'Mushroom Men' Aiming For Most Interesting Audio On The Wii

It wasn't long ago I was talking up Red Fly Studio's "Mushroom Men" on this blog. Last week, not only did I play an updated "Mushroom Men" DS, but witnessed the Wii version for the first time.

Because I couldn't play "Mushroom Men" on the Wii, however, I simply watched -- and listened. It was worth it. They've got ideas in here that remind me of some of the best audio innovations set for "Spore."

Les Claypool -- best known for his work with alternative metal band Primus -- has contributed several tracks to the Wii version of "Mushroom Men." Red Fly has since split those tracks up to represent the game's different races.

This came into play very early on when I was given a look at the industrialist race known as the Morel. The Morel are adept at building complicated defense mechanisms that require an almost equal level of sophistication to simply turn on. Players must help turn these machines on in the middle of a raging battle.

Remember how "Spore" is using procedurally generated music? Something similar is happening in "Mushroom Men," as well, and it's really cool. As you complete individual sections of the puzzles needed to turn on the Morel's machines, the music is subtly transforming in the background, reflecting the "awakening" of the machine.

You don't notice that it's happening at first, but that's Red Fly's goal.

You don't notice that it's happening at first, but that's Red Fly's goal.

Throughout "Mushroom Men," Red Fly is timing the music to the environment. It doesn't just happen around machinery or during puzzle situations. I was shown another level that didn't have its music implemented yet. When it does, however, Red Fly said the music will play a big part of the experience. For example, in that stage, there's a fan in the background. For the most part, it's just a regular ol' fan -- except it's also slightly swaying back and forth to the beat of the music. Red Fly promises more little touches like that.

I can't profess to know how "Mushroom Men" will end up playing on Wii -- the glimpses of gameplay weren't enough to gleen much -- but I'm hoping Red Fly will be as innovative with gameplay as they have been on the audio.

Also, an update about the DS version of the game: I'm happy to report that one of my early criticisms of the handheld "Mushroom Men" prequel has taken steps towards resolution: the controls. Focus tests at Red Fly Studio elicited similar frustrations to those I encountered. You can now hold the left trigger to look around, avoiding potential misjumps.

The games are set for an October release.