Mushroom Age has recently ported its iOS adventure game to Android, offering a younger audience a chance to jump into a world time travel, mystery, and puzzle-solving.
Mushroom Age is ultimately a game of finding hidden objects interspersed with simple puzzles. Tasks can be as simple as finding a single object, but may involve multiple steps, like finding a light bulb so you can see inside of a toolshed to get gas for the lawnmower, so you can cut the grass to find a key. Every stage is a new era with different challenges to complete and more story to unravel.
Audio and graphics
The game’s textures are fairly well done, though interactive objects tend to have sharp edges that stick out a little more than they should. The animation of characters throughout dialog sequences is especially bad, but luckily that doesn’t detract from gameplay too much. Though most of the game is strictly 2D, there’s a cool 3D time travelling wormhole thing that goes on every time you progress to a new level.
As for audio, the game’s voice acting is really dumbed-down and hard for any grown adult to stomach for long, though it goes at a reasonable pace for younger kids. There’s a subtle, era-specific soundtrack for every stage, and sound effects are minimal. There’s one every time you tap the screen, which is probably more than needed.
Gameplay and controls
The storyline, though basic, is easy to get involved in despite the stiff voice acting, simplistic writing, and choppy character animation. Basically, you’re playing the role of a woman looking for her scientist fiancee who has been lost time travelling while trying to rescue dinosaur eggs from being scattered throughout the Earth’s timeline.
The point-and-click adventure-style gameplay is tricky with touch input, since precision is difficult, even with pinch-to-zoom. However, Mushroom Age does well to avoid the usual trappings of getting stumped at certain points by having a well-done hint system. Objects that players can interact with sparkle occasionally, while a hint button in the top-left can indicate where to look next (though that button has a cooldown timer).
There’s also the puzzle element, which shows a little bit more variety in gameplay, but there’s usually only one per era, and it’s over pretty quickly. At least there’s something to break up the hide-and-seek mechanic that composes most of Mushroom Age.
Progression is linear and straightforward, with a little bit of replay value available by way of extra bonus items hidden within every level.
- Interesting plotline
- Easygoing, slow-paced gameplay
- Poor animation
- Stiff writing and voice acting
As an adult player, it’s hard to stomach the dopey dialog and writing, but it’s slow enough that younger kids could follow along the story, plus the gameplay is easy enough that they could get through it while still feeling a sense of accomplishment. The first few levels are free, with the rest of the game unlockable for $3.99. If nothing else, it’ll probably keep the kids occupied on that one last roadtrip before the summer runs out.