Developer: Renegade Kid
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5, iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

I have always wanted to play Mutant Mudds since it released way back in the halcyon days of January 2012 for the 3DS, but just never found a good enough excuse to actually do so. My 3DS has gone criminally underused while I keep playing these iOS games! Not the game didn’t appeal to me: it’s a challenging 2D pixel art platformer! I’m all about those! However, I just couldn’t come up with a good enough excuse to actually buy it. Flash forward to about 10 months later, and now it’s on iOS. My excuse has arrived!

Well, now I’m regretting having waited, because this is great.

The goal is to control the bespectacled blonde protagonist Max, who picks up his water cannon and jetpack, and dares to take out the eponymous Mutant Mudds that came to Earth. After all, they ruined a peaceful day with Max and his Grannie. They’ve gone too far! Along the way, our hero collects gems that can be used to unlock upgrades for more powerful shots, longer jetpack hovering, and higher jumps, all of which come in handy to discover the secret levels hidden throughout.

The platforming works extremely well because of the hovering. It’s a great way to mitigate mistakes, and it’s used for some fun platforming sections. That there’s also an exploration and discovery aspect that requires taking alternate paths not explorable the first time around only adds to the enjoyment. Plus, just the raw challenge of the levels, trying to make it to the checkpoint and to the end with just 3 hearts, trying to avoid spikes, makes it satisfying, and the infinite lives really helps to keep it from being challenging.

The crazy thing is that this game is really an absurd value: there’s 20 base levels with 40 secret ones to discover, and 20 extra levels where players control Grannie, and the game is $0.99 for a universal app. This game cost far more than that on the 3DS. And the levels, while they may be short to complete once they’re mastered, are challenging enough to last for a while. And then there’s the exploration of how to get to the secret levels in the first place.

The virtual d-pad and buttons sometimes lead to accidental inputs, though the placement of each can be altered, though I’d like a bigger d-pad option. The layer switching of the 3DS game is translated in an effect that simulates depth, but without being able to see what’s actually in the front layer and what’s in the default middle, it can be tricky when initially navigating these sections.

For those that missed this title in its 3DS or Steam incarnations, well – it’s still on those platforms, but the iOS version is well worth checking out for fans of pixel art, retro style games, and absolute bargains, with the $0.99 launch price.

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