Mugsters is a quirky action puzzler focused on 'saving everything' from a robot alien invasion. We had some hands-on time with the title, and suffice to say it's shaping up to be a very interesting experience. As a tasty little extra, Finnish developer Reinkout sat down with us to explain the game in more detail. Enjoy!
Nintendo Life: Congratulations on bringing Mugsters to the Nintendo Switch.
Riku Tamminen: Thank you! I never would have imagined this happening, especially when NES really started it all on my end. Having my own Nintendo game has been a dream for quite some time.
So, what is a 'Mugster' and where does the name come from?
To be honest, at first, I just really liked the flow of the word, it has a good feeling! It can mean a few different things. Some see Mugsters as the two-headed red alien enemies that you encounter throughout the game, but Mugsters could even be the players themselves. I’ve left it open to the player to interpret, are they the Mugsters? Are you?
Where did the idea come from/ did any of your previous work influence the inception of Mugsters?
My previous work really hasn't influenced it a lot, only the fact that I always wanted to develop a car game of some sort. Mostly it's a mix of Mad Max, Wile E. Coyote, Bugs Bunny and old sci-fi movies.
Are there any games that influenced the gameplay or art style? (Personally, we got a bit of a Blast Corps vibe).
I've had people getting Blast Corps vibes so many times, but honestly, I never had the N64 and have completely missed this game. It’s high on my list to get my hands on, can definitely see the resemblance! Mugsters has definitely gotten influenced by games like Death Rally, Rally-Sport and GTA2. Even though the game isn't a racing game, lots of influence comes from that genre.
Also Bugs Bunny cartoons has a big influence on the style, mainly because of the trails and particles so that’s more of an artistic influence.
How much freedom do we have in solving puzzles and completing levels?
You can complete the tasks and get out off the islands, but the way you do it is completely up to you. Take it easy and do everything cleanly, or simply blast through things and kill everything on sight, both ways work just fine. You are given all of the tools needed to complete the level in many different ways, how you chose to go about it is down to your play style.
Are there any level specific objectives besides the overarching 'Save everyone'?
There are also crystals spread around each island and also a 'main task' which can involve things from destroying some weird machines to fixing a broken connection.
What do the crystals do?
They're collected for a mysterious machine on home island, but they also work as sort of a health doubler/ armour. Without carrying you'd die from a UFO collision, but when carrying, instead of dying you'd drop the crystals first, spreading them around you.
Can you give us an example of how the physics play a role in achieving or reaching our goal?
There can be a light wall between you and a pressure switch that opens a gate to proceed. You could throw an explosive barrel to break the wall, pick up a rock which you'll leave on the pressure switch, hop into your estate wagon and drive onto the next problem. I’m also quite partial to using the explosion from a barrel to propel the character across large gaps.
Was it difficult designing a sandbox-style puzzle environment with the game being action based?
Sure was! There are so many options and ideas it's really hard to keep things simple and try to avoid feature creep. But the water around being deadly helped a lot on keeping things in a compact package, what I like is that the game can cause some frustration, which drives you to cause some crazy driving chaos and completing an island while doing so.
Is there a deeper narrative in addition to the main mission?
You basically go straight into action with this one, mostly the player would be making up the story in their minds while playing further. I have tried to give some clues on how I think the story goes with the environments.
How can players balance or mix being evasive, defensive and/ or offensive?
Basically you should be able to play an island through while being anything above. There might be a moment when you're in the middle of running away from a big robotic orb and you just go, "Nope, it's time to start exploding things." Maybe do a U-turn and let your car ram into the enemies.
What Nintendo games did you play growing up?
Super Mario 3, Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers and Terminator 2. There are the ones that come to mind first and so I’d say they were my top three. I just need to get myself an N64 for Blast Corps!
We would like to thank Riku and Team 17 for their time. Mugsters will arrive on Nintendo Switch in 2018.