Generally speaking, I find mushrooms to be quite delicious. This outlook doesn't really apply to nuclear mushroom clouds though – I tend to view those types as terrifying harbingers of destruction primed to reduce populated areas into irradiated wastelands. Mushroom 11, naturally, is all about the latter. 

Well, kind of. It all takes place after some nuclear shenanigans have reduced everything around into burnt little shells of their former selves. Players take indirect control of some weird semi-gelatinous green amoeba thingimajig as it springs to life from the depths of an underground station and wobbles off towards the surface. 

That description's probably giving it way too much credit, actually. Leftto its own devices it'll just lie there being totally inert and boring, so by simply swiping a cursor around it can be 'persuaded' to shift its blobbersome backside off to somewhere more interesting. This cursor essentially tears the blob's core structure apart, deleting or dissecting it upon contact. But – zut alors! – it'll regrow the eradicated material in a jiffy elsewhere on its body. Delete amoebalike flesh on one side, spawn more on the other, rinse and repeat until it gets where it needs to be. It's an odd method of traversal, but it works. 

Of course, there are plenty of puzzles getting in the way. Some of these involve moving objects such as elevators, collapsing buildings or conveyor belts – often situated above lava pools where moving at speed tends to be fairly important. Others involve physics, such as filling up a container with enough matter to break it free of its confines, and others still involve hideously mutated plants chucking fiery globs of death at the little green bugger. Honestly though, the best moments barely even register as puzzles – just cram the blob into a narrow pipe, delete one side rapidly and watch him scoosh towards the exit with undue haste. Whee! 

It's perhaps a little unfair to say this based off a preview build that took something like fifteen minutes to complete, but on the whole I'm not overly keen on the puzzles found so far in Mushroom 11. It may only be the first level – of seven in total if the chapter select screen is to be believed – but the solutions were always completely obvious, with only some casual mouse swiping required to encourage our heroic blobbo to trundle off in the required direction. Occasionally things would become a little more complex, such as dissecting a small piece of the organism atop a switch and shoving the rest through a temporarily raised gate before said piece dissolved, but on the whole it was more about wiggling correctly (and sometimes awkwardly) along the path than figuring anything of substance out. 

It is nice to look at, and the excellent music by The Future Sound of London is both subtle and effective in conveying its post nuclear aesthetics. However, the game's worth as a whole will hinge entirely on whether the puzzles in later stages are interesting to navigate and satisfying to complete or not. Right now it has potential, but it'll be interesting to see how it all shakes out once the training wheels finally come off. 

Darren Forman

Darren Forman

Spawned in the wilds of Scotland like some random MMORPG enemy whose sole purpose is to be hunted down and slaughtered for loot, young Darren spent the first fifty years of life eating bark and bears alike in a desperate bid to survive the elements.

The chance discovery of a muddy, burnt out copy of '50 Shades of Grey' in a hunting pit gave him an appreciation for complex plots, characters and overarching narrative, and the unexpected gift of a Spectrum 48k allowed him to indulge in these newfound sensibilities with intelligent, highbrow games such as 'flee from the badly animated spinning turquoise dolphins' or 'avoid the deadly glowing bricks of doom'.

The fusion of both these interests finally culminated with Darren teaching himself how to write by basically guessing at what words might look like when jotted down on paper as opposed to being howled inarticulately at the skies.

Now others occasionally get to read his scribblings. Lucky them.
Darren Forman

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