The RPS Advent Calendar, Dec 15th: Mushroom 11

What is the best platform game of 2015? The RPS Advent Calendar highlights our favourite games from throughout the year, and behind today’s door is…

Mushroom 11!

Adam: Mushroom 11 is a point and click game, in the sense that all you can do is point and click. There are no special abilities to deploy and no extra controls to learn – you click and you move. Sort of. What actually happens is that you click to delete portions of the organism that you’re kinda-controlling and it grows new cells to replace them. By forcing growth in a certain direction, you can influence the thing’s movement, causing it to flow like liquid through narrow tunnels and cracks, and to separate, climb, grapple and adhere.

That might sound complicated. It might not even make sense. One of the wonderful things about Mushroom 11 is that everything about it makes sense as soon as you sit down to play. It’s a game needs not a single instructions because the central character is essentially a toy. You poke at it and play with it, and apart from a few rather nasty switches in the learning curve, the game encourages you to play as you learn.

Mushroom 11 is the spiritual sequel to World of Goo that I always hoped someone would make one day. It’s as if an interactive exhibit in a science and technology museum has escaped and evolved into something new, something that provides hours of entertaining challenge rather than two minutes of distraction.

John: Beyond the excellent Mushroom 11, 2015 has been a disappointing year for platform-puzzlers. The genre was thriving recently, and a wealth of Kickstarters attempted to maximise on the success of nostalgia and Trine. But few have proven to be anything special, and new and novel approaches have been few and far between.

It’s tempting to say Mushroom 11 stands out for not being a game about changing worlds to different effect, but that’s actually doing it a huge disservice. Mushroom 11 stands out by being a brilliantly smart idea, superbly executed, and constantly rewarding to play.

A mass of some manner of organic material is controlled by its deletion – erase a chunk on one side and it’ll regrow on the other. Learn to do this well, and you can start to control it with extraordinary precision, letting you adapt your skills to the increasingly tricky challenges it presents. The art is beautiful, the music amazing, and the variety in challenge always engaging.

Go here for more of our picks for the best PC games of 2015.

12 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    This is surprising, I recall the review you did for this game was fairly luke-warm.

    • brokengod says:

      From the WIT:

      “It’s rare for a puzzle game to be truly original, but Mushroom 11 can claim that accolade. It applies its originality in smartly traditional ways, employing 2D physics puzzles in a new style. It’s glitchless, which is a rare treat, especially for a game that lets you break your blob into many parts and jam them in between rotating cogs and swinging platforms. It’s one of the best puzzle games in a very long time.”

      Lukewarm?

  2. kaer says:

    Having not played this game, I can’t speak upon it. To those who have played both, would you put this “above” Ori and the Blind Forest?

    • caff says:

      In my view, they’re very different games.

      Ori just annoyed me – it’s very pretty, but the level designs confused me with repetition and bad flow.

      Mushroom 11 is a bit more like World of Goo, but with a moody feel and awesomely dark electronic soundtrack.

    • draglikepull says:

      I don’t really know how you’d compare them. One is a platform-y Metroidvania, one is a linear physics puzzler.

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        gritz says:

        And yet when the question “What is the best platform game of 2015?” is asked, Mushroom 11 gets the nod here at RPS.

        • draglikepull says:

          I wouldn’t call Mushroom 11 a platformer at all. I’m not really sure why RPS did. There’s no jumping, for starters.

  3. draglikepull says:

    I started playing this the other day, and I kind of have mixed feelings about it. When it comes together, it’s a blast. But sometimes it just feels really finnicky and I have to repeat a lot of tasks because I can’t get the balance of things juuuuuust right.

    I’m also stuck at the end of Chapter 2 just after the boss fight because I can’t figure out how to get across the purple pit, so that’s making me less inclined toward the game at the moment.

  4. Dragane says:

    There is a bug on your main Advent Calendar page. Links from 9th december on don’t work.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Lexx87 says:

    I really enjoyed the first hour of this, but as it went on it got mired on horrible frustration :(

    Got so fucked off with it I deleted it in a foul rage.

  6. Banks says:

    I wanted to love this but I ran out of patience.

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    Waltorious says:

    That amazing music you mention, John, is by The Future Sound of London, who happen to be one of my favorite artists. I strongly recommend checking out their catalog, they’ve put out a lot of stuff and it’s (almost) uniformly excellent.

    Actually, some of the music from Mushroom 11 was previously released (I recognized the trailer music as one of the tracks from the “From the Archives” series) but, according to Google, some of the tracks in the game were not and are therefore unique to the soundtrack.

    (I haven’t actually played Mushroom 11 yet but it’s on my list!)