Video Game Roundup Review: Platformers Special Part 2
This is part two of my review roundup of platforming games I’ve played recently. You can view part one here: Video Game Roundup Review: Platformers Special Part I
Article by Michael Savich
Mutant Mudds (3DS, PC, PS4, Switch, etc.) ~$9.99
While most modern platformers emphasize fast and frenzied gameplay, Mutant Mudds is different. It encourages slow and methodical platforming, punishing mistakes by sending you back to the start of the level each time you die. The pacing of the game calls to mind the old Wario Land series, and in fact, Mudds draws its most interesting mechanic, the ability to jump between a foreground and background layer, from the all-but-forgotten Virtual Boy Wario Land.
Unfortunately, Mudds has just as many weaknesses as it does strengths, from the uninspired enemies (literally just clumps of mud that pace left and right) to the fact that you are required to collect every single coin before you can complete the game— a task many players will simply walk away from. Mutant Mudds is an enjoyable experience while it lasts, but doesn’t quite manage to be particularly memorable.
Super Meat Boy (PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, etc.) $14.99
In hindsight, it is a little surprising that Super Meat Boy, a remake/sequel to a free web browser game, would be something worthy of the adjective “seminal”. Yet here we are, almost a decade later, and there is a long lineage of games inspired by it. The major idea Super Meat Boy brought to the table is the notion that if your levels are short enough— almost none of the levels in this game are longer than 30 seconds— players would tolerate soul-crushing, borderline sadistic level design.
Meat Boy’s moveset is as simple as it comes. He can run, jump, and wall-jump. Everywhere Meat Boy runs he leaves a trail of blood (the game has a decidedly juvenile sense of humor), and as you retry the game’s buzzsaw-infested challenges again and again, the terrain will become increasingly coated in the fluids of your past failures. It’s sick, it’s satisfying, it’s Super Meat Boy. What else can be said?
Slime-San (PC, Mac, Linux, Switch) ~$14.99
From the sadistic difficulty, the gross-out sense of humor, and even the hero’s penchant for leaving behind a trail of ooze, it’s clear that this is a game inspired by Super Meat Boy. Not content to be a simple clone, Slime-san does introduce some tweaks to the formula. For instance, there’s ability to “morph”, which makes Slime-san transparent and allows him to pass through green-colored objects. Morphing also slows down time, and this ability to enter bullet time at will becomes a godsend in many of the game’s trickier levels.
Not content to hang their hat on jumping alone, developer Fabraz throws a bevy of gimmicks at you, from swinging ropes to bouncing bubbles to blocks that appear or disappear when Slime-san morphs. Paired with the bite-sized levels, this push-and-pull of the threat of the acid behind you and the enticement of new mechanics ahead makes Slime-san one of the most addictive, hi-octane platformers I’ve ever played. Worth special mention is the game’s soundtrack, which comprises a looong list of guest-starring chiptune composers, and is bursting with personality as a result.