Beat the summer heat with Maxwell and his water gun!
It’s always exciting when a game comes along that is not only a great game, but also a perfect way to showcase the hardware it’s on. Mutant Mudds was a great example of this when it originally launched on the 3DS last year. The plane-switching platforming made perfect use of the 3D, and to boot, it was a great game. So, I openly admit that I was a little worried when I heard Mutant Mudds Deluxe was going to be on the Wii U, because so much of the charm of the original game came from how well it showcased the hardware. Fortunately, Renegade Kid proved me completely wrong.
Unlike most games that simply mirror the same action on both screens, here the GamePad shows a zoomed-in view. It’s so minor that, for a while, I didn’t even notice it, until I took the time to look closely. I had found myself naturally using the GamePad when the game got harder to see, but it took close examination to realize that it had been designed that way.
The GamePad view is nearly identical to the view on the 3DS, but supplementing it with the expanded version on the television makes surveying the levels and planning your next move substantially easier. At the same time, it makes a few of the levels easier as well by allowing you to see more enemies and obstacles ahead of you. The plethora of controller options allows you to play the game however you want: GamePad/TV, just the GamePad, or the Classic Controller.
Working my way through even the basic levels again was still exciting, and the bright, sharp pixel graphics really pop on both screens. Watching a big-screen Maxwell blast mud monsters felt great, and the animation is a sight to behold, especially when you can see everything down to the very last pixel.
The soundtrack has left me humming all afternoon after each session with the game, and the “bloop” of Maxwell’s water gun has never sounded better. Of course, Mutant Mudds is still about patience and proper timing, so even when you find yourself falling on spikes, you know exactly what put you there. With the same devious level design omnipresent in both the old and new content, it’s hard not to fall in love with the game all over again.
The biggest new feature is a whole new set of ghost levels piled on top of the already daunting amount of existing ones. Luckily, they’re just as fun and challenging as the rest of the game. Returning players will be excited to learn that you can go directly to the ghost world levels right from the beginning, which is great news. My only real disappointment with the new content is that there are no bonus levels for the ghost world, which feels a bit like a missed opportunity. The bonus levels are super-short, retro-inspired mini-levels that used graphical styles based on various retro game systems (Game Boy/Virtual Boy).
I would have loved to see some new styles (DOS-themed bonus levels anyone?), but the fact that all 20 of the original levels have been re-done in ghost form means that even without them there is still plenty of new content to dig through. The new levels themselves are much more difficult, and the new enemies (and ghost versions of old enemies) in them can only be killed by finding a weapon upgrade hidden in levels. For the most part, you’ll have to jump and jet your way around your foes to make it to the end of the level.
Mutant Mudds Deluxe is an example of platformers at their best, and it is worth picking up even if you own the game in its original 3DS format. Renegade Kid has given us plenty of reason to invest in Maxwell’s NES-style adventure all over again. For neophytes, the difficulty is reduced with the new checkpoint system, which makes getting through each level less frustrating. It’s a simple addition that may not make it possible for untalented players to make it through all the content, but it does make getting through the basic levels a much more achievable goal.
The game isn’t weighed down by copious story or in-depth upgrade systems, it’s just a boy, his grandma, and a heaping helping of baddies; it is pure platforming bliss. The deluxe version of the game is equal parts delicate retooling and new content, making it perfect for old and new fans alike.