[Mutant Mudds Title Screen]

System: Nintendo 3DS
Publisher & Designer: Renegade Kid
Release Date: January 2012
Genre: Action/Platformer
Players: 1
Save Feature? Yes

Retro fans rejoice! Mutant Mudds harkens back to the days of yesteryear yet embraces the way-cool 3D capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS handheld. If you grew up playing the NES (or heck...the Commodore 64!), you will gobble this game right up!

Overview: When I first heard about a game entitled "Mutant Mudds" being made for the Nintendo 3DS via the eShop Channel, I had two reactions. The first was a hearty laugh due to the game's goofy name (I am sure that many of you probably had a similar reaction.) However, the second reaction was something along the lines of "You know, this game might actually be really GOOD!" I mean, the gorgeous pixelated graphics and old-school Commodore 64-esque soundtrack looked promising and the intuitive 2D-yet-3D gameplay seemed somewhat original for a game of this nature. Mutant Mudds was definitely a game that I wanted to dig my hands into out of sheer curiosity if nothing else.

After having played through the game myself, I can say that Mutant Mudds is quite the enjoyable experience and is definitely one of the 3DS' early hidden gems. The game's accessibility and tried-and-true platforming gameplay will certainly appeal to the old-school crowd although I wouldn't see why video game newbies wouldn't enjoy this game either. It's just one of those games that is a perfect fit for a portable gaming system.

The gameplay is quite intriguing too. Basically, you control a rad-looking blond dude and embark on a quest to rid the world of its mud-infested invaders. In addition to the standard jumping and shooting mechanics, Mutant Mudds adds some extra depth here and there in an attempt to keep the experience fresh and new. Along with the ability to temporarily hover thanks to said blond dude's jetpack (this ability feels a lot like Firebrand's flying ability in the Gargoyle's Quest series), there are sections in each level where you literally jump into the distance or possibly into the foreground which adds a nice layer of depth.

In addition to the fun gameplay mechanics, Mutant Mudds also contains plenty of secrets and surprises. Literally every level in the game contains a secret door hidden somewhere in the stage and what's really cool about this is that these secret levels are essentially tributes to the classic Game Boy and Virtual Boy handhelds! It was truly a blast from the past to suddenly find myself in a completely new area reminiscent of handheld gaming days from long ago. For a second, I thought that I had jumped right into a retro Game Boy or Virtual Boy game pak!


[Duck!]


Graphics: Giving an honest critique of the graphics in Mutant Mudds is actually quite tricky given that this game was specifically intended for the retro crowd. It's a lot like reviewing Mega Man 9 or 10 to be truthful. This is not a bad thing but any stretch...it is just tricky.

For what it was designed to be, I thought that Mutant Mudds was very impressive visually! The classic pixelated characters and enemies look superb and I love some of the little animations such as Mudds exploding and whatnot. The surrounding visuals are crisp and clear as well and there is just a real polish to everything.

What really stands out to me is the depth thanks to the 3D capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS. Although this is certainly a lovefest designed to appeal to the retro crowd, Mutant Mudds proudly harnesses enough of the 3DS' power to dazzle at times. I appreciate the depth that is created by having areas in the background as well as the foreground that the hero can jump "into" at times. This feature gives the game some much-needed extra layers (kind of like ogres and onions!) Granted, Mutant Mudds isn't exactly cutting edge in the visual department and it doesn't even come close to reaching the high standard set by The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D or Super Mario 3D Land but it is still an impressive performance albeit an inferior one.

Music: I can't lie. One of the main reasons why I decided to purchase Mutant Mudds was actually the game's music. If you grew up playing classic 8-bit games, particularly games for the Commodore 64, you simply must play Mutant Mudds! For fellow NES fans, the music in this game is similar in style to M.C. Kids or one of Camerica's games such as Micro Machines. The Super Turrican games for the Super NES also come to mind. Granted, not everyone prefers this "wavy synth" style of music but for fellow gamers from the NES/C64 era, it sure is nostalgic hearing this classic style again! And Mutant Mudds delivers in a big way because all of the music in this game is very pleasant, appropriate, and helps to shape and create the game's unique atmosphere.

Play Control: If you have any experience with retro action/platformers, you will pick up Mutant Mudds' control scheme within mere seconds. The gameplay mechanics are very polished and easy to use and honestly, I have no real qualms with the game's controls. And that is coming from someone who has played a lot of platformers (including ones that feature incredible controls such as the Mario, Mega Man, and Ninja Gaiden games).


[A nice nod to the Virtual Boy!]


Challenge: Mutant Mudds truly is a homage to retro gaming in every way and that includes its old-school challenge level. While the main game is rather moderate in terms of its difficulty (although Level 5-4 was downright evil at times), the game's secret levels are where you will find your hardcore challenge. Some of them are insanely difficult and, should you succeed in reaching those glorious water sprites at the end of the muddy lairs, you will feel relieved beyond imagination. The good news is that the game's many secret areas give Mutant Mudds a nice dose of replay value and you will undoubtedly have your mettle tested through and through before you reach 100% completion.

Storyline: As you would probably expect coming from a game with a name like "Mutant Mudds," there isn't a whole lot that this game offers in terms of story. What story there is, though, is at least mildly amusing. Simply put, the game's hero along with his grandma are just chilling and relaxing at home (the blond dude is even playing a 3DS!) when suddenly, out of the blue, an alien "Mudd" invasion takes place! This naturally results in our favorite blond dude (the guy needs a name DANG IT!) having to put his 3DS in Sleep Mode for the time being, strapping on a water gun, and letting some H2O fly!


[Watch out! Those platforms are slippery!]


Funfactor: It isn't really all that revolutionary or original when you delve into the meat of the game, but Mutant Mudds is still good clean fun (no pun intended). Particularly for platforming gamers who grew up playing games from the 8 and 16-bit era, Mutant Mudds is truly a must-have item! It is quite addictive honestly and is one of those games that has a lot to offer...especially for the $7.99 price tag. Heck, we would have likely paid $40-50 for a game like this back in the late 80s and early 90s, so what are you waiting for? Download the game already! Is that clear as mud? Good!

Negatives: Unless you are one of those haughty next-gen, cutting-edge gamers who absolutely despises classic platforming gaming (What is wrong with you?!), it is hard to pinpoint any glaring flaws in Mutant Mudds. Granted, the story isn't exactly on an epic scale but that is all too typical of a game like this. And like with all great platformers, I wouldn't have had a problem with the game being a bit longer. Still, for a downloadable title, you really can't complain about what we did get.

[An eye for an eye...]

Ratings: Graphics: 4.1 Music: 4.0 Play Control: 4.2 Challenge: 4.0 Storyline: 3.5 Funfactor: 4.0 Overall Score: 23.8 out of 30.0 Overall Rating: Unsung Hero

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Last Updated: February 20, 2013
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