Mugsters Review

By Ethan Anderson, 26 days ago
Some games can feel middling and fail to fully grab the attention of certain players, even if they seem like they should be much more engaging than they are. Those who have been playing games for a while have more than likely come across games that make them feel this way. Despite its colourful look, physics-based gameplay, and numerous explosions, that was my experience with Mugsters.

15/07/2018 - Carousel

The game does not explicitly tell you anything about the story, so from what can be inferred, aliens have invaded the planet, abducted humans, and set up various machines to aid them in their invasion. The goal in Mugsters is to save as many humans as possible while destroying alien technology, gathering mysterious crystals, and completing other assorted tasks. The game contains 25 levels, each with their own objectives to complete, captives to rescue, and crystals to collect. The levels take place on 25 different islands, but there is not very much variation provided in the gameplay throughout the game. There are only a handful of islands that require a fair bit of planning and caution to fully complete, but even then, the game saves your task progress upon every completion. This means that you can finish levels gradually, collecting a few crystals and saving a few humans over multiple retries.

In order to accomplish the assigned tasks, you will be running, jumping, punching, and making use of the generous amount of vehicles that can be found on every island. A certain amount of objectives must be accomplished in order to move on to the next level. The on-foot gameplay is quite basic, but the vehicles provide a good change of pace. Whether it be speeding across an island in a race car, or taking to the skies in a hot air balloon, the vehicles are sure to be one of the main sources of amusement in Mugsters. This is doubly true when the game’s physics are thrown into the mix, which can lead to some surprising moments that often involve an explosion or two. With all of the potential for mayhem coupled with a vibrant art style, it does come as a surprise that no music plays at all during any of the levels. This may not be bothersome, but it was very noticeable, given the game’s action-packed tone.

The vehicles did vary up the gameplay, however, if you are able to pilot anything that can take flight and hover, you will notice that the game becomes infinitely easier. These vehicles are not available on every level, but for instance, using the hot air balloon allows you to avoid any and all enemies with ease while floating from place to place, saving humans and collecting crystals unbothered. During my first flight I immediately realised that this game isn’t balanced for hovering vehicles in more ways than one. Simplified task completion aside, all enemy AI will follow you around mindlessly and run to their deaths if you float above the water surrounding each island. Taking to the sky not only trivialises the enemies, but also makes the puzzles completely ignorable in most cases, as you are able to fly right over them. Through the power of flight and a bit of patience, islands can be completely cleared of hostiles, leaving you to bypass puzzles and finish any outstanding tasks that remain.

Mugsters

While Mugsters is generally an easy game, there are certain aspects of the gameplay that can raise the difficulty level from time to time. Mugsters has good enemy variety for its short length, though a few of them fail to pose any real threat. The ones that do, such as the giant spherical machines, will need to be outsmarted to be destroyed or avoided completely. These machines offer welcome challenges, and they begin to appear more often and in greater numbers as the game progresses.

The bumbling AI of the human captives, on the other hand, increases both the game’s difficulty, and my frustration levels. When a human is saved, they will follow you around until you complete the level. This seems fair and normal, but issues arise as the humans will often become stuck on objects or fall to their deaths through no fault of the player. Once stuck, the humans will make no attempt to run around or jump over the object or structure that they are stuck behind, which can result in their death in situations where enemies are in pursuit. The only sure-fire way to get all of the humans in your care where you want them to go is to have them join you in a vehicle, which isn’t always an option.

In spite of these grievances, there are still some thrills to be had in Mugsters. Even though the puzzles are simple, the game allows you to solve them in a number of ways thanks to the abundance of explosive barrels and modes of transportation. There are usually multiple solutions to any one problem, and being creative can lead to some unexpected results, both helpful and destructive.

Mugsters

Mugsters has a total of 20 achievements, most of which can be unlocked by completing every task on every island. This isn’t too difficult for most islands, and even the toughest ones can be fully completed with a bit of persistence and a few retries because of the way the game saves level progress. The rest of the achievements will be more time-consuming than challenging. The only achievement that has yet to be unlocked by any gamer on the site at the time of this review is one that requires finishing all of the co-op levels. This may not be easy for some, as the co-op is strictly local, not online.

Check out our The Best Xbox Action-Adventure Games Available in 2018 article for a compilation of other great games in this genre.

Summary

Mugsters is a game that contains a good amount of entertainment, and the short length allows for some quick, explosion-based enjoyment. Nonetheless, every so often, the good times can be diminished by small irritants and annoyances that begin to add up. Most of the game will see you repeating the same tasks over and over again with a few tweaks and changes. Rarely does the game introduce notable puzzle diversity that provides a challenge, which caused me to feel disinterested for a good amount of my playtime. Mugsters is by no means a poor game, but it does, however, provide a remarkably average experience.
3.5 / 5
Positives
  • Freedom to complete most islands in whatever way you see fit
  • Vehicles are fun to use, and there are plenty to choose from
  • The game's physics can cause exciting and surprising things to happen
  • Good enemy variety
Negatives
  • Rescued humans have serious trouble following the player which can lead to their deaths
  • Finding a vehicle that can hover removes all challenge from that level
  • Puzzles are simple and lack notable variation
  • The absence of a soundtrack is odd given the game's tone
Ethics Statement
This reviewer spent approximately six hours blowing up alien technology while managing to unlock 16 out of 20 achievements. A download code was provided for the purpose of this review.
Ethan Anderson
Written by Ethan Anderson
Newshound and part of the TrueGaming Network YouTube team. College student who loves making videos and writing about games. In my free time I'm either struggling/failing to get completions, or praying for a Jak 4.