It takes a brave developer to bring out a platformer on the Wii, home of Mario Galaxy, one of the greatest examples of the genre ever made.

Taking on such a big-hitter, even if not directly, requires something a little bit different and a little bit special.

For their efforts, developers Red Fly Studio and Zen Studio must be applauded. Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars is a bizarre game with a crazy premise and some genuinely interesting ideas for a relatively old-fashioned genre.

The storyline is one for lovers of the strange - and perhaps mildly hallucinogenic.

A meteorite has passed by Earth and sprinkled magical green space dust on the small inhabitants, giving animation and intelligence to mushrooms, of all things.

Surrey Comet: Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars

Enter Pax, our diminutive hero, who is tasked with taking out rival mushrooms, animals which pose a threat, and generally exploring our world, as seen from a mushroom-eye view, to find another piece of meteorite and help unravel the mysteries of sentient mushrooms. And possibly catapult mushrooms to the top of the evolutionary ladder.

Ingenious little fellow that Pax is, his weapons are combinations of scrap he scavenges from the various levels, encouraging exploration rather than simply taking the quick route to the exit.

Surrey Comet: Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars

The game is immediately inviting, if only for its off-the-wall ideas, good sense of humour and a genuine, think-outside-the-box premise. Little touches, such as Pax’s head falling apart as a damage indicator, add to the magic of it all.

And first impressions are good too. The game is visually excellent, the soundtrack is very well put together and the levels are interesting, and reminiscent of Micro Machines, in an our world but not as we know it kind of way.

This game promises huge amounts, but unfortunately falls down slightly on a number of key points.

Surrey Comet: Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars

The combat is quite weak, with a shaking of the Wii remote acting as judge, jury and executioner for every baddy encountered.

And the weapon system, with so much scope for humour and ever-more intricate combinations, is surprisingly disappointing, offering fun upgrades but no desire to go back and use old ones, as they are all straight upgrades in terms of power.

Surrey Comet: Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars

They do still raise a titter though, as somebody has clearly put a lot of thought into how little things can be made into devastating weapons - doll’s heads, corn holders and many more weird and wonderful creations.

Add to that the fact the mushrooms have psychic abilities and you’ve got yourself one ambitious and engagingly odd game.

It may not have the finesse and colourful exuberance of Mario Galaxies, but with that game criticised for being too short, perhaps Mushroom Men is a good purchase to fill the void until the next one comes along.

Verdict: 6.5 out of 10