A meteorite enters Earthís atmosphere, so small that it mostly fractures and burns out. Life goes on as if nothing happened, unless youíre a mushroom. Welcome to Mushroom Men Ė The Spore Wars, where world suddenly changes and mushrooms evolve into sentient beings that walk and talk. For many mushroom species with self-awareness also comes war. They fight to control the meteorite chunks that gave them their new life and skirmishes break out in many places. Away from all that, a single spore travels on the wind and eventually ends up in a peaceful mushroom colony where he learns heís not like other mushrooms Ė he can absorb chunks of meteorite. Embarrassed about the fact that he just absorbed the holy stone of another species, Pax sets off on a journey to find out what is happening to him.
An interesting concept of this game grips you immediately. You see this beautifully designed world from a perspective of a 2 inch tall mushroom. The shift in perspective makes our own world so magical, helped with the stunningly good graphics. The world is so full of colour and shapes you just want to stand there and admire the artwork. Strange and wonderful music and sound effects only serve to further this experience. The thought put into details shows just how beautiful games on Wii can really be. This is a truly inspired game and as such it fills you with expectation. It promises not only a beautiful world, but a great adventure and a great game playing experience. And then, as you meet your first enemy or try and jump over the first gap, the main flaw of this game comes right up to you and slaps you in the face: The camera!
How can it be that in the age of such inventive technologies as Wiimote and WiiFit board, after several generations of games with perfectly reasonable camera controls I come across the game that makes me want to throw my controller at my brand new 42Ē TV because the camera angle changes as I jump? Or come close to enemies. Or jump over enemies. Or Ö wellÖ do anything! How can it be that Spyro on PS1 managed a perfectly functional camera and easy camera control 9 years ago and such a beautiful and inspired game as Mushroom Men canít? I cannot express my frustration enough without using unprintable language. Suffice to say I make sure that Wiimote is safely secured to my wrist before I play Mushroom Men, even though Iím not known as a player that throws controllers at the telly in frustration.
And yet, in many ways, itís a wonderful game. Itís a classical 3D platform game where you go around searching meteorite chunks and bits and pieces that may come in handy for making new weapons. You donít acquire new weapons simply by finding them. Instead, you find junk humans have lost or thrown away and put it together to make many of the gameís brilliant weapons. I love the variety in the bizarre things you can make. Iím sure I wonít be the only one amused by the fact that you can make a slashing weapon called Occamís Razor, or a bashing weapon called Beat Ďem Down Scottie. In short, there are four weapon types and certain weapons work better against certain types of creatures. And believe me, the variety in creatures is very, very good. An awful lot of thought has gone into this game and itís a credit to the designers.
One thing I found really neat in both concept and implementation is the fact that your health is not determined by some sort of a number. Instead, your mushroom cap actually visually shows the state you are in. If you are in full health, itís full, but as you get hurt it starts looking like someone took bites out of it. Ouch! It also appears to show your brain underneath, just in case you didnít get the idea. As you find meteorite dust or actual chunks, your health fills up. Your mushroom cap also doubles up as a shield, so if you can anticipate the attacks, you can try and deflect them. That is especially useful for various ranged attacks you come up against.