[Review] Hands On with Mushroom 11
I recently got my hands on Mushroom 11 from Untame and I was simply blown away. Those who know me know that I'm not overly effusive, but I haven't been able to stop talking about Mushroom 11 since I played it. This game is simply wonderful. If you love games you want to try this game; it is a specimen of the finest quality.
Now, on to the details:
Mushroom 11 is at its heart a puzzle game.
The unique aspect is the way you interact. You move an amorphous fungus around the game world by "erasing" parts of it with your fingers. The fungus then regenerates what it lost somewhere else on the fungus blob. The end result is that you can make this fungus come alive and move, but not directly.
Mushroom 11 is a post-apocalyptic puzzle-platformer with unique control mechanics. Guide a mysterious amorphic organism across brain-twisting obstacles, overcome swarms of bizarre mutated creatures, and understand the true nature of the devastation from which you emerged.
As you move through the worlds the challenges are varied in rhythm and style. A few are races against rising lava. Other puzzles involve learning to split yourself. Other puzzles require you to precisely control the growth of the fungus while other require you to quickly erase the fungus and force regrowth. The end result is an intiuitive bit of gameplay that quickly becomes natural, but also encourage a bit of experimentation. Mushroom 11 naturally encourages you to try new approaches and to think about ways you might interact with the fungus to greater effect.
After a few minutes of playing I found myself stopping, analyzing a puzzle and turning my head while I thought about it.
I was thinking about Mushroom 11 hours and days later.
I know from past experience that this head turning motion is something that only happens when I am completely immersed in a game and I rarely experience this. When it first happened I had this moment of frission and a smile shot across my face. That is a rare experience in a video game. I'm not jaded (I love video games) but the feeling of immersion, interest and engagement of my brain was a unique experience.
When I first walked away from the booth I found myself going over the puzzle that had stumped me. I was thinking about Mushroom 11 hours and days later. However, this thoughtfulness is not the same as raw obsession it is deeper, more thoughtful, more.... more... I can't really put my finger on it. It is something as amorphous as the blob you play in the game.
My only criticism of Mushroom 11 is that it isn't out now and I very much want to play Mushroom 11 now.
The game I played could be released and people would buy it; on a personal level I want to buy this game and solve all the puzzles. Yes, that is selfish, but it is how I feel. Itay and Julia at Untame have been working on this game for quite a while and they are still doing experiments like A/B testing tutorials and they have a few more areas to design and build. If the extra time until release is spent perfecting the rest of the game to the level of the part that I played then it will be worth the wait. I can only hope that this gnawing desire to play the game subsides a bit so I can get back that part of my brain.
To Itay and Julia: Take as long as you need to get it as good as you want it to be... then release it immediately!