|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Red Fly Studio||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Gamecock||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 2, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
This game utilizes the Wii Remote and Nunchuk expertly. Players control Pax's movement with the analog stick, adjust the camera with the D-pad, jump, dodge, and block with the buttons, fight with well-timed waggles of the remote, and activate spore powers by interacting with objects with the Wii-mote's IR camera. This layout feels completely natural, and anyone who played Mario Galaxy will certainly feel right at home. In fact, the platforming found in Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars is on par with the excellent gameplay in that title.
Likewise, the visual and aural presentation is top-notch. The opening cinematic is a bit fuzzy, but the in-engine graphics are about as solid as any third-party developer has put out for the Wii. The varied environments seen from the viewpoint of a three inch mushroom are outstanding and highly detailed. The "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" perspective is even further accentuated by the brooding atmosphere and the early-20th century sci-fi feel. The crew at Red Fly not only nailed the overall style, but their character modeling and art concepts are brilliant; they even managed to make bunnies look crazed and menacing. The pièce de résistance is the many mushroom species that are so thoughtfully designed; you'll often forget they are just fungi. The sound effects are limited, but the comical language of the mushrooms never seems to get tiresome. Additionally, the quirky background music was penned by Primus' legendary bassist, Les Claypool. The unique sounds and rhythms do an excellent job of capturing the eerie and alien feel of the game.
Undoubtedly, Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars will not see as much commercial success as its quality warrants. The game is not perfect, nor will it appeal to everyone. However, Red Fly and Gamecock have done a great job of bringing a compelling adventure to the Wii that uses craftsmanship and care in its creation. This translates to an interesting experience that shouldn't be missed if you're a Wii owner struggling to find quality third-party titles, or if you are just looking for a fun story arc to follow for a few hours.
CCC Editor / News Director