I was asked about Mushroom 11 the other day, as it was in my Steam library, but, as with the vast majority of my games, I’d not even played it yet. It was definitely one on my list though, as I obtained it from the Humble Monthly bundle in January, and one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to play every game I bought this year – which so far I’m really not doing so well at due to an ongoing Football Manager addiction.
I was able to tear myself away from my attempt to ascend the English football pyramid with Bath City for long enough to give Mushroom 11 a decent try, and was actually fairly surprised at what I found. I didn’t really know a whole lot about the game, mainly because I hadn’t specifically picked it out to buy it, it was just a happy accident.
Mushroom 11 is an interesting concept, instead of actually moving the player blobject, you have to use the mouse to ‘erase’ it, which will then allow it to move up and around the various puzzles and obstacles. This opens up a lot of different, unusual puzzles for the game to throw at players and successfully passing them can be a much different challenge than one players may be used to from a platformer. As I’m terrible at most standard platformers, having a different set of obstacles thrown at me made the game so much more enjoyable and refreshing as it wasn’t entirely based on the timing of the jump.
There’s more to it than just the interesting mechanics though, Mushroom 11 is a fantastic looking game. As you progress through the game you’ll encounter so many stunning backdrops that are a joy to look at, even if it is presenting you with the end of civilisation. The blobject as well is really designed as well, giving the impression of a living organism blobbing around the world. It may not have the cutesy appeal of a tubby, middle aged plumber, but it’s definitely got some charm to it!
At the start of the game, I had actually no idea how to move the character. I thought the opening scene was a cinematic which would then turn into a tutorial, but no. I luckily figured out what needed to be done to move around, but it did take me a few minutes to realise that nothing was happening on the screen and that the game had actually begun. It doesn’t become any more obvious as the game continues either, with very little in the way of tutorials or hints to let you know what needs to be done in order to progress.
I also found the pacing to be slightly off. The first five chapters of the game absolutely flew by and were really fun to play, but the latter chapters became a massive challenge that seemed to come out of nowhere. I sort of got into the habit of not taking the game too seriously and enjoying the easy-going nature of the game, but it suddenly ramped up without any real warning and that kind of put me off it a little bit.
Considering I don’t really like platformers, I found Mushroom 11 really enjoyable. It’s a really different way of thinking and progressing through levels and it really appealed to me. There is a bit of a failure with tutorials, but that may appeal to players who like to play without any hand holding – I just like to know what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s definitely worth playing though, roaming around the gorgeous world is an absolutely fantastic experience and as it introduces some brilliant new mechanics it is very fun to play through.