Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge review for PS Vita, PS4

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PC, PS4, Wii U, 3DS
Publisher: Renegade Kid
Developer: Renegade Kid
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

I wasn’t a huge fan of the original Mutant Mudds (to put it mildly). I found it went out of its way to be unnecessarily hard, a game that went far beyond being punishingly difficult to one that seemed to actively hate anyone and everyone who played it. Consequently, I went into Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge wondering whether I’d appreciate it any more with a few more years of gaming under my belt and a few fewer tough-as-nails platformers in my backlog, or if I’d still loathe the franchise with every fibre of my being.

Much to my surprise, I lean much more towards the former than the latter. I can’t say I enjoy Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge, or even like it all that much, but I can say with certainty that it doesn’t fill me with rage the way that first game did.

Mutant Mudds Super Challenge 1

In other words, mine is a very qualified, very limited endorsement of the game. The reality is that much of what I said about the first game still goes. The art style hasn’t changed all that much; it still owes a heavy debt to 8- and 16-bit platformers from days of yore. Ditto for the chiptunes-y music. There’s actually even less of a story this time around; whereas the original Mutant Mudds at least nodded in the vague direction of a plot, this time out there’s not even that.

And, of course, there’s the gameplay, which hasn’t changed a tremendous amount from the last time around. Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge’s world is still filled with omnipresent obstacles and enemies. It still asks you to make ridiculous jumps and to demonstrate impossible dexterity, and it still requires you to play each level more-or-less flawlessly if you want to have any chance of passing it.

Mutant Mudds Super Challenge 2

That said, I can appreciate certain aspects much more now than I could last time. While I didn’t like the fact the first game replaced traditional double-jumping with jump-and-hovering, when Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge demands that you land a perfectly-placed glide between rows of insta-death causing spikes, it’s a change that I at least understand. Further, some changes are undeniably for the better. I’m grateful that the game doesn’t look at level progression in a wholly linear fashion; it starts off with eight levels open for you to play, which means that when you get tired of dying time after time on one level, you can go to a different level and die time after time there instead.

It should probably go without saying that I’m as horrendously bad at Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge as I was with the first Mutant Mudds. As the death counter helpfully reminded me, it took me 17 tries just to make it to the first checkpoint in the first level, and another 50 deaths to pass that level. Hundreds more have since followed, and I have no doubt that there are hundreds — if not thousands — more deaths still to come in my future (assuming, of course, I keep playing once this review is finished, which, truthfully, isn’t all that likely). But whereas that fact soured me on the first game, this time around I’m feeling a lot more zen about the whole thing. I’ll never totally understand why people want to play platformers wherein constant death is, well, a constant. But I can state unequivocally that if that’s what you’re after, Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge delivers it in spades.

Grade: C