I am always in pursuit of games with have a minimalistic and puzzle based theme. Mugsters caught my attention from it’s trailers where it portrayed some great physics and an excellent art style. How well does it perform? Let’s find out.
Mugsters is a physics-based, supercharged, action-packed puzzler with sandbox levels where you must outrun, out-maneuver and outsmart your enemies by experimenting with different vehicles, environmental traps, and explosives. Mugsters is developed by Reinkout Games and is available on Steam at a price of 479 INR/ 14.99$.
Mugsters is not a game with a deep storyline as such instead, it follows a vague storyline which somewhat matches the very theme of the game. You visit areas where your sole objective is to rescue the people trapped in containers similar to the experimental containers which are found in all sci-fi movies. That’s pretty much the story of the game summed up. There is absolutely no backstory about how the aliens guarding each level arrived, or how the humans were trapped, or who the character himself is. The only cutscene that plays between each and every level shows an animation about how the player escapes with the survivors of each level in an airplane. Overall, I was pretty disappointed with the lack of a specific story and proper storytelling elements in the game, but considering the fact that the game takes a pretty minimalistic approach towards being a sandbox puzzle game the lack of emphasis on the story is somewhat justified.
Gameplay & Sound
The game begins off in a sort of a world map cum hub area which players are free to explore. There is no tutorial as such in the game, and players are forced to find their way out themselves. By exploring the initial landing area a bit, I was able to know more about the specific locations there. Players can see the people whom they have saved in one section of the area, while the other area acts as a level selector. The topmost part of the area features a garage with some cars, and players can use them to drive around tracks and set lap records. The central part consists of an open space and some explosive barrels vending machines where players are free to roam about and get accustomed to the mechanics.
The level design and the physics of the game are really very praiseworthy. All the levels have one main objective in common, that is, saving a specific number of people, and then doing a certain number of optional objectives which unlocks the speed run mode for that level. The optional objectives include a variety of stuff, from destroying a specific number of satellites to picking up crystals. The crystals are more important to pick up since players will be able to access the final level only if they have taken all the crystals from previous levels.
Each level is uniquely and really well designed. Initial levels are very easy and are designed to get the players a hang of the game’s mechanics, but subsequent levels are significantly harder, thanks to the introduction of enemies in the form of aliens, UFOs and laser towers. Players are free to traverse the levels and complete the objectives in whatever way that want, that’s where the sandbox elements of the game come into play. Most of the puzzles in the level are not mind-boggling, and a couple of repeated attempts will give the players an idea on how to accomplish the various objectives.
Speaking of physics, they are pretty good and imprudent at the same time. The various switches to unlock doors, the barrel explosions which reveal various paths in the level, and the fighting mechanics are all very implemented in the game. The only thing that mars the gameplay is the lack of introduction of new mechanics in subsequent levels. The basics of the game remain pretty much the same throughout the 25 levels, just the levels keep changing and become bigger.
There is a pretty minimalistic music playing in the main menu, and that is the only music that can be heard in the game. Amidst the game, the only sound the players can hear is of the things they do, like barrel explosions, driving cars, etc. Overall, there is nothing to complain or praise about the sound design as such, and it does a pretty decent job.
Graphics & Performance
The game has a pretty good art style along with an appealing palette. The color schemes of the environment at each level grabbed my attention more than the graphics itself. All the animations and character designs are pretty well done and further elevate the simplistic theme of the game.
To test the game’s performance properly, we tried it on a laptop with Core I3-5010U and Intel HD 5000 graphics. To no surprise, the game ran perfectly well on the system, and there were no performance issues whatsoever.
Mugsters is a pretty decent game with some impressive level design, great physics, and some good mechanics. For people looking out for a small game, with some decent sandbox puzzles, and don’t mind a story-void game, it is well worth a try. For others, you are better off picking up something else.