Freeware Garden: Mussel

In the case of Mussel, mussel stands for Miniature Underwater Strange Squid Eradication Liner and not any kind of bivalve mollusk with a brown or purplish-black shell. It is the name of the underwater fighting vessel you’ll be piloting in the shiny new indie shmup by brothers Jonathan and David Whiting.

Mussel is a game designed around a thumping musical track. A shooter/rhythm game hybrid that is surprisingly successful in getting you into the zone and providing the musical cues you’ll need to blow tons of enemies out of the sea.

It’s a noisy, hectic offering for Windows, Mac and Linux that drops your little submarine in an oddly bright abyss where survival depends upon your ability to quickly shoot chunky pixels in all sorts of forms. Porcupine fish, squids, jelly fish and even mussels are out to get to you and you have to, well, get them instead.

This is easier said than done, of course, as Mussel is brutal and gets even tougher with its recoil mechanic that makes shooting and moving less fluid than you’d want it to be. Deciding whether to go guns blazing or attempting to shoot short, controlled bursts is a tactical decision.

Simply making it through the underwater tunnels formed by moving, shootable rocks should be considered an achievement, and making it to the first boss is quite the triumph.

6 Comments

  1. padger says:

    Can we have these collected into a single post? I can see what you are doing here, but scattering them over the week doesn’t work for me, and I miss Porpentine. I know it’s not all about me. I do. Me.

  2. poetfoxpaul says:

    Nice, thanks for the recommendation. And I disagree with padger, I like these little gems spaced out between other articles.

  3. theapeofnaples says:

    It reminds me of X-Out way back when on the Amiga…

  4. HuvaaKoodia says:

    Great use of screenshake, distortion and other gfx.
    The gameplay is a bit basic as shmups usually implement at least some kind of secondary action along the bog standard bullet hosing. GrandadGradius allows PwrUp selection and OldTimeRType has the multipurpose gadget (apparently called a Force). Even something simple, like weapon charging MegaBuster style, would have sufficed to break the inevitable early stage monotony.

    Didn’t get to the boss yet, but I’ll certainly try again (and again) as the game does induce that goody good shmup challenge.

    I also appreciate the one game per article angle as it gives more attention to the selected title. Playing and commenting on a bunch of interesting games at once is also a bit of an ordeal.

    • HuvaaKoodia says:

      Managed to beat it after a few more tries. The boss was the easiest part of the whole affair!
      Unfortunately there are no additional levels to speak of.
      Fortunately there are countless freeware shmups out there in the wild.
      This seems like a rather extensive collection of the stuff.