Thanks to Renegade Kid for the review code
Title: Mutant Mudds Super Challenge
System: Nintendo 3DS/Wii U (eShop)
Release date: 3/17/2016
The main game/story
Continuing shortly after the 100% ending of Mutant Mudds Deluxe, Max heads off to a new region, where he must discover more about the meteor that summoned the mudds to the planet. A fairly basic plot, similar to the last installment, while the gameplay is left nearly untouched for the most part. Essentially, this is Sonic and Knuckles to Mutant Mudds’ Sonic 3, basically being a “part 2” of the previous game, though since the games don’t really have a story, a playthrough of the original isn’t required to understand anything.
Nearly every standard enemy and character is recycled from Mutant Mudds Deluxe, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as that also means the superb animation returns. There are plenty of new backdrops for each of the worlds now, and the bosses are all new creations, making it have a very delicate yet effective mix of old and new elements.
Music and Sound
Unlike the visuals, every song that plays during the main game are brand new tracks, not recycled tracks! (Except technically in the ghost levels, which have their themes recycled from the Mutant Mudds Deluxe update. However since Deluxe wasn’t the original version of that game, I’ll consider those tunes compositions for this game instead.) These tracks are just as well made as the ones from the original game were, making these a lovely treat to the ears!
For those who like the songs from the original game, don’t worry! Throughout each stage there’s a CD available for you to hunt down, which when obtained, will unlock a song in the new Jukebox room. The Jukebox room contains every old song from Mutant Mudds Deluxe and the new songs from Super Challenge, essentially combining two stellar soundtracks into one.
In terms of the gameplay, it’s pretty much unchanged from the original. You go into a level, collect all the diamonds you can find, grab the water gem at the end, and move onto the next level. However, Mutant Mudds Super Challenge adds a few new tweaks that makes the overall experience more enjoyable than the original. The biggest change that I noticed was that all the powerups are available from the beginning; no having to clear 16 levels perfectly anymore! This pretty much eliminates the biggest problem I had with the original Mutant Mudds, which forced you to wait until you progressed later in the game to visit the secret levels in earlier worlds, essentially making it a case of forced backtracking. In this game, you can go straight into any secret level you desire. You still have to have the correct powerup, but since you no longer have to wait until a certain point to unlock them, you could pretty much go straight to 4-4’s secret level as the first level in the game if you wanted to! Speaking of secret levels, they now have diamonds as well, which means you now have to 100% those levels like you would the ordinary levels, instead of just reaching the goal like in Mutant Mudds Deluxe.
The next big addition are bosses. While I won’t explain too much on these, they are great additions that are more or less like mini puzzles of sorts, requiring you to think hard in order to find the weak point. Similar to the levels, trial and error is the key to victory, which simply means that practice makes perfect. Outside of the brand new additions to Super Challenge, there are a few minor tweaks and additions ones along with some carried over from the numerous Mutant Mudds updates, such as checkpoints and ghost levels.
Checkpoints work as you expect them to, allowing you to temporarily save your progress up to the checkpoint, allowing you to restart back from the checkpoint upon death. This helps improve the game balance tremendously, as there are infinite continues, essentially making sure that if you have these on, every level can be completed 100% with enough patience and memorization of enemies and hazards. A small, yet notable change regarding the checkpoints is that they now fully heal you when you pass by them for the first time, essentially making them the only healing item of any kind in the game. That being said, there’s also an option to disable the checkpoints entirely, for those who want to challenge themselves even more. Combine that with a no death 100% run, and you could easily make an insanely difficult challenge for yourself!
Yes, a “no death 100% run”, since this game now counts the total amount of deaths you take during the entire game, autosaving after each and every one of them. This essentially gives the game incredibly high replay value, as even though you might be good enough to eventually 100% the game the first time, you might be like me and ended up dying around 610 times in the process. Therefore, replays are encouraged, as each new file would help get you a step closer to that precious 0 death counter, which is yet another challenge for the most dedicated gamers.
The next big leftover from the Mutant Mudds updates are the ghost levels. Unlike Mutant Mudds Deluxe where the ghost levels were essentially “second quest” versions of the normal stages, the ghost levels in Mutant Mudds Super Challenge are the third level in every world, consisting of entirely new levels revolving around dodging the ghosts. This includes the secret levels in these stages as well! Just like in Mutant Mudds Deluxe, ghosts are invincible without a special black water gun, which is only given to you in rare circumstances with an ammo of ten shots, forcing you to carefully dodge the enemies like an obstacle course. After their mediocre showing in Mutant Mudds Deluxe, it’s incredibly refreshing to see the ghost levels truly be their own beast, encouraging a lot of strategy from the player on how to get past them with as little damage as possible, especially if you’re going after 100%!
In conclusion, after a lot of hard work and training, I had a blast with Mutant Mudds Super Challenge. Despite initial fears of the game relying on cheap difficulty or some of the unfair level mechanics from Deluxe, (such as enemies that shoot you out of nowhere without any warning along with enemies that surprise you when doing a normal jump) I was honestly surprised by how well made this game is. What initially seemed like a level pack with cheap difficulty ended up feeling like a “part II” to the original game, not deviating too far but still maintaining the elements that made the original so fun to play. While this may be a “Super Challenge,” I didn’t find it overwhelmingly frustrating or cheap, more or less finding the difficulty curve similar to the NES game Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos, which is another very challenging, yet fair game that anyone can beat with enough practice.
Every death I suffered was due to bad timing or a reckless charge into enemy territory, and I never felt as if the game was going to pull a Battle Maison on me by spamming enemies all over the place. With practice and careful memorization, I was able to 100% the entire game in around 12 hours. Considering the price of $9.99 gets you both versions, (3DS/Wii U) Mutant Mudds Deluxe is a STEAL, combining the best elements of the first game along with a few new ones, while still keeping the controls familiar enough for any patient gamer to complete without any issues, even if they never touched the original title. The great replay value stemming from the death counter is also a relief to see, as it essentially encourages everyone to replay the game to completion over and over again, memorizing the game and finding the best routes to go to minimize the death count.
Somehow, someway, Renegade Kid struck gold with the difficulty balance, making the game challenging, yet rewarding, while also being accessible to new fans by teaching them the value of patience. This is how video game difficulty should be, and I’m very pleased to say that Renegade Kid made this title worth the wait. Even if you only have one of the two systems and therefore can’t do the Cross-buy promotion, buy it for your system of choice anyway, as this truly is a superb platformer that that should be on every Nintendo system. No excuses, buy this game as soon as you have the chance. I give Mutant Mudds Super Challenge a 10 out of 10, due to its incredible level design, soundtrack, and an essentially perfect difficulty balance. Do not miss out on this game.
Check out the Seafoam Gaming gameplay video for this game, here.