Mugsters Switch Review by SwitchWatch
Developer: Reinkout Games
Release Date: July 17th 2018
Price as of Article: $14.99 USD, £9.99 GBP
Game code provided by Team17 for review
Welcome to the whacky world of Mugsters! Aliens have taken over the world and captured humans for nefarious purposes, only you can save the world. That is the beginning and ending of the story, rather, as you play the games sandbox levels you will stumble across aliens, humans and all manner of crazy situations in this game made entirely by a single developer – Rikku Tamminen who founded Reinkout Games, a developer signed up to the Team17 incubation program.
When you load up Mugsters for the first time you have no clue what to do. You are dropped into the home island and after some trial and error you will find a race track, a zone showing how many humans you have saved, a place to change your characters look and most importantly – the area to jump in and play the games 25 unique Islands.
Each Island has a set of objectives to meet and completing these levels unlocks the next. Getting dropped into an Island you are given that levels objectives, generally saving a number of humans, collecting crystals and then a variety of other objectives from blowing up power grids to getting laser beams up and running. Once you complete a level you will need to hop into a plane and fly out of the map – at first I didn’t realise this and ended up flying around a map and crashing into the sea!
Physics based gameplay
What sets Mugsters apart is its sandbox, physics based gameplay. Generally you can meet your objectives in a variety of ways, for example you might drive a car over a ramp to get across a gap or you might climb some mountains and run across to achieve the same objective.
The first few levels are simple, they play out as a playground to figure out the controls which are never explained to you and get to grips with the mechanics.
As you get further you begin to have difficult scenarios to contend with, the ground based aliens of the first few levels are easy to deal with but as you get further you will have robotic drones, full on UFOs and all manner of things to contend with.
Thankfully the controls are nice and simple, you can run, jump, punch and enter vehicles with a simple press of a button and driving feels right using ZR and ZL to drive and reverse respectively. There are over 30 vehicles to find including a bunch of different cars and longer vehicles as well as a helicopter, planes, a tractor and more – generally driving is where there is a lot of fun to be had from jumping over ramps to dodging UFOs and smashing structures to pieces.
There are barrels dotted about each level which are volatile but are usually needed to kill enemies and generally blow stuff up but like any clever game you might need them as a weight to open a door with a trigger, all of these multiple avenues and creative mayhem is what makes Mugsters fun – the levels are laid out with enough ambiguity to encourage unique thought whilst not being aimless as some sandbox style games suffer from.
The initial start is certainly slow but the reward is there if you stick with the game, the latter stages are a blast.
Its certainly a fun game to play alone but when you add another person to the mix the levels increase in difficulty and the fun ramps up. Having to coordinate will take you a short amount of time to figure out but once you do you will be combining all sorts of crazy mayhem together, the levels are difficult but the fact that you can tackle them at your own pace – going back to perfect them or get the best time means you and your friend in local coop can get the hang of things and then go back.
Mugsters has a catchy theme song used in the title screen and pause menu but the game itself features no background music. Its absence is notable and I would have liked to see a couple of pieces of music used, sound effects are decent enough and everything from driving to blowing stuff up with a barrel has a nice sound to accompany it but overall for me the lack of music leaves a noticeable hole here.
The visuals are simple, using polygon based shapes to create a 3D world and its characters. As a sandbox game everything can be interacted with so its important for objects to look as though they have the right weight and respond well visually when interacted with. Thankfully they do, every objects animation is well done with very few things looking off.
The colours are bold giving everything a distinctive style, there are some nice subtleties that add to the visuals such as excellent shading, nice effects and some reflections as well.
Both your character and ground based enemies are peculiarly small in comparison to vehicles, this generally doesn’t matter but there are a few moments in which this makes it hard to see yourself on the screen which can be a pain.
On the move I found things to be a little bit too squashed, the game is still enjoyable but I couldn’t play for too long due to the concentration needed.
Performance was mostly solid with the exception of a few small slowdowns when a look is going on, this is common for physics based games and is certainly not the worst I have seen.
At $14.99 in the US and £9.99 in the UK Mugsters is priced well considering the hours of fun gameplay that can be had.
There are a large number of levels to tackle as well as timed runs, multiplayer and a large number of objectives including saving humans and collecting crystals that can keep you well engaged.
Clever level design
Great multiplayer experience
Lack of music
Story never materialises
Some rough edges