Early Access Build – Version 0.82.1
Sometimes I like to chuck a couple of mushrooms into a frying pan, let them simmer with some butter, and then add the cooked mushrooms to whatever meal they go well with. I do however, not think about the pure evilness that mushrooms have inside them. It wasn’t until playing Mushroom Crusher Extreme that I realised that they are in fact, really quite nasty.
Mushroom Crusher Extreme, developed by Mushroom Party, is a top-down, arcade inspired game about fighting away a mushroom invasion. You play as, Zenon. A curved, blocky-headed mage that has magical spells linked to elements available at his fingers. He is however, racing against time, and once the time runs out, if he has failed to clear the level, then he’ll have to do it again until he does it good enough!
you’ll see little slime creatures, some type of evil reapers that are hard to destroy, and…a mutant…furry…squirrel? Chipmunk? Beaver…I think it’s a beaver.
The game begins with a simple level, and allows you access to two spells.You can use the mouse to control your character, but I find the WASD keys to move around easier. When moving around, the ground is basically a rather large collection of tiles, and you, and the Shrooms can only move in a linear fashion. The difference, you can move across tiles freely, whereas the evil fungi can only move a set amount per move. You are able to jump up or down small levels, and over small gaps, but otherwise, you’re quite stuck to the ground.
The spells can be cast simply with the arrow keys. Once cast, they have a slight cool down timer, but it isn’t a lengthy wait so they are fairly instant for re-casting. The two spells available to you upon starting are, Fireball, and Spike Crush. Spike crush will send spikes shooting out of the ground – and is a personal favourite of mine – the first edition of this spell sends two tiles to the front, left, right, and rear of Zenon. Any shrooms on those effected tiles in whichever direction, will take some damage. Fireball is as you’d expect, you launch a ball of fire that flies towards your enemy. It will eventually fade away after 4 tiles.
As the game progresses you unlock more spells, but only by completing certain challenges that arise. You can unlock up to three levels of the same spell with each level causing more damage than the previous, and they can offer more distance, and even radius. In the bottom right on this screen, you see the HUD that you see in game , and you can choose what order to have your spells assigned. The drag and drop function is a bit confusing at first look, but after trial and error you realise you need to drag the specific level – indicated as a block under the emblem – and drag it over instead of dragging the actual emblem. The level select menu is fairly straight forward, showing four levels per season…well, once you unlock them it shows you the available levels. There are a lot of achievements to unlock. I thought I was doing pretty well, then it turned out I had only hit 8% progress on my game!
Once you unlock certain things and meet new enemies, if you head to the main menu, and pop into extras, you’ll find there’s a dictionary that gives you an in-depth look at most of the games characters, worlds, and more. There’s also a music area where you can listen and learn about the sound track. Talking about the soundtrack actually, it’s very inspired by older,retro classics, with upbeat beeps, and head bobbing rhythms, the sound effects are nice, and not overpowering, however they are overshadowed by the awesome soundtracks..
if one level has a total of twenty enemies, then there will five enemies on screen at any time. if one enemy is killed leaving four, then a new one will respawn to bring it back to five.
The enemies are not fun guys…hehehe, they are various types of mushrooms, and each have their own personas, now interestingly, some of them won’t start attacking you until they have been provoked. Prior to that, they just hop around the world without a care. The initial ones you’re faced with are the standard red topped ones, that just hop around, a tile at a time. There are big hopping brown topped ones, water ones that pop up and fire spores at you, and various other ones. They’re not all mushrooms oddly though, you’ll see little slime creatures, some type of evil reapers that are hard to destroy, and…a mutant…furry…squirrel? Chipmunk? Beaver…I think it’s a beaver. Every enemy have their own weaknesses to certain elements, and as it happens your magic spells are elemental!
The gameplay is fairly fast-paced and each level has carefully planned out the amount of enemies, the size of the level, and the time limit in which to eradicate them. Although it does require an almost perfect attack run, otherwise you’ve wasted valuable time missing chances to hit the enemies and as a result, your game becomes a lot more intense and nail biting. The timer is going down, enemies are respawning, and you’re trying to kill everything as quickly as possible. It’s crazy. There’s a reason Mushroom Crusher Extreme has, “Extreme” in the name.
There are a lot of achievements to unlock. I thought I was doing pretty well, then it turned out I had only hit 8% progress on my game!
The respawning enemies is nothing to be worried about though. Each level has a certain amount of enemies that are allowed on screen at one moment in time. An example, if one level has a total of twenty enemies, then there will five enemies on screen at any time. if one enemy is killed leaving four, then a new one will respawn to bring it back to five. Until there is no more respawns left. Also, when they respawn, it isn’t the same enemy as before.
In regards to the levels, the different tile heights can be fairly hard to make out which direction you need to go to get up or down. You’ll be getting stuck in holes, or areas you can’t jump up so you have to go back the way you came, or sometimes go around a short detour. You’ll also find structures such as rocks, blocking your way, they can sometimes be destroyed. It’s a little bit irritating, but adds to that rush of trying to do everything quickly, as well as making your perfect run that little bit less perfect.
Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter are seasons available for you to play through different levels. You begin in Spring with two levels, detailing what enemies are within that world. Each world looks like that specific season has spat up over it, all except Spring and Summer which look roughly the same, only Summer is a touch brighter and more vibrant. Autumn is, as expected, when the trees are dying, and Winter is icy!
The overall look of the game is very bright, and the character models are smooth, and high quality. They look cute, as do the worlds, with shimmering water, and smooth, green grass. Boxes litter the lands, but can be pushed over to form a bridge, or destroyed. It’s a very eye-pleasing game if I’m honest.
Mushroom Crusher Extreme is a wonderful, action packed, top-down game, and while it may be hard to see whereabouts you’re heading sometimes due to the perspective of the game, it’s action, and originality is something to be proud off. I love jumping back on and trying to get through the sheer size of achievements they have included, and the challenging levels that really test your skills.