Mutant Mudds is back with a vengeance! I really do mean that because this semi-sequel takes the original gameplay and makes it much harder!
|Console||PC, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4|
|Publisher||Renegade Kid, Nighthawk Interactive|
|Purchase (PC)||Purchase from Humble Store.|
|Purchase (Nintendo Switch)||Purchase from Nintendo.com.|
|Purchase (PS4)||Purchase from PlayStation Store.|
So about three years ago, I reviewed an indie game called Mutant Mudds, a retro-style platformer about a kid who kills mud aliens with his water gun. He has a sequel now, and I neglected to talk about it for a long time. Might as well do it now.
Confronting the Source
During the previous adventure, a meteor struck the planet and a hostile race of muddy aliens known as the Mudds invaded. An ordinary boy named Max and his grandmother, armed with water guns, fought off the aliens. Using the power of Water Sprites, Max and Grannie managed to defeat the Mudds… for a time.
Now Max must go to the land of Doro, which is most likely named that after dorodoro (どろどろ), a Japanese word meaning “muddy.” There, he will find the meteor that originally brought the Mudds onto planet Earth and he will eliminate the alien menace once and for all.
More of the Same, But Harder
Mutant Mudds Super Challenge begins with a short prologue level to allow you to get used to the controls before it throws you into the fray. The controls are exactly the same as the original Mutant Mudds; jump and shoot, the Mega Man way. And also, you have a jetpack that allows you to hover for a short time. And using arrow panels on the ground, you can jump to the foreground or the background.
And from here on out, you will go through multiple difficult levels that may tax on your patience. And I really do mean difficult because how else could you call your game Super Challenge? Just look at how many spikes this game has. It’s specifically made to be Mega Man’s personal hell.
In fact, you have immediate access to three powerups (power-shot, extended hover, vertical boost) in the game without having to unlock them (unlike the first game). Like before, you can only equip one powerup at a time, but they can make certain levels significantly easier.
But yes. the game assumes that you have already played the original Mutant Mudds and that you’re ready for a more punishing experience. In fact, Mutant Mudds Super Challenge uses the same game engine and assets as its predecessor. So really, Super Challenge is more of the same but harder.
In that sense, Super Challenge is more comparable to the likes of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels as a sequel. All the original sprites and music (plus some new ones) are there, but with a higher difficulty. Thankfully, you don’t have to deal with unfair level designs like those found in The Lost Levels. That would just be too much.
The objective of each level is to collect 100 Golden Gems. Then you complete the level by touching the ending Water Sprite. Simple to understand, harder to execute. Seriously, this game is going to kick your ass and it will constantly remind you how many times you died after each death. Yes, there’s a death counter now! Get used to it.
The V-Land and G-Land levels also make a return (with the same music themes, which is really cool), once again standing as homages to the Virtual Boy and Game Boy aesthetics. Compared to the regular levels of Mutant Mudds Super Challenge, I guess they’re only slightly harder in comparison? But to access them, you’ll have to search each level for the entrance, which is usually not too hard. But you’ll probably need a specific powerup to access the entrance.
And of course, the painful ghost levels make a return too. Your gun won’t hurt the ghost Mudds, unless you find a specific powerup in the level (and even then, you get limited shots that you might need to save for certain points in the level).
Mutant Mudds Super Challenge has slightly more variable level designs compared to its predecessor. There are now breakable walls, which you can find more Golden Gems and even enemies hidden within. And often, you will see indents in the walls showing a rotating Golden Gem, telling you that there are hidden entrances in the walls. So now, you have to pay more attention to the level designs, as it’s easier to miss Golden Gems this time around.
There are also collectible CDs, which are just basically unlockable music tracks you can play in the Sound Test room. They’re not necessary to collect but nice to have.
So if you’re already familiar with the original game, you know what to expect and you’ll probably enjoy this title. It’s still got that pseudo-retro aesthetic that is like a cross between 8-bit and 16-bit graphics. Some of the levels, in terms of both aesthetic and level design, can across as “same-y” compared to the levels of the game’s predecessor. And sadly, there aren’t really new Mudd enemies either, unless you count the corporeal forms of certain Mudds that were originally exclusive ghost enemies.
The music as usual is great. While some tracks did get recycled from Mutant Mudds, the new chiptunes are just as catchy.
However, the one great thing about Mutant Mudds Super Challenge is that…
By completing all of the levels in a certain area and finding all of their collectibles, you can fight that area’s boss. This is the one thing that was missing from the original Mutant Mudds, which was pretty jarring to say the least. One might even say anti-climactic.
As for the bosses themselves, they’re not bad but require a great deal of dodging to expose their weak points (green hearts) and damage them. And you still only have 3 HP with no hope of healing yourself, so… yeah… good luck!
When all is said and done, I do believe the levels in Mutant Mudds Super Challenge are better than that of the original Mutant Mudds. Well, generally speaking. If there’s a complaint about the game I have, it’s that some levels felt tedious for the sake of being tedious.
Because why bother with platforming challenges when you can just copy and paste the same damage-sponge enemy on multiple platforms just to waste your time?
Thankfully, this doesn’t happen often so I can forgive annoyances like these.
The last thing I would like to bring up is that this game does have unlockable characters. And the reason I decided to bring it up last is because, well… I played through the entirety of Mutant Mudds Super Challenge without unlocking a single character. And that’s because they’re really easy to miss.
For one thing, you need to enter a V-Land or a G-Land level. Then you need to find a hidden entrance in a wall, which can be literally ANYWHERE in the level including places where you need to take a leap of faith. So really, it’s just a bunch of guesswork at this point.
Once you found the hidden entrance, you must enter the hidden door which takes you to a secret location with the unlockable character. Then you need to complete the rest of the level to be able to play as that character. Then to play as that character, you need to select him/her in the game’s menu before you select your save file.
The cool thing about these characters is that most of them are actually characters from indie games and other games developed by small developers, including very familiar ones like Abe, Shovel Knight and Shantae. Unfortunately, they all play exactly the same as Max, so they’re more like character skins.
Tch. That’s a lot of work just to get character skins. Compare to the original Mutant Mudds, which made unlockable characters hidden in the ghost levels and in plain sight. And they played like Grannie instead too. Much more bearable and less trial and error.
Here’s a list of the characters, based on this Steam guide by L-r | BC.
- Rusty (SteamWorld Dig)
- Rhode Island Smith (Treasurenauts)
- Xoda (Noitu)
- Bomb Monkey (Bomb Monkey)
- Dave Lonuts (Woah Dave!)
- ATV Guy (ATV Wild Ride)
- King (Mercenary Kings)
- Shuri (Treasurenauts)
- Pip (Adventures of Pip)
- Traitor Mudd (original character)
- Commander Video (Bit.Trip series)
- Kevin Cassidy (creator of the website GoNintendo)
- Player (Retro City Rampage)
- Mr. Invisible (original character)
- Teslakid (Teslagrad)
- Abe (Oddworld series)
- Captain Viridian (VVVVVV)
- Shovel Knight (Shovel Knight)
- Shantae (Shantae series)
- Xeodrifter (Xeodrifter)
Overall, I enjoyed my playthrough of Mutant Mudds Super Challenge and do think it’s a better game than its predecessor. But this is coming from a player who enjoys challenging platformers, so you might be better off starting off with the original Mutant Mudds first to see if you like the gameplay style before you try playing this title. But if you really want to go all the way with the Mutant Mudds series, I recommend getting the Mutant Mudds Collection for the Nintendo Switch, which includes:
- Mutant Mudds (Deluxe edition)
- Mutant Mudds Super Challenge
- Mudd Blocks (exclusive spinoff title)
Super Challenge is a highly overlooked indie title and I recommend checking it out if challenging platformers are your thing. While I would love to see a sequel to this title (seeing as how the story ended on a cliffhanger), this probably won’t happen as developer Renegade Kid went out of business.
It’s a shame too, as I would’ve loved to play as Grannie fighting the Mudds at their homeworld, finishing the job while going through some of the toughest challenges that the Mutant Mudds series has yet.
Mutant Mudds Super Challenge9.99
- Solid level design for players who enjoy challenges and/or are masochists.
- Great pseudo-retro visuals, just as with the previous game.
- Very catchy chiptunes.
- The addition of boss fights, which were sorely needed in the previous game.
- Some of the levels can get quite tedious to the point of not being fun.
- The unlockable characters are very easy to miss due to being hidden in secret spots.