Art by “stickerb” on deviantART
Back in early 2012, a game known as Mutant Mudds was released by independent developer Renegade Kid on the 3DS eShop. The game was widely praised for being a great throwback to a retro era, although there were a few minor missteps that held it back from reaching its full potential. The game has now been given an upgrade for release on Steam – but is Deluxe really the definitive version of the title?
One of the earlier stages in the game.
For those who haven’t played the original on 3DS, the game is a basic but incredibly well-made 2D platformer. An unsuspecting young boy named Max is tasked with saving the Earth (and beyond) from an invasion of mutinous blobs of mud. Equipped with a water blaster and a jetpack, it’s up to him to blast away the Mutant Mudds. One hundred diamonds are scattered throughout each stage, and water sprites serve as the levels’ end goals. These diamonds can be used to purchase upgrades from your grandma in between stages. The upgrades boost your water blaster’s fire speed, extend your hover time or allow you to perform a towering super jump. Only one upgrade can be equipped at a time, allowing for a bit of strategy when it comes to completing levels. Upgrades are also used to allow entry to hidden G-Land and V-Land doors, which open up access to 20 of the games 80 stages.
The game is split up into five themed worlds, each containing 4 regular levels, 4 hidden levels and 4 ultra tough Grannie levels. Once you collect every diamond and water sprite in the main game, you are able to play as Grannie. She has the ability to use all three upgrades simultaneously, making her a total powerhouse. This trait allows you to locate and enter the Grannie levels, which are a true test of gamer skill. Despite being the toughest levels in the game, it doesn’t mean the rest of the game is easy – it’s actually far from it. To make the game more accessible, the camera has been zoomed out drastically and optional checkpoints have been added. The timer now counts up instead of down, as well. These tweaks to the game don’t take away the challenge, but rather they reduce the frustration found in the 3DS version.
The main addition to Mutant Mudds Deluxe are the twenty ghost levels. They are essentially remixes of the standard levels, but they switch up the gameplay style a bit. The Mutant Mudds are now ghosts as you might expect, and this means that they can not be hit with standard water blasts. Instead, there is an item which gives Max a limited number of shots that can harm ghosts. You’ll be doing a bunch of sneaking hordes of ghosts to safety, which is not something forced upon the player in the main game. Although I would have preferred all-new levels, these variations on levels players are familiar with are neat.
The ghost levels have an appropriately spooky feel about them.
It’s also worth noting that when playing on PC, you should hook up a gamepad for optimum control.
This game isn’t afraid to ramp up the difficulty.
Mutant Mudds Deluxe tries to strike a balance between 8-bit and 16-bit graphics, and does so very well. Sprites are colorful and detailed, but not so detailed that they are aiming for realism. Character and enemy animations are very smooth, with tiny touches like Max’s hair bouncing as he walks. Since the game incorporates multi-layer play, there needs to be a way to distinguish foreground from background and mid-ground. The 3DS’ 3D effect came into play here, but Deluxe uses a blur effect to distinguish layers. It certainly doesn’t look as good as 3D layering, but it gets the job done.
This world reminds me strongly of a certain evil reptile’s lair…
The sound in Mutant Mudds Deluxe is absolutely flawless overall. For starters, every one of the game’s chiptunes are some of the best tracks I’ve heard in recent memory. You’ll probably be humming the first level’s theme long after you complete the game. Here’s a link to the full soundtrack. The sound effects are very vibrant and memorable as well – from landing a hit on an enemy to nabbing a diamond.
Overall: 9.0 (Awesome)
Mutant Mudds Deluxe is the ultimate version of an already great game. Some tweaks to how it plays in addition to a fair amount of new content place it far above the original game. If you own the original but some things about it bothered you, give Deluxe a go. If you’ve never played the game, buy Deluxe as soon as possible. Mutant Mudds Deluxe is an outstanding throwback to another age, and it can’t be missed.