Major Mayhem Review

Adult Swim continues its tongue-in-cheek game series with this action platformer, seemingly inspired by 80′s action films.

You play the roll of Major Mayhem. A one man army in the mold of Rambo, on a mission direct from the President of the USA, to rid the world of the Evil Villains Corporation and their giant death machine… oh and to save your girlfriend to boot!

majormayhem2The game is made up of three chapters, each consisting of 15 seamless action-packed levels. The Major runs on rails across the landscape, periodically taking cover to fend off a wave of enemies. Be it Ninjas, Suited agents, or Sword-wielding saracens, you must take them all out before you can move on.

Tapping the screen at anytime will make the Major shoot in that direction. For weapons with automatic fire you can also hold the screen for short bursts. The enemy will shoot back, but it is only a certain type of enemy shot that will actually do damage. While in cover these will not harm you either, but should you break cover to shoot and get hit by one of these bullets, you will be stripped of some of your armour, and eventually die.

These kill shots are visually marked by a target shape around the enemy. This lets you know to be ready to take cover. The trick is to take aim at these particular enemies before they can get a shot off.

majormayhem4Your primarily weapon is a pistol. It’s powerful enough to complete the game, but requires more precision tapping. Other weapons which can be picked up along the way, such as the rifle with it’s automatic fire, the shotgun and the rocket launcher, all let you take out the enemies easier. Though the latter requires more time between shots to reload.

The main element of the game is to take out as many enemies as you can, clock up kill chains, and earn a high score. But you will also experience some basic platforming elements such as jumping, as well as some free gunning sections where you break cover and must take out the enemy (all the while avoiding the kill shots by jumping). The majority of grunts are easily dispatched, though later you’ll encounter heavily armoured foes, especially the Mid and end of chapter bosses, which require a little more strategy, and come in all manner of heavy machinery.

majormayhem5For a budget game it boasts a great art-style. Despite its side scrolling nature, it’s fully 3D and rendered in a cel shaded style. There are some great touches with its animation of the main character, such as the slow-mo/bullet-time gun-toting cartwheels. It has a South Park-like charm to it which works well in contrast to the violent nature of the title. It’s certainly not one for kids though, so don’t be too swayed by its on-the-surface cuteness.

Generally these brainless tap-to-shoot games that frequent the AppStore can wear a little thin, but there was something about this game that was extremely enjoyable and addictive.

Major Mayhem takes elements from an Operation Wolf style shooting gallery, Canabalt platforming, Gears of War duck-and-cover and Max Payne bullet time, and mixes it into an action-packed budget platformer that’s hard to put down.

Major Mayhem is out now as a universal app for $0.99. Get it on the Major Mayhem - [adult swim]

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