Don’t let Mutant Mudds‘ colorful sprites, cute critters, and bouncy tunes fool you; this is one tough cookie. Well, technically it’s a platformer. And a serious test of one’s patience and ability to soldier on. Also, don’t be surprised to know there’s a story behind all that jumping, hovering, and shooting: Max, the blonde-haired, glasses-wearing main protagonist, is sitting in his living room playing videogames when a large meteor suddenly hits the planet. A TV news station then reports that there’s been a “Muddy” invasion. Equipped with only his water gun and jetpack, Max takes it upon himself to stop these Mutant Mudds…by collecting, um…y’know, end-of-level Water Sprites and gold diamonds. The stuff mutant piles of mud(d) hate the most.
Originally, I played a bit of Mutant Mudds on my laptop, using an Xbox 360 controller, as I find platformers extremely difficult with mouse and keyboard. I did not get very far though, maybe only earning 10 to 15 Water Sprites. But then, thanks to a swell promotion from Nintendo for purchasing both Fire Emblem: Awakening and Shin Megami Tensei IV with a set time period, I came into $30 worth of eShop money, just begging to be spent. I purchased Attack of the Friday Monsters! and Super Mario Bros. 2 some time back, but stopped there, unsure of what else to get. Then, without warning, I realized I needed two very difficult puzzle platformers for on-the-go gaming, and so I bought Mutant Mudds and VVVVVV; I’ll write about the latter later.
Anyways, I’ve actually done much better playing on the handheld than the PC, completing all the main levels in Mutant Mudds and collecting 20 Water Sprites and all the gold diamonds. The game actually uses 3D smartly, and I turned it on in several spots to help differentiate between the three planes of platforming. After completing the main-ish levels, I opened up four more levels dubbed “In Space No One Can Hear You Screaming In Frustration After Getting Hit By That Mud Monster That Spits.” At least that’s what I’ve been calling them. I’ve actually completed the first of the four new levels, but after many, many attempts, I just don’t see myself beating the rest. Timing is so essential, both in landing your jumps and moving fast to beat the ticking clock, and Max can only take three hits before its lights out; I thought level 4-4 was masochistically tough, but these space levels are that and then some.
While I avoid dying in space–and no, I’m not talking about Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity–there are a couple other ways to distract myself in Mutant Mudds. Within each level, there are two alternative exits. One takes you to a mini-level stylized after the Virtual Boy and another goes to a place paying love and homage to the Game Boy. There are no gold diamonds in these, but if you complete them you can still acquire a Water Sprite at the end. These are nifty, and I’ve done a few, but finding the alt exits in the main level seems to require a specific power-up equipped, and I refuse to use anything other than the extended hover item. That’s right. I refuse.
I might try the lingering, menacingly taunting three space levels a few more times here and there, but don’t expect a “just beat” haiku any time soon. Which stinks, as I’m pretty close to the end.
Lastly: vanishing platforms can burn in Hell.