There aren’t enough fungal protagonists in games. Besides Toad, who’s only had one solo adventure to his name, fungi don’t get much love as potential main characters in games. Untame’s Mushroom 11 hopes to redress the balance, casting you as a replicating green fungal growth, who must go on a grand voyage of self-discovery to learn that the true meaning of life is growing your mind, not just your body mass. I made up the voyage bit but you do play as a big green mushroom, honest.
You may think traversal is hard for an organism that is usually rooted to the ground. Well, the developers of Mushroom 11 thought of this, and have players manipulating the growth of said mushroom through a shining marker, which can selectively delete areas of the mushroom which cause it to grow in certain directions. It sounds difficult to wrap your head round at first but once you’ve played about a minute of Mushroom 11, the mechanic will feel completely natural. Rapidly erasing your big green friend will cause it to undulate quickly across flat land, while you’ll sometimes have to very carefully delete certain sections of the fungus, in order to get it to grow into a specific hole or crevice. You can switch between a large cursor, which is controlled with the left mouse button and helps for fast traversal or the right mouse button, which creates a small deletion area for culling micro sections of the mushroom to make other areas grow in a specific way. It is hard to exactly describe the mechanic but simply play for 5 minutes and it will all click. By level 4, you’ll be attuned to switching between cursor types in order to make your fungus fit into a crane in order to be hoisted over a lava pit or to cut yourself in half to weigh down one end of a seesaw to launch yourself over some electrical wires.
Life for a mushroom is hard in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Even though your only purpose in life is to devour and grow, there are quite a few obstacles that will bring your rampage of constant consumption to an end. You’ll be evading lava pits, pools of pesticide, electrical wires, missiles, bombs and even the occasional mutant pig-prawn in a weaponised hamster ball. You did read that correctly, just roll with it. Contending with the bombed out landscape is tough too, as you have to squeeze your fungal form into small passageways or shape yourself into a ramp so an explosive charge can bounce off you and roll up a wall. Some of the puzzles in Mushroom 11 are incredibly creative and thanks to the intuitive nature of the erase and grow mechanic, you’ll be able to figure out what to do with no problems at all. The only problem is actually getting the fungus to grow in the direction you want.