Smushi Come Home Review – Review

Putting the fun back in fungi.

Wearing your inspiration on your sleeve isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, I think it’s wonderful that developers can take ideas from successful titles and adjust them to reach new audiences or introduce their own take on similar design ideas. Considering Smushi Come Home as an indie-fied Breath of the Wild is really selling this game short. Its small-scale adventure makes for a breezy and accessible adventure game that is perfect for those looking for a brisk and wholesome experience.

The elevator pitch would go something like this: Smushi and his siblings live on a small little island in the middle of a lake. One day, a bird comes and snatches Smushi away from his family. It’s up to Smushi to travel through the forest and find his way home. Along the way he encounters all sorts of inhabitants of the forest and helps out wherever he can.

Smushi Come Home, at its heart, is a 3D collect-a-thon platformer. You travel around areas in the woods and encounter all sorts of critters that can help you on your way back home. The writing is immediately endearing, capturing the personality of the characters using just text and a tiny sound effect. As you walk, jump, glide and climb around, you can collect crystals to obtain new items and even some cute mushroom caps to change how Smushi looks. The gameplay loop mostly involves you finding certain key items to progress to new areas in the forest.

Looking at the gameplay, you may immediately notice similarities to Breath of the Wild in its stamina and climbing system. But I think that Smushi actually pulls from a lot of different sources. The gliding reminded me of 3D platformers like Rayman 2; the world and writing felt inspired by A Short Hike. The developer has really mixed up several mechanics into what feels like a really solid 3D platformer. You can sense the love and inspiration taken from other titles, but this particular combination makes Smushi really feel like its own game. It is also helped by its soothing visual style, which uses some lovely depth of field effects to make Smushi feel small in this world, as well as the soundtrack, which has some super endearing tracks that make the world welcoming to explore.

I think its strength really lies in the fact that Smushi Come Home knows what type of game it wants to be. It doesn’t feel dragged out with an endless list of quests or items, it doesn’t require perfect precision platforming or lengthy puzzle solving.It is really just a cute and fun 3D platformer that will take you a few hours to complete and left me feeling super satisfied. If you have younger or inexperienced players that may find something like moving around in a 3D space too challenging, find Breath of the Wild controls too intense, or just want to relax with a cozy game, Smushi Come Home is absolutely perfect. In fact, on Switch it even ran at a buttery smooth framerate, something that can’t always be said for other 3D platformers on the system.

Overall Smushi Come Home is the definition of a wholesome experience. Seeing this type of game is becoming a lot more common, but thankfully the remixing of several types of traversal controls makes it stand out on its own. It’s not about speedrunning, collecting hundreds of objects, or even fighting any enemies. Instead, Smushi finds joy in the moments where you can just explore this big world as a tiny little mushroom, making it just feel great to play. For those wanting to have a brief but cozy experience for an afternoon, or if you want to introduce a younger player to what a 3D-platformer is all about, this is one indie you don’t want to miss.

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