It sounds like the premise out of a cheesy 1950s science fiction film -- a green meteorite plummets to Earth and the ensuing space dust causes fungal and plant life to become \"conscious\" -- but in fact this tall tale is from a quirky new video game for the Nintendo Wii platform. Created by Austin's Red Fly Studios, MUSHROOM MEN: THE SPORE WARS introduces us to Pax, a 3-inch-high scout from the peaceful Bolete mushroom tribe, who discovers he's different from other mushrooms. While setting out on a journey of self-realization, Pax helps protect his clan and allied tribes against the malevolent Lepiota and Amanita armies, as well as dangerous creatures such as rats, spiders, and hornets.
Played from a third-person perspective, Mushroom Men is an action-adventure hybrid with plenty of \"platforming\" elements such as jumping on objects to reach higher areas, collecting many items, exploring hidden areas for bonus goodies (including concept art unlocked from the main menu), and engaging in combat against enemies. With the latter, the Wii Remote, held in the right hand, is waved around to wallop baddies and the A button causes Pax to jump for an aerial attack, while the tethered Nunchuk controller, held in the left hand, is to block, roll, and move Pax around. Mushroom Men also offers an interesting weapon building system, where items you find can be used to create new weapons in one of four categories: Slashing weapons, Piercing weapons, Bashing weapons, and Radical weapons. Different weapons work better with certain enemies so players will pause the game to enter the Gear screen and equip Pax accordingly.