Gamecock and SouthPeak Interactive aren’t the big guns when it comes to software publishers but with Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars, they’ve let Redfly Studio create the action platformer, the same guys who are making the Wii version of the new Ghostbusters video game. In this pleasant little platformer you play as Pax, a sentient mushroom who is the last one left of his tribe. When a meteor crash-landed on Earth, spores turned into mushroom men and these split into groups and decided to fight. Your tribe got wiped out and now you must explore and fight your way across the land to find your place amongst the other funghi.
The first thing you’ll notice is how well it’s presented. The intro has a B-movie feel to it and although they don’t speak, the characters all have distinct personalities. The locations are also ingenious, using everyday objects you’d see around the house and the garden, scaled up to be used as platforms, bridges and obstacles.
Gameplay is a bit more formulaic however. You use the analogue stick on the Nunchuck to walk and the Wiimote to hit things. You can also scavenge for items that you can combine to make better weapons, be it melee weapons or ranged items. Unfortunately, each successive weapon you make is more powerful than the last so there’s no incentive to chop and change. Some selective weapon changes for certain enemies would have been a nice touch. You can also use your little mushroom mind to move objects that are in your way, and collect spores round the environment to give you more power.
When it comes to difficulty, Red Fly have gone for a re-spawning system similar to Bioshock. If you die you’ll be sent back a bit in a level but everything will still be how it was when you died – luckily, they’ve provided incentives for beating a boss without dying which should stop gamers just ploughing into them until they’re defeated no matter how many times they die.
Mushroom Men is a fun distraction but it’s let down by really standard platforming gameplay. It’s sure to appeal to younger gamers but unfortunately, won’t have the same appeal for adults. Mushroom Men gets 6 out of 10.
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