The Mummy Demastered Review
The Mummy Demastered is the latest under-advertised little Metroid-clone from WayForward Technologies, those guys who did those other licensed games and are mostly known as the “Huh? They’re still alive?” guys. And also the Shantae series, WayForward did that. More relevantly they did Aliens Infestation, this has quite a bit in common with that. This is a Mummy Demastered Review.
As is common for WayForward Technologies Inc., they’re solely looking backwards and emulating old genres and tech. Are you even incorporated, WayForward? How much of your existence is a lie?
In Django Unchained you play as a faceless, voiceless, nameless agent. Not even THE faceless, voiceless, nameless agent, just an agent. You’re expendable, exploitable, and you and the rest of your faceless agent buddies have been sent to go slap down some upstart deity who wants to take over the city, presumably kill everyone, pretend they don’t know where the remote is. Even though you know perfectly well that they do know where it is, they saw it last, but no they’re going to continue sitting there all innocent. So you know, pure evil.
And only you can stop it! Or the guy who replaces you when you die. Or the guy after him. There’s a hierarchy here.
As an agent of the Prodigium, a nonsensical name I copied and pasted from the store page, you have full reign to use any lethal arms and occult relics you happen to stumble along across the way. And also full reign to pick up 50 shiny circles that do absolutely nothing. Medkits and bandoleers are free game also.
Generally just do the whole genre-staple thing, pick up everything that comes with the genre and staple it to yourself to become more powerful at shooting things in the face. It’s a good formula.
First thing you’ll notice is that the game looks fantastic on the storefront page. And it does ingame, beginning to end. Intricate visuals, both subtle and noticeable colours, just about everything about the pixel art is gorgeous to look at. Accompanying this is a soundtrack that’s all exploration, ambience and electronic with a fairly fast-paced beat to it. Combine these two with decent character animation that doesn’t cut too many corners, and you’ve got a smartly presented package that’s engaging to look at and doesn’t get old.
Those genre-stapling arms your agent is permitted to pick up are sorted into a variety of gradually more ridiculous guns. You start with a wee little peashooter (complete with an adorable “pew pew pew” sound effect, it’s completely worthless), move onto your shotguns and assault rifles, glide on up to a flamethrower and harpoon, and then rocket skyward into some completely nuts weapons that I don’t even want to tell you about. They all feel great to use, apart from the prison shower room-mocked peashooter, and the while the game initially balances their hefty benefit by giving you an absurdly small ammo count, endgame ammo cumulative bonuses means you’re using nothing but whatever weapon you want at that particular moment in time and just coasting from checkpoint to checkpoint.
To go along with the arms, the relics. These are mostly just passives, and unlike Mummy Demastered’s genre contemporaries giving you new moves or magic, you’ll largely be using the same moveset from beginning to end, except now you can jump slightly higher or take more damage. Don’t all gasp in amazement at once, now.
Luckily for the game, that moveset you use is responsive and fun. Now, I solely used a controller – didn’t bother with a mouse and keyboard – and with that controller everything felt fast, solid and arcade in how quickly you snapped to movement. Your agent is an agile little fella, with very small animation delays between movements and a roll just in case you want one. You won’t go faster. Can roll under stuff if the fancy strikes you. You can run and gun or lock yourself in place to shoot in all eight cardinal directions with no delay in between the two modes, and it all feels like a cohesive whole.
I do absolutely recommend a controller with this one. It’s as arcade as it looks, and it’s entirely keyboard based if you don’t pick up a pad. Direction controls shooting angle either way, this isn’t a twinstick.
To test your moveset, you get to go up against a whole bunch of enemy types, that range from giant bug, to zombie, to other giant bug! Yeah they’re a wee bit rote. I’m not all that familiar with Egyptian mythological demons, but I’m sure there was more material to work with than just mummies and bugs, but having burned all their good material on the bosses (featuring one literal sewer alligator) the rest of the enemies get to deal with being first brainstorm meeting runoffs transformed magically into pretty underwhelming results.
You can probably guess which famous Egyptian god makes an appearance as a boss! I’ll give you a hint, it’s Anubis.
The enemies themselves cover most of your basic enemy types and a few others. You have the area denier, harasser, rushdown types, a couple of tanks, one spawner and a few more footsie-based or unique ones. They get your bases covered, combine them like the world’s worst baseball field, and even have later enemy types show up in earlier areas just to keep you on your toes when you’re running passes on the map. It works well. The bosses themselves mostly just fall into being a big blob that throws projectiles at you, moves a bit, takes a metric tonne of damage to take down, maybe spawns some enemies, has lame telegraphs. A couple of steps above your infamous Acclaim bosses that were annoying to fight and actively made the game worse, this lot are inoffensive at worst.
They’re typical WayForward bosses that are just kind of lame. Torn between “make more bosses because half those areas just ended” or “improve the bosses you have” because there’s one exception to their boss formula, and it’s the final boss. Which is a good segue into the complaints.
The final boss is fine, just complaints in general.
Right, I’m not a big fan of the whole “faceless exploitable agent” thing. Have to admit, I’m more of a “one character” guy, especially when it comes to a Metroid-clone where the emphasis is on character progression. Now luckily, there’s not a single forced death in the game and honestly your only real trouble is going to be up until you get the first healthbar booster. Keep on top of your upgrades and don’t rush into boss fights with no health or ammo, and you won’t die. Or else just quit to the menu like a scrub when the Anubis boss whittles you down to half a bar because you kept running into his massively telegraphed slow fireballs like a rube (I did that).
Now WayForward isn’t so fond of that whole “not dying” thing. They kinda want you to die. Just once or twice, drive home that the mechanic exists. To that end, there is not a single full-heal in this game outside of picking up a health bar boost, and there’s not a lot of those for a Metroid-clone. What that means is that when it comes high time to try and get full health on your fragile, permadeath-prone little agent, you have to grind the lanterns or crates for the 5/20 point health drops (which never increases with your boosted health bar and so it can be out of an effective 1100 points of health, do the math for how many crates smashed that is), and they can get mighty stingy with those drops if they decide you need shotgun shells for your full shotgun instead. It’s full. Stop giving me shotgun shells. I have enough. Please.
This isn’t really that big of an issue as it sounds. Once you have your first couple of health boosts, you can safely just trudge through with half health and enjoy the increased drops and most of the boss areas have a fountain of crates and lanterns to grind on over and over until you’re safely full health for the – yeah that still sucks. It sucks, WayFoward.
Now I’ve heard terrible things about actually dying. Something about having to Killer 7ing it, getting a weak unupgraded character to go sock your old buddy in the face and get your dirty magazines back. Yet to test it. Not really my scene, wouldn’t advise you die either. Generally it’s a bad look for most people.
Apart from those scant few annoyances that I had (specifically me), that’s really all I have for complaints. And they’re really niggling complaints.
Aside from grinding for health, that can hit the road like the chump it is.
Now it is 20 dollars for a 5-6 hour game. Whether or not it’s worth it is your end, I’ve found most Metroid-clones to last about that long. Metroidvanias, those can last a while and are fond of numbers, but there isn’t a level or strength stat in sight for this game. Bought this one myself, wasn’t a review copy or anything, and I don’t regret a second of it.
Disclaimer: PC Aficionado purchased this game for the purpose of this review.
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- Fantastic Visuals
- Responsive, Fast Gameplay
- Impressive OST
- Nice Character Progression
- Grinding For Health Drops
- Lame Bosses