Mutant Mudds Super Challenge (PS4) Review

Mud Max

The original Mutant Mudds was a challenging platformer that put players into the shoes of Max, a boy with a water cannon and a jetpack. It was a difficult game that took advantage of the Nintendo 3DS’ 3D function, allowing you to jump back and forth between layers of background and foreground. Mutant Mudds Super Challenge is a new entry that takes the assets and gameplay from the original and remixes them into tough-as-nails levels.

Gameplay

Like its predecessor, you play as Max, whose sole mission is to stop mud creatures by collecting a water sprite at the end of each level. Once again, you are armed with a water cannon that can shoot bubble bullets at foes. Pressing the jump button twice activates your jetpack, allowing you to hover over short distances. The hover is limited, but you can shoot enemies, turn around, or end the hover at any time while in midair. This leads to tight controls that give you opportunities to perform slick moves while avoiding danger. At certain launch points, you can jump between different layers of background and foreground. While this may work in the 3DS version, playing on a non-3D system makes this process a little frustrating. If you’re in the background, foreground obstacles will sometimes block your view. Conversely, being in the plane closest to the screen can be disorienting.

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One-hit-kill spikes are a super challenge.

Anyone familiar with the original Mutant Mudds will have no trouble getting re-acquainted with the gameplay. This is done purposefully since developer Renegade Kid’s purpose is to challenge veteran players. The level is methodically designed to take advantage of your tight jetpack controls. One-hit-kill spikes, bottomless pits, and rounds of enemies constantly stand in your way, usually requiring you to use up the maximum length of your jetpack’s hover. Enemies return from the original game, including mud piles that shoot projectiles and flying mud balls that drop bombs. Ghost enemies that cannot be attacked without a special weapon also make a comeback. Further increasing the difficulty, enemies are placed in locations between spikes and pits, and you have to master shooting at targets while hovering to avoid death. Later levels throw in slippery ice, poisonous bubbles, and clouds that blow you into the foreground. Instant death aside, you only get three hits before having to start over. The game realizes how hard it is and keeps track of your death count, with a counter that goes into the millions. Even then, conquering each level is rewarding, and deaths never feel unfair. Generous mid-level checkpoints and unlimited continues encourage you in the face of adversity.

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Go between foreground and background to complete levels.

As fun as the challenge is, this is not a game for beginners. Even the first stage is brutal and will likely take a good toll on your death count. The learning curve is almost non-existent, and there is no tutorial. From the get-go, you are expected to know how to play and be really good at it. Players new to the series shouldn’t start with this entry but instead play the original Mutant Mudds first.

It can be a struggle for even the best players of Mutant Mudds, but the game thankfully provides three useful power-ups from the get-go. A stronger water cannon extends the reach of your bubble shots, a high-jump allows you to reach new heights and can be used as a form of double jump, and an extended hover doubles your air time. You can only have one power-up at a time, but each one is extremely useful. In addition, you usually need a particular power-up to unlock the hidden bonus level in each stage. They take you to V-Land and G-Land, with color palettes reminiscent of the Virtual Boy and Game Boy, respectively. These levels are almost as long and just as difficult as the ones they are hidden within. They also include their own end-of-level water sprites, effectively doubling the total level count.

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Ahh, that nostalgic Game Boy green in G-Land. V-Land comes in glorious red.

Each of the 20 levels and additional bonus levels houses 100 collectible coins. The coins provide added difficulty and finding them all will require some exploration, including locating secret entrances in walls. These entrances are sometimes hard to identify, and the game only vaguely hints at their locations by showing you a small slit at the wall. Thankfully, you only need to collect each coin once per playthrough, so you can focus on missed coins on your return trip. Unlike other platformers where the coins are extra collectibles, you must obtain all coins in each world’s level to fight the corresponding world’s boss.

Bosses are brand new to the series and are well-implemented. Each boss is unique and provides either a platforming challenge or a tricky puzzle. It’s a surprise that Renegade Kid hadn’t included boss fights in the original because its clever boss encounters work well with the Mega Man-like action.

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Bosses are new to the Mutant Mudds series, and they’re better late than never.

Graphics & Sound

The retro sprite-based graphics return in Super Challenge and look as wonderful as ever. The game sports an upgraded 8-bit artstyle that is more colorful and detailed than an NES game could ever handle. The goofy expressions on enemies and Max’s lovable idle animations bring the game to life. The music is just as lovingly made, with novel catchy chiptunes accompanying the new stages. Retro music fans can collect hidden CDs in each stage, awarding one of the background tunes in the sound test.

Conclusion

Mutant Mudds Super Challenge is a welcome return to Max’s sprite-based world of tight controls and inventive hover-based platforming. With 40 levels and 100 required collectible coins in each, the amount of playtime depends largely on players’ skills. Intentionally tough but fair, the level design tests even the most hardcore players, and cruel bosses may impede progress indefinitely. Regardless, the challenge is very fulfilling and will leave you wanting more after the credits roll. Beginners beware: play Mutant Mudds first to learn the ropes. Once you’ve mastered that, take on the Super Challenge if you dare.

Score: 8/10

Note: A PS4 review copy of this game was played for this article. This review was posted on Darkstation.

What are your thoughts on Mutant Mudds Super Challenge? Have you played the original Mutant Mudds on 3DS or another system? What are some of your favorite indie platformer games? Please share any thoughts you have in the comments section below!

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21 thoughts on “Mutant Mudds Super Challenge (PS4) Review

  1. Great review Mr. Panda! It’s good to know that this isn’t a game for newer players. Sounds pretty challenging, but in a fun way unlike Mighty No. 9… I remember Mutant Mudds being a big deal when indie games were appearing on the Nintendo eShop. I’m sure players of the first game will get a kick out of the sequel. Which reminds me, I need to check out the original too! I think Fantastic job as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much as always for all your support and consistent comments! It’s a great game, though I would heavily recommend playing the original Mutant Mudds first, both to see if you like it and also to learn the gameplay style. I recommend the 3DS version the most for the original to take advantage of the 3D, though it’s out on a lot of systems. I believe the most recent version of it is Mutant Mudds Deluxe, which is more or less an expansion that adds the ghosts and Granny level DLC from the original. Anyway, hope you enjoy it if you try it out! The original was one of my first eShop indie games, so I really like it! This sequel is more of a good thing! Thanks again for your kind words!

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  2. A death counter that goes into the millions you say?! That sounds brutal! =P

    I am glad the checkpoints seem to be fairly placed.

    I still need to play the original Mutant Muds. It has always been on my radar, but I have never gotten to it for some reason.

    Great review as usual!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for the comments! It does go into the millions! It didn’t take me that long to get through it, fortunately. Otherwise, the review wouldn’t have been up for a few months, haha. Also, there is only one checkpoint in each level (and one in each bonus level). However, the original (non-DLC) version had no checkpoints, so this is an improvement. You can turn off checkpoints if you want to see your death counter go into the millions though!

      The original is worth playing, and seems to go on sale every so often both on eShop and other stores. It even released on iOS, though I can’t play that version at all… It’s best on 3DS because of the use of 3D if you like that. It’s much like this except easier, so start with that one first. It’s a fully-featured game.

      Thank you very much as always for your kind words! I appreciate them!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent comments! Actually, the original Mutant Mudds concept was a 3D platformer akin to Super Mario Sunshine in which you shot mudballs and used your jetpack, except in a 3D environment. So your description of a 2D SMS is exactly what the series became! Super Challenge is very fun, though it’s better to go through the latter game, especially since there are tutorials. This game assumes you know what you’re doing from the first level, so the difficulty is crazy from the beginning. I lost many lives to the first level alone! Thank you so much for the kind comments!

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    1. Thanks as always for your excellent comments and nice words! I love the retro style of this game, both in aesthetics and challenge. I could see it being on a GBC or at least the GBA. For some reason, I feel very nostalgic for GBC now!

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  3. Yikes. Undecided on whether I should get this. I mean it sounds good, especially the bosses and retro themed levels, but I couldn’t beat the last level of the original. And this sounds like it’ll START at that difficulty. If that’s true though I appreciate your review nonetheless, as I might purchased this and subsequently regretted it when I couldn’t beat it. Very helpful review!

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    1. It starts beyond the difficulty of the last one, for sure. It’s hard to gauge at first if you haven’t played the first one in a while, so I had to actually go back and replay the first one to remember how that was. So I can safely say that Super Challenge is much harder, though doable if you’re familiar with the gameplay at all. That said, I do warn in my review that although the game is great, it’s primarily made for those seeking an intense version of the original. I can see how frustrating it might be to get the game and realize it’s way too hard though, since it difficulty isn’t that obvious at the start even with the words, “Super Challenge.” Thanks for the comments!

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  4. This game is definitely HARD. I played the one given out for PS Plus a while ago and I was absolutely destroyed, even in the first stage. I don’t think I played very much of it, which was a shame, since I loved the art. Maybe I should revisit it.

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    1. Was the one given out for PS Plus, Mutant Mudds Deluxe? That’s also hard and introduces the difficult ghosts. Super Challenge is like that game except even harder, assuming that’s the game you were talking about. I love the visuals and music as well! Mutant Mudds and Deluxe are worth revisiting if you have it and haven’t got past it. Super Challenge is for if you’re ready after playing all that! Thank you for your awesome comments!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup. I made a mistake there. Thought the Deluxe was this game, then I remembered that was on PS Plus a while ago, so couldn’t be Super Challenge. I think Deluxe is the enhanced version of the original game? I’m not sure I can handle Super Challenge in that case. Haha. But I’ll definitely give Deluxe another try. Thanks for your awesome review 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yup, Deluxe is the enhanced version, but the added elements are still hard. And yes, in that case, Super Challenge is a notch above that game in difficulty. To be fair, although it’s hard, it’s doable, but certainly give Deluxe another try before tackling this one. If you crave more, Super Challenge is an option. Thank you again for your kind words!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. It sounds interesting but I’d have to see how frustrated the original would make me first. The idea of collecting stuff in the levels does sound up my alley, though. I HAVE played Xeodrifter, which is made by the same developer. Have you checked that one out at all? As for the question on some of my favorite indie platformers, I’d probably go with Shovel Knight, Rogue Legacy, and Axiom Verge as the ones that come to mind, granted the latter two are not primarily grounded in that genre. I think they still count.

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    1. The first Mutant Mudds is difficult, but is very doable. That said, if you do find yourself frustrated by it, you might not like this harder installment. I have played Xeodrifter and overall liked it. This is similar to that game, except without the Metroid-like gameplay. Renegade Kid did add bosses which was something that they had in Xeodrifter. Shovel Knight is excellent, though I have yet to play the other two you mentioned. I’ve heard great things about Axiom Verge though, so I might have to check it out!

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      1. If you like Metroid games, you’ll like Axiom Verge. Plus, now it’s on Wii U! So I’ll have to get it there eventually as well. I’ve got more to do in Shovel Knight, such as try out the amiibo, play the 3DS version, and then do the upcoming campaigns. Rogue Legacy was the reason I got Steam, and I managed to put in 96 hours in my first playthrough. It’s one of my favorites of all time, so I would highly recommend checking it out if you can. I don’t know that it’s on the newer systems, but you can get it on Steam for 15 bucks or probably considerably cheaper with the upcoming Halloween sale that will surely bring it down to only a few bucks again. I DID consider the pack with Xeodrifter and Mutant Mudds on Steam before too, but it’s hard to get things there that I can get on my 3DS/Wii U. (PS. I’m super glad I have a Wii U now finally! Woo!)

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      2. I do prefer playing games on 3DS/Wii U, and I’m glad that Axiom Verge is on Wii U now. It’s definitely a game that’s been on my radar since it came out on other systems.

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      3. Oh yeah. I couldn’t wait. I heard about it and the only thing I could get it on was my computer… and it runs on my crappy computer even! It’s especially cool if you’re on a Metroid high, but it offers a lot more variety in your arsenal of guns to make the combat more strategic.

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