Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars (Wii)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Monday, February 9, 2009

Graphics: 9.00
Sound: 9.00
Gameplay: 8.50
Replays: 7.00
Gamelength: 7.50

Created by Red Fly, “Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars” for the Nintendo Wii is quickly developing unexpected fame on a global scale and for good reason, too.

Who would have ever thought that a game based around the idea of mushrooms would be so god damn entertaining? I mean, seriously. Why did this happen? How is this possible? Wait, who the hell am I kidding?! Mario is terrific and it’s about a short, fat plumber with a funny voice who fights a big dinosaur and weird monsters to protect a princess and little people with mushroom heads. I guess there’s a third party developer out there who realizes that the key to a blockbuster franchise is weird innovation using a tried and tested design. Anyhow, this is a great game and I’m here to tell you why I think so. No sugar coating or fancy words this time. This game doesn’t need flavor to be awesome. So without farther delay, I present to you my thoughts about “Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars” for the Nintendo Wii.

Red Fly has officially put more effort into the graphics of this game than most developers put into their games, period. Every inch of this game is absolutely gorgeous and not just because the art design is awesome, but also because the game is fairly impressive on the tech side of things as far as the Wii goes. There’s not much out there that compares to this on the console that looks this good. The world is generally very dark, yet bright and high detailed. There’s a lot of weird little things scattered about and the level design is is cool in that “Katamari Demacy” sense because you’re a small mushroom wandering around on objects in our rather large world. Every inch of every object and character is a masterpiece and you’d be hard-pressed to find much better on the Wii in this department.

Sound effects and music aren’t far behind the visual presentation, either. The music and sound effects are generic in their own ways, but they fit together perfectly in such a way that’s unique to only this game. There’s an almost spooky, dark tone to the music and it works so perfectly here that I just couldn’t picture it any other way. This is the kind of game that I love to listen to, but wouldn’t listen to if it were laid out in CD form. The music is a part of the game and serves only that purpose, but it’s perfect for that job.

To round out this near-perfect little package, the gameplay is damn near flawless. There wasn’t a single moment of this crazy adventure that I didn’t enjoy. It’s rather easy, but that seems to be the intent of the developers, as this game seems to focus more on sheer fun factor, a bit of dark humor and level design to make players excited. After all, games don’t have to be difficult to be fun. The controls are as simple as it gets and are pretty much the standard platforming controls as far as the Wii goes. Simply press a button to jump, shake the Wiimote to attack and hit a button on the d-pad to move the camera. And with that, you’re off to explore the whacked out world of “Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars” as the lovable mushroom scavenger, Pax. You’ll collect all sorts of junk and make everything from melee weapons to flamethrowers to destroy the onslaught of various enemies that you’ll encounter along the way. There are a few nifty (and rather easy) puzzles to be solved, a handful of (easy, but cool) boss fights and lots of generic platforming, as well as a bunch of item collecting. Generic as the platforming aspect may be, this game is anything but generic due to the atmosphere, level design and very fresh concept. It’s not a very long game, though, so it may not be worth more than a rent for most serious gamers. There’s also a “Super Mario Galaxy” style co-op mode in which a second player can jump in to help out whoever’s controlling Pax in a small variety of ways, but really it’s just not all that fun to be the second player. At the end of the day, “Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars” is the best game that’s been released for the Nintendo Wii for a long time and it’s worth noting that this game could indeed be the start of an entirely new third party franchise.

Overall, Red Fly has created one of the most ridiculous, but amazing games for the Nintendo Wii. If they don’t make a few high calibur sequels, they’d be losing out on a potential huge cash-in.

Pros:
-Amazing and fresh art design.
-Technically impressive graphics for the Nintendo Wii.
-Music and sound effects create the perfect atmosphere in combination with the visuals.
-Very innovative and fresh concept.
-Levels feel very cool once you realize what you’re exploring.

Cons:
-Could be a bit longer.
-Co-op could have been cool if it were a bit deeper.
-Price seems a bit high for such a short game.

Bottom Line:
I recommend that everyone who owns a Nintendo Wii rents this game. If you like it, support Red Fly and buy the game to encourage them to create a sequel or ten. I’d love to see more of this game!

Overall Rating: 8.50

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