In this radioactive wasteland, what doesn’t kill you makes you stranger
£10.99 Developer Untame, untame.com
Requires OS X 10.7 or higher
Most fungi aren’t known for their intelligence, but Mushroom 11 is pretty smart. What other game is there where a malleable blob of mould seeps across the post-apocalyptic remnants of civilisation?
In Mushroom 11 you are that mould – a green splat that can’t actually move but can grow, yet has to maintain the same mass. Your mouse is essentially an eraser; only by destroying part of yourself can you move forwards. It’s a mechanic that sounds incredibly awkward, yet it becomes fluid and natural as more complexity is introduced. As you grow, you learn new ways to sculpt yourself, from being a living ramp for explosive projectiles to wrapping yourself around machinery. Each stage ends with a monstrous Lovecraftian entity, and getting past it tests everything you’ve learned.
Mushroom 11 is set against the remains of a civilisation torn apart by nuclear war. Although this is a 2D platformer, the backdrops give it an amazing feeling of depth, as well as being mildly unsettling. There are signs of new life – brightly coloured spiders and flowers – which you roll over and absorb. You wonder what the survivors are so afraid of, but when you see jellyfish fleeing, you realise maybe it’s you. But this revelation doesn’t stop you. There are more flowers to dissolve, and the circle of decay and growth must continue. Alice Bell Mushroom 11 is well designed, beautiful and interesting on many levels. It’s anything but simple.
Original, with fluid controls
Beautiful level design
Can become frustrating
Inspires some existential angst
Post-nuclear apocalypse, the world has a lot more lava than you may be used to.