Growing up as a purely Nintendo kid sometime in the early 2010’s is honestly one of the more awkward phases of my life to reflect back on. Especially back in the launch era of something like the 3DS where you didn’t have much to mess around with, wouldn’t it make you wish you had almost anything to go to? Not to brush over my time with the Wii U as it’s still as strange of a time as the early 3DS, but the Wii U isn’t as relevant as the 3DS in this sort of retrospective I’m having here so I’ll focus primarily on what gets me to the experience I know of now. In a time without much first-party output to consider, a newly launched eShop with potentially a whole treasure trove of third-party and indie titles to await you would likely be your next best bet. Hell, not even considering the re-releases of DSiWare titles you could get into, there could be some new downloadable game out there that could make some cool looking use of your glasses free 3D screen! One game of this like in particular known as Mutant Mudds was so well known for these circumstances that it has transcended the boundary of the 3D gimmick over time and made it’s mark on numerous other systems. It sure caught my attention when I was a lot younger, but… I never actually ended up trying it. Sure, I had interest in it, but I used my occasional eShop funds on games like EDGE instead. I always kept wondering what all the fuss with this game was about for years on end, but only occasionally I suppose. That was until somewhere around about a year and a half ago (as of writing this), I wanted to play something on a whim as I usually do so finally caved into my passing interest in the original Mutant Mudds.
What followed was… unfortunately one of the more unpleasant surprises I had gone through in recent times. A thin veil of odd memories had vanished and revealed nothing more than a vapid and exhausting husk that only had this sort of leverage because it came out in the right place at the right time. Sorry if I’m being intensively uncharitable towards it, but I’m being honest when I say that I had expected some cute and neat little romp like everyone I had heard say it was. I’m familiar with a bunch of “cute and fun little romps” and I know one when I play one and Mutant Mudds had dropped the ball on everything I was hoping for. Every minute passing while I was playing I kept getting more and more upset, stagnated in discomfort all throughout my trudging, and I had only come out of it being cemented as one of my most reviled experiences in video games as a whole. Even afterward, I couldn’t help but make my hate for this game be known on some occasions. Some people who know me in certain places may recognize the times where I did this, even. I was around this site at the time of this happening and made my own review of it here
in the initial moment of my anger, coined by my old and uninspired writing style. I can’t exactly look back fondly on it with how clunky all of my writing was back then, but it’s there regardless.
But enough of all this self depreciation over old writing tendencies, and enough of all this talk about the original Mutant Mudds! That game was only the FIRST half of this saga! You see, several years after it’s initial and acclaimed launch, Mutant Mudds ended up getting a sequel. A sequel in the form of a title known as SUPER CHALLENGE. It boasts about this new title as it now has a whole bunch of NEW LEVELS to blast through! It has the new addition of BOSS FIGHTS to beat down! But most importantly, it’s called SUPER CHALLENGE for a reason, cause this stuff is MADE to be HARD! Casual players beware! This stuff’s only for the REAL hardened players! EACH and EVERY new level in this game is made from the ground up to TEST you to your CORE! You will DIE and DIE again as this game puts you THROUGH THE WRINGER with our TOUGH AS HELL CHALLENGES! Think you’re up to the task, PUNK?
Well, I wanted to be. All jokes and exaggerations aside, I actually went into Super Challenge hoping to find something of worth to come out with, despite all of my expectations yelling at me that I wasn’t going to get anything of the sort. But unfortunately my expectations were right, as this one ended up discomforting and upsetting me to the exact same degree that the first game did, all due to one extremely fatal issue I have with it.
It’s still just Mutant Mudds.
I probably should’ve just accepted that I was never going to enjoy more Mutant Mudds in the first place. Max never felt good to control, he was always sluggish as hell and felt disgustingly stiff with every possible maneuver. The jumping and air control never felt good either, with it all just relying on the jetpack (that is also stiff as hell) to do a lot of the work for no good reason. Enemy control was always frustrating to deal with, as you can only aim in 2 directions and have little to no options other than to deal with everything from a distance one at a time. Obstacles were always frustrating as none of them felt set up well together and often just resulted in an instant death if the cycles were wrong. I have so many complaints like these that all add up into one big reason as to why Mutant Mudds is one of my least favorite games ever made. They’re all simple to list down and take not much thought at all to because that’s all that this game has. It’s always just been simply awful in my eyes, and that probably wasn’t going to change no matter what I did. Hell, I was going into this hoping that something would change. I was generous enough to give this some sincere consideration, but no. I should’ve accepted that no amount of curated level design would have ever changed this.
But then, as I ventured into Super Challenge, my worst nightmare slowly ended up coming to fruition. Accepting all of that wouldn’t have even mattered at all. The problem with it all being the same doesn’t just extend to the mechanics themselves, oh no no no. EVERYTHING
here is the same to a whole worse degree. There is no curated level design here. All of it’s tendencies from the first game are all completely intact. Everything that colluded together to make everything so rancid and nonfunctional with each other is all back, and this time it’s amped up to a frankly sickening degree. I can go over more complaints that I didn't mention earlier here that can fit as they fit in with the problem with the level designs. The huge thing with it placing enemies together in a way that makes the most optimal way forward to painstakingly clear the way forward through as much as you can each bit at a time, every single time. Enemies placed in ways that enforces the insufferable uncoordinated cycle hell you go through all the time. Obstacles placed together in a way that never properly sync or coordinate in ways that feel fair or engaging. I feel like I could repeat on and on about the enemies or the cycles with how much they never feel like thought was put into them. In fact, nothing about this level design feels like enough thought was put into it at all or ever mixes well and always feels like how it actually plays was never considered. The more I try to go on about what in this bothers me the more I lose hope that I can properly elaborate or give a well thought out write up on this. Hell, why not just show you a scenario like this
? Or this
? Because I’m so completely inept at writing that a simple screenshot like one of these can just explain to you how every single problem in this level design boils down to without even a single word needing to be said! Why even bother?! All it even did this time around was just double down on every single thing that didn’t work! Why did I even bother with Mutant Mudds at all?!
Sorry, I need to calm down.
I need to stop dwelling too hard on things like these. I can’t help but think lesser of me when I see someone on here write something super extensive and thought out. It’s part of the reason why I’ve tried to sever myself off of my old clunky writing from my older reviews, like my earlier example of the one I gave out for the first game, in exchange for becoming as extensive and articulate as I can in a chance to become like those highly lauded around here. I just can’t help but only think of a few things like these to list out as to why I think Mutant Mudds is so bad, but perhaps that’s emblematic of it’s failures. I did try my best to see what people saw in this series, to even giving Super Challenge a genuine effort despite hating the first one. Someone else could come by and explain why Mutant Mudds as a whole fails at everything it sets out to do better than I could, but it can’t exactly change the effort I put in, so maybe I tried hard enough. It’s about time I threw in the towel here anyway, I’ve seen about enough.
But as a final sort of thing I want to go on about, I’m not opposed to having abrasive design, hell I’m even all for it in a lot of cases. It’s why I find myself enjoying a bunch of super tough pinpoint precision platformers in recent times. But the way this was handled is in several ways, simply appalling. It’s a complete bastardization of the concept of invigorating challenge that I’ve grown to love that all comes together into a product that I can only describe as the precision platformer being reduced down to it’s most graceless form, and it’s honestly quite a disgusting sight to see.