I rather enjoy games from Team 17 and their indie supported projects like Yooka-Laylee and Yoku’s Island Express, so it was a no-brainer when I got my hands on Mugsters from Reinkout.
So what is Mugsters? the game is a physics-based, action-packed puzzler, with little to no story, and does not hold your hand at any time. You are just dumped into the game and expected to get on with it.
If you are still looking for a story well the best thing I can do is a background story; ‘Aliens have taken over the planet and enslaved humanity. Only you have the know-how to drive back the dastardly threat, free your fellow Earthlings and SAVE THE WORLD.’
So starting up the game you are dropped into a mission area hub, where you can mess around, learn some basic skills, like tossing explosive barrels, running, pushing, hitting, blowing shit up. There is even a small customisation booth to make yourself look a little unique, “not that hard to be honest” (You will find out why I said that further on down in the review).
Your avatar does have some personality when you leave your avatar alone and do nothing, so go grab a drink or scratch your nether regions, he/she does press ups, squats and even handstands etc, keeping fit me thinks? or are the devs subliminally making us think we should do more exercise?
But there was one thing I noticed about the starting hub it is rather empty, so maybe the developers are planning on filling it up with FREE DLC.
So back to the starting hub and to the right, you can see a bunch of cords and at the end of the cords coloured circles with numbers of them, these are portals to islands/stages for you to head to and complete. There is a total of 25 islands each as a sandbox level with a set of tasks for you to complete from rescuing a bunch of humans to collecting crystals and so on. Once you complete the zone you get a chance to better yourself with time trials.
As with any games like this stages start out easy and as you progress through each stage, the game ups its anti and get harder and harder. As a great example of getting harder ‘One Hit UFO’s, OMG, whose idea was that, or the suicidal aliens that charge at you and explode, then you have laser turrets, as you can see it just gets harder. Which is a good thing, in my opinion, we don’t want an easy ride through any game, we want to be challenged, get upset, take out our frustrations on our parents or our partners.
So going off that the last comment, ‘we want to be challenged‘, you will find that there is more than one way to complete a stage so experiment, have fun, go wild, let your imagination take flight. I tended to move towards total destruction as almost everything can be destroyed if you so wish. I also enjoyed flying around in a plane when there was one available, but I have to admit I suck at playing them.
Something popped into my mind when I started writing this part, anyone remembers the film planes, trains, and automobiles? the game has nothing to do with the film, but the game does have everything bar trains. There is a total of thirty automobiles to drive around in, all bar the planes are easy to navigate. Having automobiles in the game does add some well-deserved carnage; just head towards those damn aliens and run the bitches down.
We then have Multiplayer which is not really multiplayer, it is local co-op, so as you can guess the only difference to the game is adding an extra character to the game and turning the game to a two-player experience. The game offers nothing new, all the same stages, no added features, no new stages, nothing. They could have at least created some two-player exclusive stages. A missed opportunity by the developers to add and enrich the gamers experience, I think.
Now I have been playing the game for some time, and I have come to the conclusion there is only ambient and environmental sounds in the game, they are great, but where is the music. Come on anything is better than nothing, even if you have to add the option in the games menu for music volume. I understand not everyone likes to have music on when trying to work out a puzzle, but for me its calming.
I did question the games graphical style when I first started playing, colourful and blocky and it’s physics-based gaming elements. We have already had a few games of the same nature, Human: Fall Flat and Gang Beast just to name a few. After a couple of hours into the game the design won me over, it is charming and works well for what the developers have achieved.
The game is fun and frantic for the majority of the time, even though I did sometimes throw my controller across the room in rage when I got one shotted by those damn UFO’s. I wish there was better multiplayer even though I very rarely care for it, but I know many people do, plus having better online features will allow your friends to join the game instead of having them around to play, OMG so 90s.
Mugsters is now available from today 17.07.2017 on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.