If games were hashed out according to the shape and sound of their names in a process I’ve just now christened Onomatopoeic Development, Mush would be a slightly rough physicsy platformer, starring a malleable and squishily-animated protagonist.
It’d be Gish 2, and the appropriate reaction would be something along the lines of: “Okay, huh”. But Mush isn’t an amorphous platformer, and nor is it an “Okay, huh” kind of game. It’s a multiplayer browser game about waking up aboard a ship with 15 other players - two of whom are infected by an angry alien parasite. The Mush.
The game comes from Motion Twin, the browser-focused outfit responsible for Die2Nite - a Lord of the Flies-style zombie survival affair more closely related to Neptune’s Pride than Left 4 Dead.
They’ve had Mush in beta for a while - long enough for it to win the Originality Award at 2013’s European Indie Game Days. Which doesn’t seem quite right, frankly - on paper it’s a similar concept to Space Station 13, a game about carrying out your lowly duties on board a great top-down ship, come caco-daemon or catastrophic engine failure.
Mush distinguishes itself in few key ways, however. You wake up aboard the Daedalus to the news that the ship’s oxygen supply has been sabotaged by an infected crew member. You’ll work alongside other players to keep the ship running long enough to find a cure - or be one of the two feigning normality while doing their utmost to spread the parasite among your fellows.
Distrust rules the day, in short, and a cast of playable characters with names like Stephen Seagull lend the whole thing an unmistakable Cluedo vibe. You can play Mush right now - and do you know, I think I would if the call of afternoon games news wasn’t still ringing in my ears. How about you?