Underneath Your Garden Shed
Every once in a while a game comes along with an idea so brilliant that you can’t understand why someone else hasn’t already come up with it. Imagine if that idea was so simple that absolutely anyone could understand, play and enjoy it. Mushroom 11 is looking like it could be that game..
Described by it’s creators as a puzzle platformer; the whole game is controlled simply by the movement of the mouse: No clicks, no special moves and no keyboard, just movement – it’s an absolute joy to play. You won’t be finding any hedgehogs, plumbers or marsupials on show, you control an amorphous green blob. I’ve named mine Daz.
I’ve been hands on with an early build of the already award winning game developed by Untame and I’m mightily impressed. You basically control your blob by shaving away bits of its mass which will then appear on the surface area you’re not stroking. It’s probably not the most elegant way of describing it but check out the trailer below and you will hopefully get what I’m on about.
Starting the demo from scratch, you’re guided not by words or prompts, but by the environment and level design itself. It’s a great way of introducing you to the initially very alien control method. Within no time I was caressing Daz like a professional, nudging, moving, tickling and guiding him along the path. It’s not just obstacles and puzzles you come across as you traverse the bleak landscape either.
Lots of lifeforms just as strange as Daz share the post apocalyptic environment. Firefly-like flying things, smaller round blobby things and fire-spewing plant things all litter the path of your blob. One that at the minute doesn’t seem to have much effect on your lifeform is that, just like the B-Movie megastar, you can consume these other lifeforms. I’m hoping that in the full game the absorption of these other creatures might lead to special abilities, like a temporary resistance to lava, or a hardening of the outer layer of your blob. There’s lots of opportunities for the Developers to play with here, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they can come up with.
Even in this early stage of development, Mushroom 11 is easy on the eye. Environments look good and whilst the one level that I’ve played through is pretty much a great approximation of urban decay; I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing plenty of other environments as the game progresses. The star of the show remains the central character, the animations of his growth spurts as you remove some of his mass are great and quite literally busting full of energy. For a fellow without a face, body or anything remotely associable with human emotion, I’ve grown quite fond of Daz and his simple desire to survive has really drawn me to him.
So far I’m really impressed with Mushroom 11 and I can’t wait for the full game – that said it’s the scope of accessibility that Mushroom 11 could offer that has got me most excited. My ageing mother could play this, a 5 year old could play it and I certainly want to play a whole lot more. Whilst I played with a mouse, it’s clearly suited to touchscreen devices and possibly even motion control. At the minute it’s confirmed for release at some point in 2015 and will be hitting PC, Linux, Mac and handhelds. The handhelds listing is curious, I’m guessing the PS Vita and 3DS’s must be a shoo-in, but lets face it the biggest handheld gaming platform by far is smartphones so who knows where the game will end up.
I’ll be covering Mushroom 11 in more depth closer to release, it’s really shaping up rather nicely. Anyway that’s enough from me, I’m off to stroke, tease and cajole Daz down a new deep dark hole.