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Retro graphics have always been something that I've greatly appreciated in games. While often used as an excuse for sub-par art, retro graphics done "right" can really help a game stand out. Mute Crimson+ is definitely an example of retro done right. Everything from the soundtrack and sound effects to the environments and characters feel like something that you would see in an old NES title.

Mute Crimson+ is being developed by a two-man team, Iced Lizard Games. The game is an action-platformer where you control a ninja on an adventure to save the world. While the story is nothing new, I find that the story matches the retro theme of the game perfectly. It is both simple and typical of something that we would have come across on many NES games. While some games featured huge manuals filled with story tidbits, others let the gameplay speak for themselves and gave you the ability to assign an identity and story to what you were experiencing, and I've always been more than okay with that. There are "cutscenes" that explain the story, but the English is a bit odd. I'm not sure whether that was intentional or not, but it's something that I would love to see fixed. One of my pet peeves in gaming is bad editing in terms of the text, so that is the largest thing that I had an issue with in the game.

Featuring full controller support, which I feel is almost required if you're going to develop a game that has platforming involved, Mute Crimson+ controls quite well. If you don't have access to a controller, the keyboard controls work just as well and are fully rebindable, allowing you to customize your control layout to fit your preference. Another nice addition to the game is the colorblind mode, which is great to see a small developer add, and just goes to show how much effort and thought was put into the design of the game.

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While the visuals of the game are definitely quite simple, they possess a fantastic retro twist that really brings me back to some of the classics. While many developers have taken a stab at creating a retro game, I feel that Iced Lizard Games have definitely gotten it right with Mute Crimson+. The game not only looks almost identical to something we would have seen back in the NES era, but sounds, feels, and moves like it as well. All of these things combine to make Mute Crimson+ the full package, so to speak, when it comes to creating a retro game. The presentation is executed really well, and I feel that this is what really brings the game together and makes it so much fun to play.

Mute Crimson+ features seven worlds that you have to platform and fight your way through. The platforming controls are very solid, and there were only a few occasions where I felt as if the controls hindered me from doing something that I wanted to do. The minor control issues I experienced really brought me back, as I remember having the same issues with older games as well. It could very well be that I am just awful at platforming games, however. The jumping, climbing, and slicing were all extremely fun, and pulling off a rather difficult move was extremely satisfying, which I feel is really one of the most important things in a platformer. Beating an especially challenging boss or making it over a treacherous jump should give instant satisfaction, and in Mute Crimson+, it definitely does.

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The boss battles in Mute Crimson+ were the only thing that I found a bit bland. While some of them featured some really interesting mechanics and were quite challenging, I wish that there was a bit more variation involved. It's not to say that the bosses are not fun or challenging, but I was just hoping for a bit more innovation in that department. The basic enemies can definitely pose quite a challenge if you're not careful. I sometimes found them to be a pain if I was coming off of a particular jump and was then immediately faced with an enemy; however, this only happened two or three times during my time with the game.

All in all, I feel like Mute Crimson+ is one of the better retro platformers that are available today. The theme is beautifully executed, from the sounds to the artwork, the game really feels like an NES era title. The controls work really well, and only a couple of times did I become frustrated as a result of what I felt was a control issue. The difficulty of the game can definitely be extreme, but that is just a typical characteristic of the genre, so if you find yourself easily frustrated at platforming challenges, I definitely recommend holding out on this one.

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However, if you're a fan of retro platformers, and are looking for a game that executes the concept very well, be sure to check out Mute Crimson+, which is available for $4.99 on Steam.