Developed by: Reinkout Games
Published by: Team17 Digital Ltd
Length: 15+ hours depending on skill and need for 100% completion
Genre: Puzzle, Action
Platform: Reviewed on PS4 – Also available on – Steam, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 17th July 2018
So what’s it all about?
Mugsters plunges us into a world where Aliens reign supreme. Humanity has been defeated. All seems lost. Enter our generic stick person… you! The aim of the game is to fight against this Alien threat by freeing trapped humans that span across 25 unique Islands. Mugsters is an action abundant, physics-based puzzler which tests your brain power and your need for destruction.
The game gives you the option to play Single Player or Multiplayer. If you play on PS4 there will be two Co-op trophies for your platinum! The rest are done through Single player… for this reason I played on my larry and let me tell you – Mugsters is a delight.
The menu music is an absolute bop and since this is the only music you really get to experience, I found the choice to be a solid one. There is next to no music in the levels themselves. You can hear every footstep and explosion as clear as day with the occasional repetitive two music notes repeating in the background.
The sound effects were great and actually it was a welcome escape to not have to listen to annoying, loud repetitive music especially when you need to use your head to work out the puzzles. In the pause menu you can hear constant footsteps if you are walking or the noise of a car if you’re driving but unless you’re going to sit watching the pause screen… you’re pretty safe from irritation.
Where do you begin?
You are dropped into a simplistic yet extremely colourful sandbox environment with no clear clue what on earth is going on. It took me a little moment to realise this was the ‘hub’ or ‘home island’ as it is mentioned in the trophy list. Here you can replay levels, see how many humans you’ve saved by having a look at your roller coaster ride and ultimately mess about until you understand the buttons. There is also a small customisation booth where you can make yourself a little more unique. A very nice touch especially when playing Co-op.
You are not given a tutorial or a visible objective when you take your first steps. I used trial and error but the pause menu does have the button layout displayed so don’t worry if you are getting confused. After coming to Mugsters from other games, it did take me a little bit longer to get the hang of the buttons. I usually use X or Square to pick up and here it was Triangle. R2 is to sprint else you get stuck in an extremely slow walk and Square allows you to hit your alien foe. The amount of times I got the buttons confused doesn’t bear thinking about but the simplistic layout is super appreciated by myself.
Friend and Foe
Your stick character has its own sense of humor with funny little emotes when you are idle such as handstands, press ups and squats. It made the game that bit more unique and quirky and gave the anonymous stick character a personality. The only other stick people you will come across are the aliens. They appear as two headed bursts of fiery red and charge at you with a grunt of passion. A couple of swift hits soon puts them in their place. Your screen will turn red if you take too many punches which is a helpful indicator to retreat.
The next enemy is the ‘UFO’ which has a little and large version. They are extremely deadly and preparation is key. The influx of human hungry enemies gives the game an extra excitement factor and they are given to you in the perfect amount. I never felt I was being overrun with enemies or that I would be unable to complete a level because of this. They definitely did not take away from the experience but in fact enhanced it.
The Island Environments
Each island is an interesting puzzle where you can use your environment to aid you in completing your objectives. You will always have objectives for collecting crystals, rescuing humans and an environment dependent objective where you power up a generator, destroy satellites and more. You can complete your goals in a number of different ways for example: you can use a car to jump a gap to where you need to be or you can fly an aeroplane. It gives the player complete freedom on how they see their journey panning out. Don’t expect any rescuing yourself though as there are no hints and tips, it’s all up to you!
Luckily, if you complete an objective your progress is saved so you do not have to do the entire map again. This is extremely helpful especially when the levels get harder as you can prioritise certain goals. If you mess up you can simply restart! It’s that easy! Plus, if you 100% each level you unlock Time Trials for them which gives the game replayability.
The levels are physics based so it’s always worth testing the waters by using explosives and traps to your advantage. Almost everything can be destroyed and by jove you know I tried. However, I would have liked a map option because I found I was running around a lot trying to work out where everything was more than once. Furthermore, the camera angles at times can make it hard to judge distance and direction so a lot of my jumping or sizing up ended in death.
There are over 30 vehicles available to you from caravans to sports cars to ambulances and you can choose whatever suits you. It adds an interesting dynamic to the game because you can use these to run over enemies, help you reach upper levels and maneuver around the map quicker. If your car flips over the game will do a GTA style 180 so you can get back on your wheels again.
Although the vehicles were fun, this is where my main criticism lies. The controls are far too sensitive. You slip and slide and donut all about the place and it became very frustrating when trying to park against a lever or even just to drive in a straight line. Furthermore, the vehicles would never stay still so when I was trying to park them on buttons to open a gate, they would have a mind of their own and fall backwards or go forwards. This left me with my tongue sticking out trying to hit the sweet spot where the vehicle would stay still.
Even worse than this was the aeroplanes. OH JHEEZE, I have never experienced such awful flying controls. The plane will not move in the direction you need it to and there is no option to alter the controls to suit you. I died SO many times due to crashing into the island or into the sea. Every time I got into an aeroplane it was accompanied with an eye roll. This was heightened by the fact that when you complete an island you need to fly to the outskirts of the map to finish the level… there was no escaping from the aeroplane nightmare.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my Mugsters experience. It had everything I wanted in a sandbox puzzler minus any frustration. Although aeroplanes are not my best friend – the colourful environments, interesting puzzles and unlimited destruction is. I highly recommend this game if you want something to chill you out after a hard day of life or to unleash your anger but also please your mind. Now go kick alien butt.
- Levels are unique
- Puzzles are the right amount of challenging
- Colourful environments
- Replayability with Time Trials
- Vehicle controls can be irritating
- No guidance or hints
- Repetitive sound effects on pause menu