Xbox Live Arcade
Review based on Xbox Live Arcade version
|Publisher: Rendercode Games
Developer: Rendercode Games
Release Date: December 26th, 2013
The concept of Mummies Rising is a fairly simple one. You play a nameless soldier who was sent into an Egyptian tomb to see what happened to an archaeological expedition that went missing. What you find are waves of mummies that have somehow come to life and are on the hunt for intruders. The problem is there is no light other than an aura around you (which I assume to be a small lantern or glow stick of some kind), so you have to walk through the rooms you find yourself trapped in and dispatch all the mummies in order to advance.
That really is to this title. Each level is a new wave of mummies you need to kill in order to advance to the next. In total there are ten different stages that end up one of two different types. Either it’s a fairly large room where your enemies can attack you from any direction, or its a tight pathway where foes shamble towards you and leave plenty of room to back up if you need to reload. Other than being dark in sixty, maybe seventy percent of these chambers, getting worse the further in you get it seems, there’s little variety as far as the terrain goes.
Even the mummies themselves are no major improvement visually. There are three types, two of which are basically the same thing but with a different skin. One looks regal, the other looks burnt, but both can quickly knock health off your health before you even know you’re under attack. The final mummy type, however, doesn’t appear until the last two levels, and these will run at you. This does make the final level a little more difficult and tense, leaving you to constantly look over your shoulder to make sure there’s nothing running up behind you, unlike the other eight chambers that basically leave you plenty of room to navigate safely.
The controls for Mummies Rising are equally as basic. There is no aiming despite using guns and no hand to hand combat when out of ammo, but there is a targeting reticle and fairly easy difficulty curve. Again, it isn’t until the final level your first person shooter instincts will kick in and find you pressing the left trigger to aim, but instead end up reloading your gun, sometimes when you need to fire at the approaching horde the most. Other than that you can swap between the two guns you are given in each stage, the ammo to each resets when you begin a new room, and use the right analog stick for the slow moving camera that doesn’t have an adjustable speed.
The biggest fault for this title, however, is the audio. The chambers are silent other than the mummies making random noises at times, and the selection or summary screens have a decent score. Yes, this does help build tension, or at least would if the rooms were a lot larger and the threats more ominous, but there’s an always active community chat open whenever you’re past the title screen. Half way into my first playthrough I wound up playing in absolute silence thanks to the kids who either had their microphone turned on, or had a Kinect enabled, basically screaming up a storm in Spanish and never shutting the hell up, breaking my concentration and eventually leading to my own demise on multiple occassions. Thankfully, this title also saves your progress and allows you to start on the level you last died at.
This open communication idea also just kills the concept of being the only person trapped in this place. This is further damages when you’re stuck hearing cars go by, dogs bark, or mother’s telling young Pablo and Eda to get cleaned up right now or they won’t get any desert with dinner, leading to an immense temper tantrum that came out of nowhere and made my own neighbors pound on the wall demanding I shut the children I’m babysitting up. Of course, I wasn’t watching anyone’s kids, nor do I have any of my own, so this led to an awkward explanation the next day to the landlord.
But, that insanely poor decision aside, Mummies Rising isn’t really that bad a game for what you pay. Basic controls, simple gameplay, and a fairly easy difficulty curve makes this a title you can sit down and beat in a single sitting just to kill five or ten minutes. It’s just unfortunate this indie game only has ten levels, all of which are one or two different rooms that either are a bit bigger or have more mummies coming at you than the last one did. A lot more could have been done to make this stand out much more than it does, but if you have a dollar to spare and are looking for something to kill a few minutes, Mummies Rising is a decent acquisition.