Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars for the Wii Review
There are a lot of really odd games out in the world today that just catch our eyes and make us curious whether to rent or buy. If you look at today’s games, there are some odd ones like Kirby, Little Big Planet, The Neverhood, Banjo Kazooie, Conker’s Bad Furday, and the list goes on. With the introduction of the Wii, we got some pretty odd ones already, like Dewey’s Adventure and Opoona. In my opinion, by far, one of the strangest games on earth has to be Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars.
The story picks up from the DS game Mushroom Men, Rise of the Fungi, where a mysterious comet falls onto Earth and changes most life. The strange energy of the comet even affects the fungus as they start to come to life, along with other kinds of mushrooms, and start to act like humans. However, a group of evil mushrooms known as Amaniti wants to use the stones’ power to conquer the world, and then set out to destroy multiple villages where innocent mushroom people live, including the peace-loving Boletes. The main hero of the game is Pax, a lone surviving bolete mushroom traveling across the land, trying to figure out where he belongs in the world. While in a mushroom village, Pax discovers that he could absorb pieces of the meteorite and accidentally absorb the village’s piece of the stone. He then sets off to find a new piece for the village.
The game play style is of an action adventure plat-former where you control Pax, and journey across huge parts of the land. The style of the game is very offbeat since you are a small humanoid mushroom traveling across areas of land, which could be for a human just a couple of yards long. The first thing I noticed and loved about this game was the designs of the characters and environment. It’s so unusual that you would see stuff like this in a video game. It has a very Tim Burton look to it and if you know anything about him, you would agree with me. This is one of those games that you can pick up and play, and realize how small your character actually is. I mean, if you played games like Deadly Creatures or Little Big Planet or even Shadow of the Colossus, you would understand what I mean. The combat style of the game is maybe one of the best features. Since your are a small Mushroom man, you will have to build weapons out of everyday junk, like hooks, razors, thimbles, gum, thread, pencils, and the list is so big you would have to see for yourself. You also have a strange power called Sporekenesis, where you are able to pick up or move stuff that has glowing green fungus on it. It’s maybe the same kind of power you can feel when you play like Bioshock or Destroy All Humans. Another cool weapon you gain from a gumball machine is a sticky hand-like toy you can find in gumball machines in real life. This special tool is only useful for getting to higher places where your jump can’t reach. By far, one of the best things about Pax is his jumping ability. You can jump normally, but you can also hold down the ‘A’ button to jump high and farther, kind of like Wario Land and Super Mario Brothers. If you press the ‘A’ button again, while you’re jumping, you can cap glide where you hold onto your wide mushroom head and glide down to the ground safely, which kind of reminds me of other games like Kirby, when he gets an umbrella weapon, and Legend of Zelda, the Wind Waker, where Toon Link uses a leaf to glide over to an island.
The enemy selection is rather interesting too, since the only evil mushroom colony you fight for the first part is the Amaniti, which are war-like, and will also capture other mushroom colonies like the tech wizards, Morel. Later, you find out that you fight another race called Lepiota, which has taken control of the Amaniti, and plan to use the meteorite’s power to control the land. Other enemies are mostly wildlife that has encountered the strange stone like rabbits, spiders, moles, and other animals.
The graphics are amazing on the Wii. Like I said before, they aren’t Super Mario Galaxy amazing, but they are still pretty dang good for Wii standards. The graphic style has more in common with games like Deadly Creatures. The detail and color of the game still so much reminds me of a Tim Burton animated film. Even the creators said they wanted the creatures to have a clay-animated style of movement and look, which fits the mood of the game. The music is pretty awesome too, since it gives you an unusual feel and vibe from it, and most of the songs are contributed by Les Claypool of Primus fame.
Now, it’s time to put together a weapon made of trash, and beat up the bad parts of the game. Even though the jumping mechanic is awesome and fun, it wouldn’t have hurt for the creators to put in a double jump ability, which could have helped when trying to find small pieces of the meteorite. The camera controls could have been better also. Even though you can control it, and it isn’t set in one place like most games, it could help players more when they are trying to find a place to use the sticky hand or to explore your surroundings better. The game itself is pretty short since most gamers could get through it in a dedicated day to play it, or in two days, which was my scenario.
The ultimate question though is, did I enjoy it? Well, yes, I did. Actually, this is one of the best Wii games I have ever played, and I was proud to play it. The sad thing is that I don’t hear anyone talking about it, which is shocking since this is one of the better third party games for the Wii. I would highly recommend buying it or renting it whichever is your choice. I wish people would talk more about, but I can see this game getting a good cult following and another sequel, if done right.
This game gets an 8 out of 10.