The era of classic 8-bit 2-D side scrollers dominating home consoles, is one many indie developers return to in an attempt to create experience both new and old. An aim is set on creating a hefty challenge awaiting the player in each new stage. Simple concepts and no blockbuster storytelling elements are used, just clever design choices and memorable gameplay elements that play on ones nostalgia making a game that revitalises a seemingly untiring genre in new ways. Renegade Kid succeeds wonderfully at putting this concept into action.
The story of Mutant Mudds is beautifully simple, much in the vein of the of other retro side scrollers. A meteor crashes to the earth and the world begins to be invaded by Mutant Mudd creatures. So, playing as Max, you’re armed with a water gun and a jetpack, and are tasked with defeating the Mudds and colleting 100 water sprites in order to rid the world of the mutants.
The presentation in this game is phenomenal. To begin with the sound design is beautifully created. The music evokes a very clear and wonderfully upbeat retro vibe, strongly harkening back to classic NES and SNES era titles, while still remaining refreshing and new. They are bursting with charm and laced with a sense of nostalgia, that perfectly complements the art style and level design. While many of the worlds use the same track, as they are all themed the same, there is enough variety present to treat the ears to some delightful chip-tunes, without feeling too repetitive or overbearing on the experience.
In keeping with the retro tone, the art style here is beautifully 8-bit. Colour palettes are simple and gorgeously bold and vivid, ranging from cold blues to hot reds and everything in between in accordance to the theme of each level. It looks fantastically crisp and clean, and is an absolute wonder to watch as you progress through each of the brilliantly crafted levels, one of the biggest highlights of the game. Its personality is just so incredibly charming and remarkable, you can’t help but smile in appreciation.
There’s not much to the gameplay of Mutant Mudds, which makes it work all the better. You must simply reach the goal, collect 100 sprites in each stage and defeat the evil mudds. Each of the 20 stages is excellently designed and creates many wondrous environments for you to explore, and navigate. Platforming is perilous, especially towards the end of the game as the difficulty ramps up, but with the tight controls it’s a thrill to experience them. Hidden in each level are 2 secret areas, requiring upgrades to reach, and offer an extra challenge from within the already tough stages, each themed off classic systems.
However, even more challenging is the inclusion of the Ghost levels, and extra worlds, filled with ghostly mudds, that cannot be defeated, and only temporarily disappear with the use of a limited weapon found within the level. These are best and most infuriating stages the game has to offer. You are given an unlimited amount of lives, which is a godsend as dying is inevitable in almost every area. It provides hours of immensely fun missions, coupled with the rage experienced from losing over and over again, like the many side scrolling games it draws its inspiration from, and the that unmatched sense of achievement only found by concurring a level that plagued you in failure time and time again.
This is by far the most fun I’ve had with a game in a while, not just platformers themselves. It kept me coming back time and time again to try find all the hidden trinkets and try just one more time at beating that level. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience from start to finish, and remains interesting until the end, never growing stale. The only minor issue with the game is that it is a little on the short side. Once you’ve mastered controls, you may find yourself flying through the game at an exhilarating pace.
However, this in no way affects the utterly fantastic gameplay, and with the price of €10, for around 80 levels, you really are getting a plentiful amount of hours for such a low price. By far one of the best games of not only 2013, but one of the most marvelous and tantalisingly fun platformers I’ve ever played, you would be doing genuine injustice to yourself by not picking up this title.