Offering an experience that holds its own, is bolstered by it being a minor tie-in to “The Mummy” (2017). The Mummy Demastered seemingly comes out of nowhere from WayForward Games. The surprise though, is a pleasant one, because this is a great game that even if it didn’t have the cinematic property it draws from, would still be an excellent recommendation. The Mummy Demastered also flips the “Metroidvania” on its head with new mechanics, and delivers a game that alters your expectations for the genre.
The Mummy Demastered is a game with a story all its own, but takes place and references some characters from the The Mummy with Tom Cruise. The antagonist from the titular movie, Princess Ahmanet is unleashing her reign of terror, and Prodigium – a paramilitary monster hunting agency has been sent in to investigate and ultimately stop her. Along the way you’ll find that everyone has been killed or turned into the undead. Here begins your quest to find her and stop her. Along the way, you’ll find upgrades, weapons, and relics to aid you in the process.
WayForward brings us a Metroidvania that recalls Shadow Complex with its use of military tech and modern weaponry. The presentation is told by the title, called a “Demaster” as it is 16-bit inspired, 2D, and is a non-linear exploration game like Metroid, Castlevania, and Shadow Complex. You’ll move and shoot in eight directions, like that of the 16-bit era. At first, I found the jumping to be stiff and shallow. Though, over time and earning upgrades to running then makes the jumping satisfying at how reliable it is. Each new area you enter, you must navigate blind until you find a map that reveals everything in the area to start tracking what’s left to see.
Upgrades in The Mummy Demastered come in many forms, such as being able to hang from ceilings and climb across chasms that you can’t jump to. In fact, I had fully expected to earn a double jump or jetpack for the areas I couldn’t get to. There are quick access spots that become available relatively early on as you can rappel up or down to. Fast travel was another element I didn’t expect, and they can take you to areas that aren’t indoors.
The Mummy Demastered is not what I would call hard, but I did find the numerous little bugs and flying bats are annoying. It made basic traversal feel like a chore with the knock back each hit gives, taking health and causing you to miss jumps that require precise timing. The boss battles in The Mummy Demastered were generally able to be beaten on the first or second try. One thing to note, is that save points don’t restore health. Now, it is rather easy to kill enough enemies that drop health orbs to restore that health, but an unusual change. If you manage to die in the game, another elite agent in the same garb will take your place at the last save point. Your former self becomes undead, and the new agent will not have any of the upgrades. The undead version of you will be noted on the map and must be killed to get all your upgrades back – if you fail, you just get another chance. There’s not a Dark Souls element of loss, you have to get your stuff back.
The Mummy Demastered has small issues that are appropriate for the era it recalls, but they are quickly overshadowed by the excellent gameplay and feel of exploration and discovery amid blasting your way from room to room. The Mummy Demastered is wonderfully executed and full of surprises. WayForward didn’t just make ” another one of those”. There are real and meaningful changes to the formula you wouldn’t expect, and flipping them on their head is well worth the price of admission.
A pre-release Steam code was provided by the publisher for review purposes