Muddledash is a fun party game, with a valuable lesson about Octopus party etiquette. It’s a couch multiplayer game for up to four players with no single player or online play, continuing the local multiplayer Renaissance. It’s a simple party game with a cute twist on platforming that’s available for both Steam and Nintendo Switch.”

You and your friends are octopi, racing through procedural courses competing to reach the end with a present. Only one gift, and up to four Squids. Players who fall behind while chasing the present will quickly re-spawn near to the player furthest ahead. This levels the playing field, but it also opens the game up for some sneakier tactics.

The levels in Muddledash are procedurally generated, each is constructed of curved stretches of platform. The curves increase the flow of each level. This keeps the movement fast, which makes it rare for the player to get stuck in one area for more than ten seconds. There are also obstacles of course, like bushes that slow you down, and cogs to maneuver through. Jump pads and branches that launch projectiles also feature, but the pace of the game stops these from becoming particularly important.

Muddledash Review
More proof that octopi legs are a strange thing to animate in any style.

Muddled Up In Procedure

The speed of the levels is fun, and they suit the movement system perfectly. However, considering the thirty second to a minute run time of each it’s surprising how similar most of them are. Having entirely different courses each time is supposed to add variety, but it often feels like you’re playing the same four variations with a new colour scheme.

Muddledash is intensely competitive within each game, which makes it a great contender for your next party. It’s also accessible with just move, jump, kick, and dash controls. The pace of the game can still make these controls a little muddled. The speed your octopi moves at will often result in players becoming grouped together, kicking at each other and the present until one breaks ahead.

Muddledash Review
The bouncer won’t flinch at four octopi kicking each other for five minutes before the party.

Ending With a Party

There is no ongoing score system, so the count of who is ahead is wiped clean at the end of each level. This is refreshing, but it can also discourage the game from being anything more than a brief distraction. The repetitiveness and the lack of an ongoing sense of achievement will usually limit playtime, although you’ll get more use with more players to keep things interesting.

The Octopus stars of Muddledash are cute and the options for hats and colour add some personality. (Development logs of their movement are an interesting read.) The appearance of the rest of the game matches them perfectly. The levels only use simplistic shapes, but they still have a polished feel that’s rare with procedurally generated platforming. The soundtrack is a stand out feature of the game, it both adds to the tension and matches the light visuals.

Note: This game is in desperate need of a drinking game.

Pros

  • Fun multiplayer
  • Great visuals and sound
  • Easy to pick up and play
  • Low Price

Cons

  • Repetitive levels
  • Shallow gameplay
  • Not enough variety

Conclusion

Muddledash has shallow but polished gameplay, excelling most as a quick party game. The fluidity of the Octopi’s movement makes the levels come alive, they handle well considering the pace. It’s a lot of fun for about half an hour, but the gameplay is quite limited. The limitation in level variety means it quickly gets repetitive. Despite these drawbacks, it is a lot of fun and has a price to match the depth of the game.

Jordan Ashley
Jordan Ashley lives in the middle of the UK with two dogs who routinely beat him on Mario Kart. He's a big fan of playing Wind Waker over and over again while ignoring all other tasks. He also likes Craft Beer and screaming at Splatoon.
Jordan Ashley