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Mushroom Men The Spore Wars is a new little adventure game from the mostly unheard of SouthPeak Games. It offers a nice Zelda-like adventure through which to trot, and it makes good use of its unusual environments to create interesting and diverse levels. Fight and jump through in this fun, well built game.
Mushroom Men follows our plucky protagonist Pax who is out to save the mushroom kingdom, which was brought here on the back of a meteorite. The main thing I was getting from this game was a feeling of a cross between the Bugs Life film and The Legend Of Zelda. Your environment is built up of huge bits of trash like cans and dollies and toy cars. This was probably my favorite bit about Mushroom Men, as I loved the qwerky levels and caves, littered with paper-clips and light-bulbs.
It's great fun to build your own weapons from bits of man made trash you find distributed around the place. There's a choice of about twenty or so weapons to build, and, though this may seem a little limited, it's a feature that really adds to the game.
The ability to pick up any object and move it about with a neat little trick called "Sporekineticis" was fun too. Unfortunately though, the only use our little mushroomy hero Pax has for this is to move objects out of his way, and not for combat. This disappointed me hugely as I thought that being able to crush/splatter/bat your enemies with a large plank of hovering wood would of been a vast improvement on the game's combat. An interesting thing about the game is it's strange wittiness in the inventory. Weapon descriptions come in various different lengths and sizes, but I'm yet to find one that hasn't made me laugh, or at least chuckle.
I would of loved to see a bit of shaking/twisting/spinning going on to liven the game up.
I was disappointed that Mushroom Men didn't make full use of the potential of the unique Wii controls, as I would of loved to see a bit of shaking/twisting/spinning going on to liven the game up. instead the game settles for simple but easily accessible controls. The co-operative play in Mushroom Men is sound and offers a nice drop-in/drop-out element to the game. The only problem I had with it was that it makes the game far to easy, allowing you to fly through levels in minutes.
My biggest problem with this game is that I felt a little railroaded at times. I would of liked a big, fungi inhabited world to explore in a Fable 2 or Zelda style. Having said that, the game pulls off its story mode very neatly and even manages to add in a few nice little challenges on the way, mostly in the form of item collecting. Having said that, I also found myself annoyed at Mushroom Men's irritating tendency to slip into repetitive, humdrum levels. A few mini-games or semi-boss battles would of improved this game a bit.
I was playing Mushroom Men because, in a strange way, I enjoyed looking at it and seeing a splash of Zelda there, a bit of Rayman here, a nod at Mario, a hint for arcade-like fighting.
Mushroom Men will be instantly recognizable to platform game fans. In particular, it reminded me of the great Rayman games on Nintendo DS, and indeed both games have a similar running around collecting things style. However, after playing Mushroom Men for a while, I (inevitably) got distracted, and went of to play another game.
I found myself re-booting my Wii after a while to play Mushroom Men again. I was playing Mushroom Men because, in a strange way, I enjoyed looking at it and seeing a splash of Zelda there, a bit of Rayman here, a nod at Mario, a hint for arcade-like fighting. If you get nothing from this game, as least you'll go away with a strange feeling of contentedness, and a desire to replay that copy of Rayman you have stashed away somewhere!
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