The aliens are invading so blow ‘em to kingdom come!
The alien invasion story is one that has been around for years, sometimes being as zany as Earthbound while going as deep as Half-Life. Reinkout Games decided to provide their own spin to the story with their game, Mugsters. The invasion starts slow, but as I progressed through the various levels, it began to grow on me.
Mugsters’ story is a tad on the complicated side mainly because the backstory is a mystery to the player. The only story that can be derived from the game’s trailers is that the aliens have invaded the planet and you are given the task of freeing the humans and eradicating these pests. Upon getting past the main menu, you’re left in the main hub that allows the player to explore the land and figure out the controls and mechanics.
In each of the 25 levels, the player is given four main objectives: destroy or activate a machine, collect all the gems, save the captured humans, and get off the island. Other than getting off the island, none of the other objectives have to be completed to progress to the next level; however, completing them unlocks extras content such as time trials and vehicles. Completing these objectives is no walk in the park as there are various aliens and machinery out to kill you. I had to use my brain, luck, explosives, and fists to come up with various plans and traps to exterminate them.
The controls are pretty uniform. The left stick is used to move, right stick to rotate the camera, right trigger to run or accelerate, left trigger to go in reverse, X to pick up objects or enter/exit vehicles, and Y to punch or throw objects. What I find most unique are the various vehicles available as they each have their own control style. For example, a truck would be slow to accelerate but would be able to plow through walls easily while the muscle cars would run quickly, but have low durability. The thought and effort that went into creating how each vehicle works amazes me.
But on the other hand, the complete absence of music during gameplay is baffling. The main menu has a short theme playing in the background, but other than that, no other sounds are to be heard besides the movement of the vehicles and the various machines and UFOs. This somewhat hurt the overall experience as it made it feel as it made it difficult to immerse myself in the world.
The levels had an odd creation with a good chunk of the earlier ones being stale, repetitive, and lackluster. It originally left me in a poor mindset of how the rest of it would turn out, but as I progressed, they kept implementing unique and creative puzzle that provided some challenge to each level. It’s a tad unusual that there wasn't as much challenge and creativity put into the earlier levels as the later ones, but it was worth it to push through the lackluster levels to be able to enjoy the later levels.
While you could complete the game by just yourself, I’d recommend grabbing a friend or family member to try the local co-op mode experience as two people trying to navigate the terrain can provide you with some hilarious results. Also, the islands are modified to give some extra challenges that can only be solved through cooperation between two players.
In the end, it took some patience, but Mugsters turned out to be an overall enjoyable experience that leads to many laughs, frustration, and sighs of relief that will be enjoyed by one and all.