A Quality Mobile Puzzler
I didn’t expect much upon picking up Mujo, a puzzle game by indie developer and Japan-based Oink Games, but I was pleasantly surprised and even blown away by what I was given. Mujo is not only a delightful puzzle game it may also be one of, if not the, most unique puzzling experiences I’ve ever had. Each stage presents a new, interesting difficulty that I struggled for hours and days to work through and I loved every second of it.
Following the trend of most mobile and handheld puzzle games, Mujo is another addition to the battle-puzzle genre that has been gaining traction as of recently. Though there is no over-arching story, the player goes through multiple stages collecting Greek gods and various myths in order to defeat invading soldiers. Each Greek character gives various boosts as the player attempts to stack and eventually match blocks that either give gods experience points or push back the looming threat.
Despite the simplistic premise and gameplay, the system of matching several blocks that the player can either store or immediately break can be scarily confusing upon first interactions. Mujo handles this problem effortlessly, easing players in with a quick tutorial level and easy stages that can be solved in a breeze. Without the developer’s foresight in seeing that unaccustomed players may need some assist in the early parts of the game, Mujo would surely have been a failed project. However, it does not take long before intricate strategies are needed to defeat stronger mythical beasts.
While blazing through the first few stages, Mujo may seem like an impossibly easy puzzler, but the learning curve becomes increasingly difficult until the player inevitably stumbles upon a deceptive wall. The early levels are dominated by low-risk stages with no time limit to complete each stage, lulling players into a false sense of security. The panic begins to set in when bosses that regenerate thousands of health points each turn appear, forcing players to stack blocks that will kill beasts with a single attack. Soon players will encounter turn-limits and bombs that will only create a greater sense of adventure and accomplishment upon completing each trial.
Beyond gameplay, Mujo’s art style is phenomenal, rivaling traditional battle-puzzle games developed by triple A companies. The game’s simplistic, highly stylized art has obviously been cared for a painstakingly re-edited to mirror the traditional depictions of Greek figures. Each movement is clean and beautifully designed with each God portraying his or her specific personality quirks through simple, minimal motions.
Like its mobile counterpart, Mujo’s Switch version is easy to pick up and play from where players left off, in almost any public setting. Several times I found myself glued to my Switch, attempting to solve yet another tough puzzle, while completely tuning out those around me and my surroundings. This accessibility and ease of picking up and putting down the game at any time are what keeps each stage fresh and relatively stress-free. With a bit of motivation, any puzzle can be solved through a bit of frustration, puzzle-solving skills and a leveled head.
Without a doubt, players will attempt to put the game down after solving that one last puzzle but faced with another, tougher challenge, they will be unable to reel their mind from this unique and interesting world of gods and puzzles.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Mujo was provided by Oink Games.