So this week, I got my hands on Mushroom 11. You can imagine my trepidation at being handed a title with such a name. So I did a bit of digging. Mushroom 11 is a game 3 years in the making… which doesn’t sound like much, but for what’s been done here, that’s pretty impressive. During it’s development it was taken to a lot of shows, where it won awards for its premise. It was made, primarily by 2 married couples… I don’t know about you, I love my wife, but I like that we work in separate places!
The game itself is labelled as a ‘puzzle-platformer’. I think that as a subgenre this puppy fits there nicely. you control an ‘organism’ there’s no other real way to describe it. The organism is moved by you erasing parts of it, as you get rid at the back, it respawns at the front. This takes a smidge of getting used to, but once you get rolling, you’re faced with puzzles, figuring out how to move this thing which doesn’t ACTUALLY have a finite structure. it really is exhilarating to feel like you’ve achieved a knowledge of how to get this thing across maps horizontally, but then come the verticals! Anchoring one section of your mass as you try to make a counterbalance or bridge soon becomes second nature and you’re traversing lava without so much as a few well placed clicks, in your face, you jumpy little plumber.
The puzzles you come up against are challenging… there were a few times I caught myself letting out a loud “YES!” and a long exhale after a particularly complex part, the first time you have to traverse an lava with nothing to hold onto is a test to your perseverance and your determination, but the feeling I got when I did it. Awesome. The first Boss, and his subsequent successors look like they should be painfully simple, but do NOT believe that… they will make you think, HARD, like any puzzler should, and you WILL celebrate when you beat them
The visuals are great, muted, perhaps even washed out, as you guide your organism across landscapes that seem to have experience large scale destruction, it’s not lost on me that in this setting you are destroying the very thing you are trying to manoeuver through these landscapes to get it where you want it to go. The visual style itself is great, everything from the little glowing segments of your organism through to funny things you’ll notice in the background, like a shocked face on a train.
The soundtrack, by Electro pioneers The Future Sound of London, is amazingly appropriate and sounds great. Evolving soundscapes pounding along and changing moment to moment, just like your very own organism is doing. I am a lover of an original game score that fits its game perfectly, and this one does… I’m listening to it in the background now while I write this review.
I could talk about Mushroom 11 for ages, I’m thoroughly enjoying it and looking forward to continuing my adventures with my organism, it’s a great testament to what games fans can do and that the indie game scene is growing and thriving for the right reasons. I’ve not enjoyed anything new and platform-esque this much since Thomas Was Alone, there, I said it!
I really recommend giving this one a shot, it’s something to experience.