Some of you out there may be too young to recall a time in the Internets puberty where sites like Miniclip were all the rage and the countless hybrids of action/adventure/arcade/puzzlers that filled these gaming sites to the brim. Sure they are still out there but with smart phones and ease of accessibility for anyone to make a game, they have evolved into different natured beasts of the tower defence and match 3 variety. Enter Mugsters which just may fill that nostalgia induced void of mid naughties puzzlers.
What exactly is this? That was the first question I asked myself 30 minutes into the game that greeted me with absolutely no information about itself what-so-ever. I had some idea of what to expect as I had viewed a trailer that was vibrant and full of energy, the game however presented me with an orange desert, a house, a bunch of roller-coasters and several buttons. After running around an hauntingly empty map and fiddling with some weighty controls I entered the first level through a giant green button on the ground.
Here came a flash of information, 4 types of objectives; complete the main object (which I am still not too sure what exactly that is other than escape the Island), collect ‘x’ amount of crystals, save ‘x’ amount of humans and destroy or set up ‘x’ amount of things. Being thrown into the deep end of Mugsters forces a bit of trial and error, what can I punch? Is that a safe way to blow up a tube containing a human? What does this do? Which vehicle does what?
In this respect Mugsters is a fun wee playground that is completely reminiscent of those mid naughties puzzler games I use to play until 1 a.m. instead of doing my homework. The game teaches you how to play through cause and effect, this enemy chases me down, this type of terrain collapses, that ship takes me all the way back to the beginning of the Island etc. This also applies to the the things you are collecting like the crystals you see them get put in use and each human takes a seat on the roller-coaster waiting to be transported off when it becomes full.
One aspect of Mugsters I wish they used more are it’s graphics, it’s backgrounds are truly beautiful looking game with an interesting pallet of colours and the way shapes are used that it makes the standard looking fences, hills and other standard objects look dull in comparison. Not to say it is an ugly looking game but there is only so much red on range and light blue on dark blue that can be used before it all begins to look samey.
Mugsters greatest weakness, as with its use of colours, is longevity. The more I played, the more it all began to feel like a chore. What started out as a blast ended up with Zombie just going through the motions of fiddling with those weighty controls and fighting with a camera for the best spot see what was going on. Vehicles that were fun to spin around and run over aliens in had now just become pain in the ass dealing with because of annoying controls making it harder than it should be to hit switches or the way that they keep rolling randomly after you have left them deactiving a switch leaving you stuck with no choice but to start from the beginning.
Mugster is in no way a bad game and in the beginning was a blast that took me back to a simpler time. If you are looking for a game to kill some time while waiting on an update or download you could do a lot worse than Mugsters as it is perfect for sporadic play. However if you are looking for a new arcade puzzler to take you out of this world you may want to skip this as the time is this Invasions greatest enemy.
Zombie was provided with a review copy of Mugsters.