[Review] Mutant Mudds Super Challenge
Posted on March 17, 2016 by Jakob Vujovic(@jakovujo) in 3DS eShop, Reviews, Wii U eShop
System: Wii U / 3DS (eShop)
Release date: March 17, 2016
Developer: Renegade Kid
Publisher Renegade Kid
Immediately upon playing the first level of Mutant Mudds Super Challenge, I was reminded about how much I loved Renegade Kid’s original 2D platformer. When it released in 2012, it was one of the first great 3DS eShop titles. Super Challenge feels largely like a continuation of the first game’s later levels. It’s telling that it hasn’t been named Mutant Mudds 2 since there isn’t too much new here, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
There’s nothing particularly special about Mutant Mudds Super Challenge’s mechanics, but it’s the simplicity which is its greatest strength. Your character controls, as far as I can tell, identically to the first game. Your moveset is very standard fare, with a pea shooter gun and a jetpack that lets you float mid jump. There’s no gimmick here. The joy of it comes from its artfully-crafted level design.
The game’s chunky 2D pixel graphics and deliberate controls to make it so that every move has to be taken with careful consideration and perfect execution. It’s difficult, though death always feels like it resulted from your own failure to execute on a chain of precise platforming movements. Don’t let the game’s claim of a super challenge turn you away as everything always feels doable, even if it might take a dozen tries. Sure, it killed me about 300 times according to the counter, but instead of rage-induced controller throwing I laughed at how I made such a poor mistake and felt compelled to tried again.
Part of what makes Mutant Mudds Super Challenge feel more like an expansion is its lack of a difficulty curve. There are plenty of new levels – 40 of them, just like the amount of main courses as in the original – but all of them feel more or less at the difficulty of that first game’s final levels. Aside from boss battles and the final world, each one is accessible from the start since there really would be no point in locking them behind the progression of a flat difficulty curve.
With the game reusing so many enemies and mechanics from the first game, the most notable addition is its boss battles. I never really considered their absence in the series’ initial release, but an ending without one did feel a little flat. After playing them here, I better understand why they weren’t in the original. It feels like the controls are tuned more towards precision level platforming rather than one on one arena encounters, and unfortunately only one boss fight really takes advantage of that strength. Is the game any worse for the addition? No, the boss fights are still enjoyable and their presence here does alleviate the anticlimactic ending it would have otherwise had and that the first game suffered from. With the flat difficulty curve, they feel more necessary as a barometer of progress.
With Mutant Mudds Super Challenge, it feels like it’s riding on the back of the first game and what generally feels like the expectation that you’ve already played it going in. While you could definitely play this on its own, I feel like it would be an overall less satisfying experience. Taken as a whole, I have almost nothing but praise for these games, but I do wonder if someone going in fresh to Super Challenge would feel the same.
For anyone that enjoyed the original, I can recommend Mutant Mudds Super Challenge without hesitation since it’s more of what made that game great with some even tighter level design. While you could jump in without having played the first entry, I would definitely recommend going through it first if you can – not only because it’s also excellent, but because this feels more like a very large expansion off of the first game. Although it could stand on its own, I feel like it’s stronger when experienced as a whole.