Max Mustard Makes Another Strong Case For Platforming In VR

Max Mustard from Richie’s Plank Experience studio Toast Interactive joins the list of great third person platformers built for virtual reality. Read on for our full hands-on report:

Over the years we’ve seen some great platformers in VR and now we can add Max Mustard from Richie’s Plank Developer Toast Interactive to that list. With games like Lucky’s Tale, Moss and Astro Bot: Rescue Mission paving the way for VR platformers, Max Mustard once again demonstrates the untapped potential of experiencing this style of game in virtual reality.

So in this one, players will step into the shoes of the adventurous Max Mustard, who while navigating her way through a series of intricately designed levels that blend whimsical visuals with challenging gameplay, is tasked with saving the Mudpups that are being caged and sold as an elitist vanity product to the super rich by the unscrupulous businessman, Stubbins. 

Look and Feel 

As for the look and feel of the game, in this one Toast Interactive has opted for a third-person perspective. Being in VR while playing this style of game does add a nice layer of depth and immersion. In a marketplace crammed full of first-person shooters and rhythm games, it’s nice to see the time-honored 3rd person platformer genre being given some new life.  

The visuals in Max Mustard provide a bright and colorful presentation that truly brings the game’s world to life. The environments are detailed and vibrant featuring an art style that fits perfectly for this type of game coupled with graphics that looked crisp and colors that popped nicely on the Quest 3 we used for testing. 

When it comes to the game’s controls, I found them to be intuitive and responsive and feel that pretty much anyone who has ever played a traditional platformer should find controlling Max a familiar experience. For those who aren’t platformer style gamers, well, they should be able to pick up on it pretty quickly too as it’s a simple control scheme consisting of only two actions that players will use. On the right controllers we have jump on the A button and attack on B. There is also some light first person perspective interaction from the player in the form of a point and shoot element used to assist Max with some of the puzzles and platforming elements.

As for the challenge level of the game, in some areas the puzzles are cleverly designed with most requiring players to really think strategically. The combat system is also well-executed, with a decent variety of enemies that will require different strategies in order to defeat. After a while the gameplay, especially the combat, did tend to get a bit repetitive, but to be fair that’s pretty much just par for the course when it comes to this style of game.

Comfort 

One of the nice things about Max Mustard being in 3rd person is that this style of gaming is usually a bit more forgiving for those who suffer from VR motion sickness. Having the character as a fixed point of reference and not requiring players to artificially move throughout the world can provide a comfortable gaming experience for most people. Now this isn’t to say that folks who are more prone to getting sick playing VR games will be 100% immune to it while playing this one. There is still some camera movement involved in the game in the form of turning the player’s viewpoint. At the time of this writing the camera movements seem to be locked to snap turning rotation only which is also helpful for those who suffer from motion sickness, but for the rest of you out there who might want smooth turning, hopefully Toast Interactive will address that in a future update. Until then, a good swivel chair fixes the issue nicely.

Conclusion 

Max Mustard is absolutely a standout title in the third person VR platformer category. With its innovative use of gameplay mechanics and impressive visuals, Max Mustard offers a fresh take on the 3rd person VR platformer genre that’s a testament to the potential of this style of gaming in VR. Toast has a strong history of updates for Ritchie‘s Plank Experience, so we can’t wait to see what the studio has in store for us next.

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