Thanks to PQube for the review code
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 07/10/2018
Muddledash makes a decent first impression, going for a super cute art style reminding me of how some advertisements on Nick Jr looked like, with lots of colors on display to make this game easy on the eyes. The art style is clearly meant to appeal to young children as well as adults, and I feel that it does a great job with that goal. There’s some music that plays as you go on the races, but it’s mainly muted compared to the wacky sound effects, from how your octopus characters run to the clanky sound of attacking another player.
Starting up the game, the first thing you must be aware of is that Muddledash is 2-4 players only. If you’re a solo person, you can’t even do anything with this game, not even race against a CPU. A bit of an odd design choice to not be able to practice against CPUs, or fill the remaining spots with them if you only have one other person playing with you at a time, but that’s a strange design choice this game made, although not too much of a bothersome one since the Switch comes with two controllers by default.
Luckily, I knew this going in, and thus made sure to have a friend along to review this game with. Once you have enough players to play a game, you begin each session in an enclosed room where you can change the look of your characters, by changing their color and decorating them with a hat. Once your character is customized, you crouch down in a ditch before you and your friends are taken to a randomly generated maze.
Each level consists of the same simple goal of taking a present and running away from everyone else, making it to the end of the stage and delivering the present to a party. Your controls are very basic, with the left stick being used for movement and the Y button being used for attacks, while the B button is used to jump and the A button is used for a dash that can kick in if you get behind. If you hit the player holding the present, it’ll fall to the ground and bounce, and you can pick it up by running toward it. This leads to a fun game of tug and war, and if the present goes off screen then it’ll just respawn in front of the current leader, keeping the flow going. Once the player with the present arrives at the party and wins the round, you have the choice of generating another stage to run through, or going back to the customization stage.
With all that was just explained, I have summed up the entirety of Muddledash. There are hazards that appear in the stages, from red pokey things that slow down your movement, to fans that shoot out red blots that can stun a player. These don’t really add that much to the game and are a far cry from more standard powerups other games in this genre have, so your close-combat skills are really the most effective way of prying the present out of your friends’ grasp. Considering how there’s no sort of stat screen at the end of a round or game session, it also feels like these runs are pointless, since unless you record or memorize the scores yourself, the game doesn’t show you who won the most races when all’s said and done.
In conclusion, Muddledash is an incredibly average party game. While it does offer a concept that can be fun with four players, the lack of any sort of VS CPU mode or more variety in the multiplayer makes this game really tough to recommend outside of it being on a very big discount. While I did have fun with the two friends I was able to play it with, that fun didn’t really last for too long as the appeal ran out after only a few stop to the party. Muddledash is fast-paced and incredibly easy to get into, but that’s all this party game has going for it. Still, for $6, this isn’t a bad value if you have lots of friends over and want something super quick to jump into.
I give Muddledash a 7 out of 10.