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The RPS Advent Calendar, Dec 15th: Mushroom 11

2015's best platformer.

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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.

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