Version Tested: PS4
Available On: Nintendo 3DS, PC, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U
Developer: Renegade Kid
Publisher: Renegade Kid
Official Site: Nintendo.com
Release Date: 03-17-16
Where To Buy: PSN Store, Steam, Local Retailer
Only forty seconds into Renegade Kid’s Mutant Mudds Super Challenge, and I realized how severely I had underestimated the game’s level of difficulty. From the spiked obstacles to blasting the infamous Mudd Mutants to pieces, I just could not win. I don’t say that to be modest, either. Our protagonist, Max, met his untimely end sixty-one times in the first few stages because of me, and to die so frequently in such a small span of time is nothing short of a humbling experience. Shout out to the death counter for being a visual reminder of how great my skills are.
The high level of intensity is something fans have come to expect from Mutant Mudds, but Mutant Mudds Super Challenge has taken those expectations and tripled them. The gameplay is tight and fast-paced while you are in motion, as Max has to hover, jump, and blast his way through forty-five levels of extreme obstacles and platforms to reach the end.
Sometimes doing all three of these actions simultaneously is required in order to successfully complete the level. Because the controls are so rigid, it all makes for quick decision making and room for zero errors. Every jump, as well as every shot that you take at the Mudd Mutants is important. Just a slight walk to the left or too low of a jump to the right could mean instant death.
Behind all of this, Renegade Kid’s beloved platformer is actually a simplistic story. Max receives special Intel which reveals the location of the original meteor impact site and learns that Mutant Mudds are still being spawned from it. Max, armed with only a hover pack and a water cannon, sets out from a hideout to locate the meteor and rid the world of Mudd Mutants once and for all. You are free to hop from any of the worlds and their subsequent five levels at any given moment. The wandering, though minimal, is left in your hands, but even a simple choice like that offers an easy, relaxed balance to an otherwise crushing landscape of levels.
Speaking of crushing levels, Mutant Mudds Super Challenge is, as its description suggests, definitely for the ‘super’ fans. It is hard, and for some gamers, this could be the challenge that you are desperately seeking; but for others, the extreme obstacles and repeatedly dying to overcome them can be a real turnoff. Mutant Mudds Super Challenge is ‘super’ fun – until it’s not. When that finally happens, playing through it feels almost like a chore, like entertaining masochism’s unwanted stepchild. It feels like you could be doing ninety other things than watching Max die ninety times. You are thrust right into the action with the first stage, and you have to hover, duck, run, and shoot in such a quick succession that it’s clear you are expected to be familiar with the gameplay mechanics already.
The interesting thing about this game, however, is that you don’t really learn from your mistakes. You can die the same way, in the same spot, ten different times before a combination of skill and sheer luck finally kicks in and gets you past a given obstacle- something which is overwhelmingly satisfying when you are successful. The visuals are handled well, because the screen is expansive enough where you can see what lies ahead and prepare yourself accordingly…more than likely you are preparing yourself to die again, but let’s focus on the positives.
It is also seamless how Super Challenge combines a 2D platform with 3D layers like the foreground, middle ground, and background for Max to move between them with ease. It is a clever way to to keep you on your toes and to quickly adjust your focus to the new enemies that lie in wait.
Super Challenge deviates from what we have seen in a lot of platformers. The levels are not intent on tripping you up with new enemies or varying methods of gameplay. What you see in the first level in terms of enemies and obstacles is essentially what you get in the rest of the game, though each level combines these elements in their own unique ways. Coupled with a type of nostalgic, retro-esque soundtrack only adds to the gameplay experience.
The bosses are quite the challenge as well. They are designed to test your skills and are only unlocked after completing all of the regular and bonus stages in a ‘world’. While the bosses are difficult and a bit frustrating, they are a welcomed change to the usual gameplay, and force you to change your strategy up and think quickly on your feet.
Mutant Mudds Super Challenge is brutal, but it is not impossible, and this extremity is the beauty of the game. Renegade Kid has created a cleverly designed, uniquely challenging platformer that hardcore fans will undoubtedly enjoy. It offers hours of replay value, as well as dozens of secrets and collectibles throughout the levels. If this is your first go with the Mudd Mutants however, I would suggest trying your hand at the original game first.
- Gameplay: Challenging, forces you to contemplate your next move
- Graphics: Wonderfully pixelated visuals
- Sound: Great retro-style soundtrack
- Presentation: Overall a unique 2D platformer and a good follow up to the original
- Solid platforming action
- Challenging levels that require strategy
- Replay value
- May be too challenging, which can be a turnoff
Tori is a writer and gamer originally from Vault 111, but now she resides in Chicago. She has an MFA in creative writing-fiction, runs primarily on coffee, and is an expert on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Follow her on Twitter @torithatnerd.