Mushroom 11 is the first release from the developer Untame, and I think the developer name suits their first game quite well.
Mushroom 11 is a very unique puzzle game where you’re constantly manipulating a green blob, in order to solve puzzles. This is accomplished by taking your cursor and “deleting” sections of it, and causing it automatically to grow elsewhere on the blob. So think of it like this, pretend you’ve found a patch of moss on the ground. If you took a small torch and burned away at the moss from one side, pretend that as you did so, more moss grew in other directions. It’s a constantly moving and growing entity, but only if you’re destroying it.
Throughout Mushroom 11, you’ll encounter obstacles that might require a moment of thought, and bosses that take a little patience. As I played through it, I didn’t find any area that I couldn’t figure out, but some of the situations (most notably involving a mining cart) weren’t so much about figuring out a puzzle, but seemed left up to chance.
There are a number of plants and floating lifeforms that you can collect by “absorbing” them, by simply moving over them. These count towards what is essentially an achivement counter, so you can feel that you’ve successfully 100%’d a chapter. I would’ve loved if Untame had made it so that these “eatables” would have some benefit or change to your green blob. Maybe if I eat the blue ones, I become more blue? Maybe if I eat the orange ones, there’s a tinge of orange streaking throughout the blob? But all that really happens is you’ll see a small color change for the span of a few seconds, and the satisfaction that you ate the life form, so…for an achievement hunter, you’ll be thrilled, for people out there that need more than an incremental number, it might leave you wanting a little more from the experience.
The pacing throughout the game was rather splendid. There are various environments you’ll find yourself in, and plenty of post-apocalyptic backdrop. The art detail is wonderful. You’ll find yourself constantly looking around the background, checking out every little thing as your blob trudges along across the map. Some of the signs and posters make you feel as though there might be some story going on, some great secret left untold, but upon reaching chapter 5, nothing really stuck out to me. Which isn’t necessarily bad, since there was no promise of story.
The game has a boss at the end of each chapter, and various mechanics that you’ll have to utilize to get through each chapter and defeat some of the bosses. Some of these mechanics might involve the world around you, while others require you to shift your blob into a specific form. The regions around you are wrought with peril. Lava is sometimes a threat, as are certain enemies. There’s poison that’ll seek to kill the entire blob, if you don’t rid yourself of the infected areas in time. Luckily, there are a number of “save points” throughout each chapter. These seem to be at really good intervals. I found that if I completed a certain section that felt hard, I could usually look forward to a save point soon after.
Overall, the game isn’t too hard, and not too easy. It has a nice balance for a puzzle game with unique features. The art style is wonderful and suits it superbly well. Currently the game is available on steam for $14.99 and I think that for a gamer who enjoys puzzles and collecting all the little achievements, there is enough value in the game to warrant that price. If you don’t care about eating every little lifeform and just want something to tide you over for a few hours until you beat it, you may want to wait until it’s somewhere closer to $9.99. At that price, I feel it’d be a fair bargain. If the $14.99 price included the absolutely amazing soundtrack (which is being sold separately for $9.99) then I think that’d be well worth the money.