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Sméagol

The Mummy Demastered

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I more or less finished this last night (yes, in 1 go). I can't recommend it currently unfortunately.. There's a good core game in there, marred by some bad design and some techincal issues. It's also not really long, I've clocked in about 6.5 hours, with a completion rate of 91%.

I'd like to elaborate more on some of the games I have which don't have threads here, consider this an amateur review of some sorts, I intend to do more of these.

Let's start with the good stuff first. The presentation is top notch. This is of course subjective, but is also something you can judge simply by looking at the trailer above, most likely you already know if you like the presentation. The visuals are gorgeous, and I also love the music. The game borrows heavily from other games obviously, more about that in a second, but visually it's pretty unique, with some setpieces you don't typically find in the games it borrows from, like subway tunnels and a London swept by a sandstorm. And the sprite of Sophia Boutella's character is adorable, and though I haven't seen the film, I think it's actually the only character from the film to appear in the game.

The core gameplay is good. The shooting mechanic feels good, and the controls are good too. They feel clumsy sometimes, but this has nothing to do with the controls, but everything with respawing enemies, and the fact that unlike other Metroidvanias, you will never upgrade to be some sort of God who destroys everything in its path. More on that later as well. I would have preferedd a bit more mobility, specifically I would have liked a ledge grab, but that would probably mean some change in level design. The weapons are fun for the most part. It's a unique take on upgrades, as you find new guns, but can only carry two of them, plus your basic gun and one type of grenade. Newer guns are typically more powerful, but also have other characteristics, so there could be a reason to prefer an older weapon. All guns apart from the basic submachine gun you start with require ammo. The game is pretty light on upgrades, most of the stuff you find are ammo upgrades, and the occasional new gun and health upgrade. There are a few more which upgrade your mobility or other aspects, some of them are optional. But like I said, you don't upgrade to be some sort of God, the upgrades are helpful, maybe even necessary, but they don't substantially change how you play the game, you still be running and gunning until the end (as apposed to say, speedboosting and screwattacking through levels).

Level design is something that could be improved. I like it for the most part, but there are a few issues. My biggest issue is with enemies in certain areas. Some areas are so hectic with several (quickly) respawing enemies that platforming through them becomes annoying. Borrowed from Castlevania are the notorious medusas, crows in this case, but your nameless protagonist lacks the mobility of Samus or any of the modern Castlevania protagonists. There is even a Clock tower present (though unfortunately the crows are not confined to it), and making it to the top is tough, annoying even. I've fallen down plenty times, that's not counting the times I deliberately dropped down to get some collectible. The game has collectibles scattered about, though I don't think they actually do something. A smaller issue is the lack of "teleports" in certain areas. There's a helicopter in some rooms, which allows you to transport to one of the other helicopter rooms. Unfortunately, there are no helicopter rooms in the undergroud areas. Narratively this makes sense, but it's a bit annoying. I like the helicopter sprite, but they could easily find another excuse to transport you around. It's not an huge issue, backtracking is very minimal in this game. There is plenty of stuff hidden in previous areas, but all of it is optional. And the game isn't that big anyway. 

One of my big issues with the game is a strange design decision that makes the game more difficult than it needs to be: Health is extremely difficult to regain. Losing health is easy, with all the respawning enemies in certain areas. But you can barely get it back. Farming health is technically possible, but not practical. Defeated enemies leave items drops, but they have the most chance of dropping when you're low on something. Out of ammo? Here's some. Close to dying? Here, have a few points of health. If you're not close to dying (but also not even close to full health), you will barely get any health items, and if you do only small ones. For ammo this works.. Apart from the beginning with the early weapons or during bossfights, you will rarely run out of ammo. Like health you won't get ammo when you have enough, but the ammo you get when you're low is plenty. But you need way more health than you do need ammo. So why rely on health items? Simply because there's only one other method of regaining health. Save stations only save, you don't get full health back. There are no health stations. The only way to regain full health is picking up one of the (limited) health upgrades. All these mechanics combine to result in a situation where I'm walking around with half health for 80 % of the game, and for 19.9 % with even less than that. So when you enter one of later (and tougher) areas, these create the perfect circumstance to die.

So here's my other big issue with the game. Let's talk about this game's gimmick: the zombiefying of your character upon its death. I really thought this sounded cool in theory, in practice however.. What happens when you die is this: your former player character will walk around roughly at the place of death, walking around with your upgrades and weapons you had equipped. The maximum seems to be 3, if you happen to die before killing your former colleague. They themselves are not a huge problem. They move slowly, don't shoot often, and are slow to react. Their health is based upon how many health upgrades you had, but it's not the same amount, they're more easily to kill. In theory. What makes them difficult is the circumstances of your death. If you die, it's probably because things are getting difficult. You're trying to shoot crows in all directions, but then get bit by the zombies spawning below you. You die. And you respawn! As a new nameless agent, at your last savepoint , practically vanilla. You have your basic submachine gun, but no other weapons, and no health upgrades. You only retain any of the 4 required upgrades you may have found, that's it. If there's a weapon cache nearby, you can use it to get any other weapons your former player character had not equipped, so that's a plus. But you have 99 health. Of course you want those weapons and upgrades back, and in order to do that, you need to kill your zombie. I died in one the later areas, where you have a shitload of respawning crows, respawning zombies who can 2-hit you (remember, you're walking around with 99 health now) and respawning pharaoh ghost which are difficult to avoid, plus there a zombie walking around now, with your best weapons. Suffice it to say I died a couple more times there. Dying once creates a snowball effect which is hard to recover from.

Just to give another example of how ridulous dying gets.. After some technical issues, I made another attempt at the final boss. And died. Which resulted in a zombie spawning in a dedicated room before the boss, so that you don't have to fight them both. That's probably a good thing not only for balance reasons, but also technical ones. Anyway, my zombie was carrying a rocket launcher, and what do you know? They're pretty effective in small rooms. The result was this:

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So before I can even attempt the boss again, I have to kill 3 zombies with my best weapons now. Technically I can ignore them, but going in with (at most) 99 health and your basic weapon obviously drastically reduces your chances with the final boss. I only got out of there by abusing invincibility frames from a non-lethal hit, then spray and praying.

Apart from these design issues, there are some technical issues. You will frequently get low framerates in areas with respawning crows, especially if you try to kill them with the later weapons. In the later areas this gets really bad. Sometimes you can't even see if you're shooting, as your shots disappear. It's especially disappointing as Shantae: half genie hero runs as smooth as butter. I guess the engine can't handle all the stuff going on. It's the worst if you're using the final weapon: the plasma gun, firing at the final boss who's firing 50 fireballs at you. Like I mentioned, I made another attempt at the boss due to technical issues.. Apparently, all the stuff the engine can't handle not only results in a low framerate, it actually froze the boss a few times. The game keeps running, but the boss won't do anything. The final boss is pretty tough, but this is the other extreme. Perhaps the game doesn't want me to use the plasma gun on the boss. Since I've either died, or defeated the boss in this specific state, I can't officially say I've beaten the game, even though I technically have.

Anyway, there you have it. It's a relative short game. A good metroidvania in its core, but light on upgrades, and marred by a frustrating artifical difficulty, and technical issues. If the above mentioned mechanics don't sound unfair to you, and / or you like a challenge, then maybe I can (barely) recommend it, after a patch and perhaps with a discount. For others, if you haven't bought it already, I recommend Axiom Verge instead.

♥♥♥♥♥ 3/5

Edited by Sméagol
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I second the death reanimating feature. It sounds so cool, like in Zombi U, but in practice it unfairly punishes you for dying in a difficult area. However, I played this on Steam and no performance issues were to be seen at all. Maybe it’s a Switch thing??? The core game is great, but I preferred Tiny Barbarian DX Over this, for retro inspired 2D action platformer a that have been recently released.


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A new update seems to have fixed a lot of issues that people had with the game.

Quote

The Mummy Demastered has been updated with a smoother frame rate, shorter load times, and re-balanced death mechanic! Switch version adds all new HD Rumble!

This update includes:

– Initial load time has been drastically reduced.

– HD Rumble added to Nintendo Switch version

– Revamped the death mechanic:
> Health Packs regained from Undead Agents default to full
> Weapons Regained from Undead Agents have more ammo
> Undead Agents health more fairly balanced, based on number of Health Packs they are holding

– Health drops are more fairly balanced

– Spawn Frequency of Bats, Ravens, and Spiders re-balanced

– HP of all bosses has been re-balanced

– Game performance greatly increased

 

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Excellent. Got it at launch. Didn’t touch it. Sounds like the wait has produced a better version. 

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Bought, played and finished this yesterday evening. Loved it.

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As you can see, I had zero deaths so I didn't get to experience the whole zombie thing. The game was pretty easy but fun and not once did I feel like I was close to death. I'll be back on it tonight as I need to unlock a few more items and parts of the map.

I love it when developers put stupidly oversized bosses in their games and this one certainly delivers.

Spoiler

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There is a good sense of progression in the game. At the start all I had was a little machine gun...

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....but later on I had a full on plasma gun that decimated enemies...

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By the end of the game I was tearing though enemies left and right. :D 

I had a great time with it and I wish I'd picked it up sooner....not as soon as @Sméagol though. It appears he had a bit of a nightmare with the game but as it is now I think it's a great eShop title and well worth a buy.

 

Edited by Hero-of-Time
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Yeah it's ridiculously easy, I didn't die once either. Isn't humble bragging great :laughing:

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40 minutes ago, Ronnie said:

Yeah it's ridiculously easy, I didn't die once either. Isn't humble bragging great :laughing:

Both Londragon and Smeagol's ( as well as others who played it before the patch ) mentioned how hard and unbalanced the game was. I made the comment about how easy the game is purely as a comparison to how hard it used to be before the patching.

The amount of health pick ups and ammo that are scattered about the place make it very hard to die. You can even farm safe rooms if need be by just entering and exiting the area to replenish your health and ammo. From what i've read, pick ups weren't dropped that often from enemies and enemies themselves were more aggressive and done more damage. Wayforward clearly listened to complaints and re-balanced the game accordingly. It's hard to say whether I would like the original version or not but I can say that I loved what I played yesterday evening.

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I haven't touched the game since "finishing it", so I haven't experienced the game post-patch.

I'd love to revisit it at some point, but either you people are that good, or the game's difficulty has been changed so much it's now at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Which also doesn't sound good to be honest. I had issues with mostly 2 things, and other stuff didn't need changing in my opinion. Tweaked at most. I never felt bosss needed less HP for example.

Now I'm wondering how you two would have fared in the game pre-patch, but I guess we'll never know.

Edited by Sméagol

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Woke up at 4am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep so I decided to crack on with this. I managed to get 100% done before shooting off to work. :yay:

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Some of the relics were a pain to find as there was no way to know if I had already picked them up or not. I had to do sweeps of each area in order to make sure I hadn't missed one. 

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