Mutant Mudds was one of my favorite games released last year. While some may bill it as a “slow” platformer, I heartily enjoyed the Gargoyle’s Quest “hover” style technical gameplay, and it offered up some of the most challenging retro tasks in recent memory outside of Super Meat Boy.
Now, developer Renegade Kid is ready to unleash the Deluxe version, exclusively for the Wii U. To be blunt, it’s the definitive version of the game, even if it doesn’t offer as much new content as one would hope.
So what’s on offer this time around? Well, basically you’re getting the core game’s 40 levels, the 20 from the Grannie update, and 20 new “ghost” levels. While these new levels are technically remixes of the game’s original stages, they have enough personality on their own to feel unique.
Firstly, you’ll immediately recognize the fact that in this new area that all enemies all ghosts, and ghosts can’t be killed outside of the scantly supplied buster scattered across some levels — and even then, they quickly re-materialize. Since you can’t destroy the vast majority of enemies you come across, you’ll have to dodge them — adding another layer to the game, which makes it feel even less action oriented (that’s a good thing, in terms of mixing up the pacing). If you go for every bit of the 100 collectibles found in every level, you’ll find some of the most difficult challenges yet, as you attempt to best a legion of invulnerable enemies. The entire area and all its levels are also themed with proper spooky graphics and sound which adds to the allure.
The only issue is that these 20 levels may not be enough to sway a fan who has beaten the original a million times over, since they are remixes, despite how extreme the overhaul may be. Even something as small as a new character or a new mode would have gone a long way in helping the case for a double, triple, or in some instances quadruple dip from the 3DS, PC, and iOS versions.
Otherwise, Deluxe is basically a 1:1 transition of the excellent original game, with beautiful new polished visuals, and the ability to play on a giant screen, which makes some of those pixel perfect jumps much more manageable. The game’s original 40 levels still hold up very well, and some of the latter ones are still extremely challenging. The Grannie levels are basically a full test of your skills thus far, combining all three power-ups at once (of which the main protagonist, Max, can normally only use one at a time). While it may seem that using these three abilities (a powerful shot, longer hover, and a super jump) makes the game easier, the levels are designed to reflect that newfound power, and can get extremely interesting.
Just like the original, one of my favorite parts of the Mudds series are the little nuances that hearken back to the golden age of retro games — small graphical details that really show not only that the game was a labor of love, but that Renegade Kid actually played said retro games for inspiration. All of those details look even better in Deluxe, preserved in the new vibrant HD visuals — the same goes for the catchy chiptunes soundtrack (with all new music for the ghost levels), and deliciously retro sound effects.
Mutant Mudds Deluxe supports remote play, but you shouldn’t use it unless you absolutely have to. While it technically looks great on the GamePad and the pad itself is an extremely adequate control option, the view is zoomed in more than your average TV screen (roughly at a larger ratio than the 3DS), so it’s hard to gauge the next jump or see beyond a small field of view. Thankfully, the game supports the GamePad, Wii U Pro Controllers, Classic Controllers, and Wiimote/Plus options, all of which work just fine (especially the Wii U Pro Controller). It’s a wonderful addition that every developer should take advantage of if possible, as the wealth of increased control options is one of the biggest strengths of the Wii U.
While Deluxe could have brought more new content to the table, it preserves the core Mutant Mudds experience to perfection, and then some. If you haven’t played Mutant Mudds to death already, the new ghost levels offer up enough of a challenge to make it worthwhile, and newcomers should not miss this chance to introduce themselves to a modern classic.
This review is based on a digital copy of the Wii U game Mutant Mudds Deluxe.