Our time with Mugsters has been short, it has been simple, and it has been sweet. Mugsters is the newest game from the publisher behind Overcooked, The Escapists 2, Yooka-Laylee, and most recently Yoku’s Island Express. Knowing all that, Mugsters has some big shoes to fill. Can it keep up with the endless wonder of Yooka-Laylee? Can Team17 deliver another game that can carry the same multiplayer fun, creativity, and excitement as Overcooked?
Mugsters is a deceptively simple sandbox puzzler where you are simply dropped onto a main island – a hub, if you will – and left to figure it all out. From the get go all we have is a simple landscape, a vending machine that dispenses exploding barrels, a few vehicles for joyriding, and that's about it. The home island is split up into a few areas. The first is a small area with several portals to other islands housing a myriad of challenges, humans to save, and crystals to collect. The second is an area with several pods for the humans we save. All this is tied together with a thumping, minimal soundtrack, and tight physics-based gameplay to get the job done.
In the island section with many portals we are given a wide arsenal to achieve the set objective. In one island we got to fly a plane to escape the island. In another we were told to destroy a satellite. All the while, our additional goal is to save as many humans as possible in each level and collect the hidden crystals. Do all this and we were given the ability to challenge a time attack mode of the level. How we managed it didn’t seem to matter, as long as we managed to not fall off the island, get picked up by UFOs, or get hit by rocket turrets. This is where the game seemed to shine bright as can be. We were able to go in with one or two players and frequently managed to just mess around until we accidentally achieved the result. We could either go in with the task at hand and complete the objective as quickly as possible, or we could leisurely explore the game world and stumble into the correct choices. Either way, we were having a ton of fun just goofing off and manipulating the physics of the game.
As we progressed further and further, the threats of the island became more apparent. Some levels had aliens piloting their UFOs chasing us constantly with the threat of abduction, halting our progress then and there. Others had lasers, rockets, and many, many more threats in our way. At the end of the day, however, the goal remained the same. Complete the objective. Save the human. Find the crystal. Unlock the time attack. But that is about all that remained constant in our brief stint with Mugsters. There is so much variation in this game that it remained fresh the entire time we played it, and if it ever felt redundant, we would just take a break by racing around with the vehicles we had unlocked on the hub island.
Mugsters may not hit all the notes of a fast frenetic party game, and it may not have the deepest story to suck you in and keep you playing for months and months. However, the endless variety and sense of curiosity we felt playing, exploring, and blowing stuff up was enough to keep us very, very busy. This is a game with no definite end in sight, and absolutely no boredom to be had.