans at the same time.

I enjoyed the game. Is it worth a double or triple dip? It depends on how much you like Mudds. But I thought the game looked great on my TV, and it's the definitive version of the already solid foundation of the original.

Spoony_Tech

#8

Spoony_Tech said:

@Denkou I've been haiting on it for some time now. Its slow boring and unfun! The challenge is cheap at times as well. Can't for the life of me understand how so many people think its the best thing since sliced bread! If this came out on the nes back in the day its still not the great imo!

KAHN

#9

KAHN said:

i told you guys this one wouldn't be anything special. i have the 3DS version, i hardly even play it, i'll skip this.

RetrogamerFan

#10

RetrogamerFan said:

Only played the demo on 3ds.
I was concerned when i saw the trailer in the wii u e-shop about the similarity to 3ds gameplay. i found the 3d a little uncomfortable on the 3ds, i've been fine with most other 3d views in 3ds games. However, when i tried switching the 3d off the gameplay didn't make much sense. I also found the jump/jet pac mechanic imprecise and quite annoying so i passed on the full game on 3ds and will not get this either.

sinalefa

#11

sinalefa said:

Thanks, Chicken. I think you just saved me ten bucks. I dont care about checkpoints (I actually welcome them) but that layer issue sounds terrible and unfair. They could have reworked that, making far away things darker or something.

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#12

Philip_J_Reed said:

To be honest I don't see how this is an issue at all. Renegade Kid was broadening its audience by allowing checkpoints, and placating hardcore fans at the same time.

It's a review so we provide our opinions on the features of the game, and that's all we did there. :) It wasn't a major factor in the scoring, and that issue in itself wouldn't have warranted a 7. But other issues, particularly the lack of 3D leading to a problem with the gameplay, did.

TwilightV

#14

TwilightV said:

I would score this higher just for the checkpoints! The later stages are EVIL on 3DS!

EdEN

#15

EdEN said:

That's odd, I never had a problem with being able to tell where a platform was between the 3 layers either when playing on TV or on the GamePad.

I played Mutant Mudds on 3DS for review, and just did the same for Mutant Mudds Deluxe (while also obtaining every all 80 water sprite from all regular, secret, Grannie and ghost levels).

For me, the game is a 9. Definitely not perfect, but a very fun and tight platformer on Wii U. You're looking at 5-7 hours for $10 which is a lot of content for a small investment. If I found the game to be fun on Wii U even after obtaining 100% on the 3DS version, then I don't think the score should be a 7.

EdEN

#16

EdEN said:

@sinalefa: On Wii U, there is a blurring effect that makes it VERY easy to know on what layer you're currently playing.

Shire

#17

Shire said:

I want the Ghost levels, but I don't want to have to buy this to get them. If they were released on the 3DS as DLC I'd totally pay two or three dollars for them.

MeWario

#19

MeWario said:

A very polarising game, I think due to its simplicity. I for one freaken loved the 3DS version; timing based platformers I love! This review seems bang on regarding the Wii U version though.

MeWario

#20

MeWario said:

@TwilightV No way, lower for cheek points! Much lower!!! I must have died 20 times on the last level, but boy did it feel great when I beat it!

WaveyChristmas

#22

WaveyChristmas said:

I'm passing. I've already mastered and conquered the stellar 3DS Original. The extra ghost stages aren't enough to justify a 2nd purchase, and the lack of 3D will hurt the overall experience...It's what made the 3D original feel special. I'll skip this and wait for MM2 instead!

The real question is....Shovel Knight on Wii U or 3DS?

Giygas_95

#25

Giygas_95 said:

I can see why this game isn't for everybody, but I sure do love it! Keep it up, RK!

Ralizah

#26

Ralizah said:

The 3D adds a lot to the game's visual flair, imo. This can't look great on the Gamepad.

bizcuthammer

#27

bizcuthammer said:

Meh... I figured this version wouldnt be as good, since the game was built for the 3DS. I'll save my eshop money for Shovel Knight.

hcfwesker

#28

hcfwesker said:

No need to buy this game again, then. I'll take my $10 and go get Megaman 2 & 3 now :)

Blizzaga

#29

Blizzaga said:

I really love this on the Wii U and can't agree with the reviewer's complaints. It feels at home to me...

Luffymcduck

#30

Luffymcduck said:

I really like the 3DS version but I don´t feel like playing trough the levels again just for the new levels.

Marioman64

#31

Marioman64 said:

with as much as you bashed it i'm surprised you gave it that high of a score, although I agree with the score. though, I disagree with almost every thing you wrote. enemies and platforms are extremely easy to tell which layer they are on, as the game blurs things out of focus and so it's really easy to see what is where. also, I'm playing through the game now and without some of those checkpoints I would not have been able to keep my sanity, I have the 3ds version too and I wasn't sure why I stopped playing that one but now I remember. With checkpoints in the levels aren't as brutal, but still put up a good challenge. I can barely get TO the checkpoint in the last level of the normal levels, as it's so freaking long and tedious. As for the ghost levels, they are probably my favorite part because the gameplay is so radically different since it's not just move kill jump kill repeat, it's a tougher variant on what works and it's really fun to play through.

odd69

#32

odd69 said:

I wouldn't discard this game based on this review, you want my opinion ,buy it. The fact that this version has checkpoints actually makes it better the game is hard regardless, not every gamer out there wants to be frustrated, atleast to some degree anyway

"Part of the identity of Mutant Mudds came from its punishing difficulty. Once you remove that, you're just left with a charming but unmemorable platformer"

I highly disagree, part of the identity was the charm and this version is awesome in hd. For me and my money this is a 8.75 and that is all that matters to me :P

pikku

#33

pikku said:

I had a lot of fun with the 3DS version for a while, but then playing through the levels stopped being fun and started to feel like a grind.And despite downloading it on day one, I still have never have finished the game, simply because the "grindiness" left such a terrible taste in my mouth.

JaxonH

#34

JaxonH said:

Never played 3DS version, though I did watch my brother play it on his. I downloaded the HD version on Wii U and so far so good, I actually think the game looks phenominal in high def, the 12 bit look is so crisp and sharp, so intentionally retro yet so clean. I haven't had any issues discerning layers, though I haven't played but a good 30 to 45 minutes as of yet. I love the finely cut display on the tv, but on the gamepad, though not quite as stunning, it seems a better fit due to the screen size. I love both equally, and found myself playing on the tv for 5 or 10 minutes then the gamepad for 5 or 10 minutes...

Marioman64

#35

Marioman64 said:

@JaxonH i like the gamepad for some reason, it was designed for it after all, so in those big vertical sections there's a lot of white space on the sides (on the tv)

MachineLaw

#36

MachineLaw said:

I didn't expect the backlash this game is getting. I enjoyed immensely on my 3DS, so I may double dip for this one.

defrb

#37

defrb said:

for me mutant mudds need to be in 3d, oldskool graphics in 3d is so nice. without it it just a flat platformer wich they created more then 25 years ago :)

SchamMan89

#38

SchamMan89 said:

It's on sale for 7 bucks right now, so I finally took the plunge. I've played the 3DS demo before, so I had a vague idea of what to expect. It's a bit too simple for my tastes, but for the amount of content I'm getting, it's worth it.

I'll just play it while I watch my sports =)

Zach

#39

Zach said:

Never played the 3DS version but i haven't found the lack of 3D confusing, I wonder if it's because I don't know what the difference looks like. Agree with the score though. Thanks Phil!

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