Max Mustard – The Review

March 23, 2024 ·

Regarding the platformer genre, what do you look for the most? Is it the characters? Maybe it’s the level design? Or maybe, it’s the entertainment of it all? For me, I consider the above factors, along with the art style, and evaluate if something new is being brought to the table. Since the 80s, platformers have entertained us, progressed, and have become more challenging over the years. So does the developer, Toast Interactive, bring the fun and challenges to the genre? Let’s find out with Max Mustard for the Quest 3.

Max Mustard is a made-for-VR platformer with a timeless, delightful art style. Each of the hand-crafted levels is its unique adventure, designed for intense gameplay, exhilarating surprises, and constant variety. No boring bits! It’s the perfect combination of first-person power-ups and classic third-person platforming. Along the way, you’re faced with a surprise dilemma when a friend reveals a secret about who they really are. They impose a question on you that impacts the fate of your worst enemy.

So before you try to master all the levels, there are a few things that you should be aware of. First, find your favorite place to sit. It will just add to the fun you are about to encounter. Second, ensure that you charge your Touch Plus controllers and headset. You don’t want to be playing and see that message about how low your battery is or for the controllers to stop responding, do you? Third, I am not going to spoil anything for anyone. And finally, just have some fun as you deserve it. With all that said, let’s continue…

When you first start the game, at least at the time of the review, I noticed not only how colorful everything is, but when I looked to my left, I saw a sign attached to the rock about future updates. And with those future updates, there were two things, Resolution Upgrade and Don’t pull the lever. I had to stop for a minute and think about the resolution upgrade that would be coming. I mean, I haven’t started the game at this point and the Max Mustard world looked good and sounded good.

After pressing A, you also have the option of starting a new game, options, and return. I would suggest going into options first as you cannot only adjust the sound and music levels but also select your language, dominant hand, and controls. With the controls, you can elect to have the haptics on or off, as well as the haptics strength. Once you have everything set up the way you like it, it’s time to start the game. This is when this circle that becomes an oval shape allows you to see what’s going on, but yet, not be part of the world. Seeing that some of the mudpups are being sucked up by some Octopus with a brain. That look that one of the mudpups gives you makes the rescue that much more exciting and fun. Maybe because of the challenge, or maybe it’s the fact that one businessman named Stubbins is making more money collecting and selling those mudpups. But I couldn’t tell which was more startling, the mudpups being stolen or the fact that the five-eyed octopus was staring at me. And to make it even worse, this thing with a brain only has four tentacles. So from this point on, I shall call you Quadapus. Well, Quadapus, with your five eyes, you need to bring those mudpups back.

But at this point, I cannot do this alone. The great thing is I don’t, as this is when Max Mustard appears from one fantastic RV with boosters. This is when you get to start playing. You get to control Max. In the first time meeting, you will notice Max has three hearts with only one filled. So, for those familiar with the platform genre, this should be a game that you do not have to worry about getting used to how things go and should be able to jump right in.

One thing about Max that you might notice as you start is the fire that comes from her shoes. This comes in handy when you need to make some of the more challenging parts of each level With the excellent created levels, you will want to try & collect coins and rescue mud pups, which can be anywhere, as there also will be times when you will get to help out other than controlling by a plunger gun. I will say that having the plunger gun in your hand feels really good and when you shoot things, is a nice touch.

You want to be on the lookout for the C markers throughout the levels, as these are your checkpoints. This way, if you have a mishap, you don’t have to start from the beginning of the level. Also, be on the lookout for the colorful lamps. Timed events will occur where the letters of your name will appear, and you will want to try to collect them. At the end of each level, you get to see how many mudpups you rescued. There will be what looks like a gaming board between the levels and you will move Max to the different areas on the board. Once you complete a level, and you feel you could have done better, replay any of the already completed levels. You will see notes that were sent to you when you get to the part where you can move Max. I again will not spoil anything, but the notes do help when telling the story. Some spots will allow you to take a break from the platforming to use your plunger gun to shoot at targets to earn extra coins. The coins you collect throughout the levels add up so you can use them in the shop to purchase extras.

Not only will you have to deal with the different enemies, trying to rescue the mudpups, and try to make it through each of the levels, but at the final spot for each board is the level where you take on the boss. Each boss has its way of how it will try to defeat you. All I can say is to pay attention to what is going on and make sure to use Max’s boost to your advantage.

Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. With the graphics, everything looks good, with each level having its artistic approach that brings out the joy of playing. Seeing and controlling Max in the 3rd-person style, everything comes to life with this welcoming sense. The amount of detail that Toast Interactive has added from a tree with the light hitting it just right to even the bosses. There is just something wonderful here that everyone can find something to appreciate.

With the music, you have the music of each level that fits. Hearing the sounds of the coins you collect to just jumping around, it’s a real joy to hear everything independently. I liked how the audio levels would change and adapt based on where and what you are doing. If you have your plunger gun with the wind attachment, you can hear that clearly, while the music lowers depending on where Max is.

There are a few things that would be great to see. First, the graphics. Don’t get me wrong, the graphics are good, but it is that sign that I saw at the very beginning with a resolution upgrade coming that has me wondering how much better things will appear. Second, voices. There is no voice audio here. When you first come across Max, I think there might have been a missed opportunity to say something. Something as simple as “Hi, I’m Max and I need your help.” And then explain what is going on. Yes, there are the notes that you receive, but those do not read out to you so you can feel some emotion with who is sending the notes and why. Third, interactions. It would be nice to have Max interact with you now and then. Even a simple wave would have been a good addition here. Fourth, leaderboards. It would be interesting to see who had the fastest time and then try to beat the score. And finally, more of Max Mustard. I do hope that there are plans to meet with Max again in the future.

Max Mustard brings the fun, challenge, and heart to the platform genre. Each level feels and looks different, and being able to expect the unexpected is part of the fun that everyone should experience. Sometimes, we face challenges in our lives, no matter how big or small they may be. We can either try to take them on all by ourselves or sometimes we get to take them on with a friend when we never asked for help, but comes at a time when we may need it the most. And that’s when we realize that things may not be as challenging as we thought when you have someone who has your back. And couldn’t we all use that one friend in our lives?

Max Mustard is out now for the Quest 2, 3, & Pro on the Meta Store and is also coming to PlayStation VR2 and Steam VR. A review code was provided.

To learn more about Toast Interactive, please visit the site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, follow them on Instagram, join the Discord, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have more Max Mustard to have fun with.

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