Format(s): Playstation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
It’s kinda weird to see a video game adaptation of a movie come out so long after its theatrical release, especially when the movie was a bit of a flop. In honesty, it’s the kind of circumstances that would typically be enough to stop me from actually playing a game, but I implore you not to skip The Mummy Demastered; it’s a great little title from 2D adventure maestros WayForward that certainly deserves your attention.
The Mummy Demastered doesn’t follow the story of the movie precisely, so don’t go expecting to venture across London as a 16-bit Tom Cruise (thank god). Instead, you play as a Prodigium Agent (a special organisation that deals with vanquishing evil) who has to take down the movie’s main baddie Princess Ahmanet, all whilst killing plenty of minions and securing yourself some relics along the way.
It’s an effective little storyline that does enough to keep you invested in the tale, but it won’t be one that’ll have you utterly engrossed. The Mummy Demastered certainly prioritises enjoyable gameplay over a complicated narrative, so you can expect the story to remain at the back of your mind as you gun down all of the game’s monsters.
The Mummy Demastered is a 2D action-adventure that plays in the style of a Metroidvania game, meaning you’ll be going through a series of different maze-like environments, all whilst uncovering secrets and unlocking the powers needed to reach what were once previously inaccessible areas. In honesty, it’s all run of the mill stuff as far as the genre is concerned with The Mummy Demastered never doing anything that’ll surprise you, but it’s all executed perfectly to deliver an enjoyable little action experience.
There’s a lot of tricky little platforming sections to conquer throughout The Mummy Demastered that are all spread across levels such as creepy forests, gloomy caverns, and even the city of London. Each one is masterfully crafted though with the kind of careful level design you’d expect to have seen across the countless classics of the 16-bit era. Clearly, a lot of love and attention has gone into maintaining an old-school design with the game, but what else would you expect from WayForward? Maybe it could be argued that they’ve left things a little too old-school at times though, with nothing on offer throughout the game that you wouldn’t have seen before.
Whilst there’s plenty of adventuring and platforming taking place, The Mummy Demastered is also full to the brim with mystical monsters to take out, with the likes of zombies, bats, giant locusts, and, of course, mummys all out to kill you. Luckily, there’s a decent arsenal of weaponry available throughout the game, with the likes of a shotgun, a rocket launcher, a flame thrower, and grenades joining your default unlimited-ammo machine gun. Despite the diversity on offer, you can only actually carry two weapons at a time; it means you’ve got to try and think tactically about what enemies you’re facing off against and what weapon would be the most effective at taking them down, especially when taking on one of the many massive boss encounters. I mean, it wouldn’t be a Metroidvania game without huge, mean bosses to take down, right?
It also wouldn’t be a Metroidvania game if there weren’t different powers to unlock throughout your adventure, but thankfully your little soldier will eventually learn a good variety of abilities that will prove handy both in combat and during platforming segments. There’s nothing you wouldn’t have seen before though, with the likes of climbing, underwater breathing, and higher jumps coming into the mix. It’s all a bit ordinary really, which is a bit of a shame seeing as the game is a part of Universal’s new ‘Dark Universe’ – with such an array of monsters linked to the franchise, I was hoping that The Mummy Demastered might’ve been a bit more creative with its approach to powers.
They all work well though and are well-utilised throughout the game. Whilst it’s always clear where you need to go in general, there are plenty of secrets to uncover or hidden areas to find if you use your powers in certain ways. At the same time though, the new powers you unlock can actually make the game a little bit too easy at times, with certain platforming sections and enemies becoming easily bypassed in the game’s later sections – you’ll certainly feel like a powerful soldier by the end of the game, though maybe a bit TOO powerful…
Something I really appreciated about The Mummy Demastered was that when you die, a new agent gets sent in to take your place. You’re all expendable after all, with the anonymity of your appearance making it easy for another soldier to simply slot into your role as if nothing ever happened. However, whilst controlling your new character you’re able to hunt down your now undead ex-colleague and kill them to reclaim your old gear. It’s very Dark Souls-esque in a way, but it’s a nice touch that I appreciated due to how it embraced the source material in a way that actually felt relevant to the gameplay.
There are some fantastic 16-bit style visuals on show throughout The Mummy Demastered, with some stunning environments joined by some well-animated sprite work. It certainly manages to capture the aesthetic vibe of the movie, with some dark and grimy locales joined with some surprisingly well-lit and open environments. The enemy design is absolutely on-point, whilst the variety on show ensured I never got bored of The Mummy Demastered’s world whilst playing.
The Mummy Demastered embraces the Metroidvania format and keeps it simple, but without sacrificing what makes it work so well to begin with. The platforming is enjoyable, the gunplay effective and precise, and the visuals are great – it really does cover all bases and provide an experience that you’ll have fun with from the start right until the very end.
It could get a little bit easy the further you progress through the game, but it doesn’t stop The Mummy Demastered from being a title I think that all action-game fans should check out. And hey, it goes to show that at least ONE good thing can come from The Mummy movie, right?