In Mushroom Heroes, I’m looking at a fast-moving platform over a bed of spikes. Timing my jump is one thing, but figuring out which character should jump first is another. There could be a monster on the other side of the ledge, and there’s only one person who uses arrows. There might be blocks to push around, requiring a different character. I won’t know until I cross. These are the kind of chances you take when playing Mushroom Heroes, a platformer that lets you play as three adorable mushroom men.
In Mushroom Heroes, King Bodur banished the only poisonous mushroom in the kingdom, the warlock Gaddar. In turn, Gaddar poisoned the entire nation. King Bodur then called upon three heroes, Yuppi, Jumbi, and Dombi, to retrieve the antidote for the poison from Gaddar.
You have to use all three characters to get through the game’s 38 levels, using each character’s different abilities. You can switch through each of the characters with the press of a key. Dombi, the blue-headed mushroom, can pull or push certain objects as well as use a shield to block attacks. Jumpi, the redhead, can double jump and climb certain types of walls. Jumpi can also float in midair, which comes in handy when you’re trying to reach a moving platform or far-away ledge. Yuppi, the green mushroom, can shoot arrows. There are various obstacles that threaten their mission: spikes, bats, and even bugs that shoot fiery energy balls.
Many levels require complicated navigation and timing, especially when dealing with enemies. Most enemies and dangerous objects will instantly kill you, or at best, take away two of the three hearts that represent your health. There were a few moments when my character was almost touching an object, and yet, I died, so it’s best to avoid enemies altogether if you can.
Despite this frustration, the game’s challenge makes it fun. I think I died more times in this game than I did playing Dark Souls. While this frustrated me to the point of shouting expletives at my computer screen, the triumphant feeling of completing the most difficult levels made all the stress worth it. Not only did I feel like a hero, I felt like a champion.