Major Mayhem
Gameplay 8
Graphics 7
Sound 6

Save your girlfriend and the world in this addictive arcade cover shooter by Rocket Jump. Yes, it is another mobile port, but one that has lost none of its charm and addictiveness in the transition from mobile to PC. The action is frantic, the visuals charming and the whole experience is just a lot of fun. Although the 45 levels on offer can be completed rather quickly, there are plenty of mission objectives and game modes to lure you back. Overall, Major Mayhem is not perfect, but it far exceeded our expectations and we think that it will pleasantly surprise players.

Gameplay: Very simple, but also very addictive.

Graphics: Colorful and cartoonish, but there are only three different environment types.

Sound: The sound effects could have used some more punch and the music isn’t exactly memorable

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Major Mayhem

Developer: Rocket Jump | Publisher: Rocket Jump | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Action / Adventure / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Don’t you just hate it when ninjas kidnap your girlfriend in order to trade her for a deadly tank called the death machine? It’s even worse when some Russian agents and Middle Eastern villains become involved as well. Fortunately, these forces of evil have made the grave mistake of inflicting this agony on Major Mayhem, who is a one-man army capable of taking them all down. After a quick briefing by the president, it is off to the tropics, metropolis and desert for all out mayhem.

If it wasn’t very clear already, Major Mayhem is an action game that lampoons all those action movies from the eighties where one man could wage war against entire armies of bad guys. It takes the form of an arcade cover shooter, which means you stay safely behind cover until you pop out to take shots at the enemies. Although you are invulnerable behind cover, the game encourages you to take risks and shoot enemies as quickly as possible in order to chain together combos, which increases your mayhem bar. Don’t stick out your neck for too long, though, as the major can only take three hits before he buys the farm. This risk and reward style gameplay, along with the very simple controls, makes Major Mayhem an incredibly addictive title.

PC ports of mobile games can typically be spotted a mile away and Major Mayhem is no exception. Everything from the visual style to the simple controls and user interface just scream “mobile” so players who avoid these types of games purely out of principle will probably not even give it a second glance. However, turning your nose up at Major Mayhem is definitely a big mistake, because despite its mobile roots, this game is every bit as addictive and enjoyable on a big screen. Rocket Jump lists Time Crisis and Metal Slug amongst their influences when creating Major Mayhem and these definitely shine through when playing the game.

The visuals definitely reminded us of Metal Slug, along with the jungle and desert environments, complete with mummies lurking in the latter. The game also shares its enemy shooting style with Time Crisis as only certain, clearly marked bullets can actually harm you when you are not behind cover. The rest of the bullets on the screen look impressive, but won’t hit you. That’s not to say that Major Mayhem is a walk in the park. Enemies come at you thick and fast, which means you’ll have to be quick to identify the biggest threats and take them down while maintaining your combo multiplier.

In addition to the normal enemies, the game will also occasionally throw tanks and jets at you. These things obviously take a few more bullets before they go down, but they are great for points. Another element that Major Mayhem has borrowed from Metal Slug is the presence of hostages on the battlefield. These guys can pop up unexpectedly and if you accidentally shoot them, it’s the end of your combo. However, if you manage to kill all the baddies surrounding them, they will take off with a jet-pack and leave behind something for your troubles. Either extra armor if you have taken a hit or two already or coins if not. On rare occasions they might even leave behind a power up, such as the “Robocop” armor that causes bullets to bounce off you harmlessly, the hero time that slows enemies and their projectiles down, the air strike that can clear the screen of enemies and the power shots that enhances your firepower. All of these power-ups only last for a limited amount of time, so it’s best to make the most of them. In addition to getting them from rescued hostages, they can also be bought with the coins you collect in-game or won from the slot machine that pops up every time your Major increases in rank.

Major Mayhem is a mobile port, so obviously it won’t be winning any awards for visuals, but it actually looks quite decent in high definition. The bold, cartoonish style fits the whole action movie theme of the game. It’s a pity that there are only three different types of environments, but at least the three themes are very varied in terms of enemies, colors and backgrounds. Although the major himself looks like a generic action here, you can unlock a whole host of additional outfits and hats to customize him to your liking. If you ever wanted to rush into battle looking like Chuck Norris, Rambo, Abraham Lincoln or even Colonel Sanders, then this is the game for you. The major sports a decent amount of animations, but the enemies are little more than barely animated cardboard cut-outs that pop up only to be shot down. This might sound cheap, but it actually fits the style of the game and doesn’t make reeling off the head-shots any less satisfying. If we had to complain about anything, it would be that there is a ton of text that pop up on the screen when you shoot things, which can obscure the enemy projectiles sometimes. The audio is fairly standard, but the sound effects could have packed a little more punch.

Since the movement in this game is on rails the controls are a breeze to master. You aim with your mouse and left-click to shoot whatever your cross-hairs are pointing at. Between the shooting segments your character will automatically run to the next skirmish, sometimes with enemies or traps along the way. In these sections you can use the right-mouse button to jump over obstacles or to dodge projectiles. The game starts you off with a fairly basic pistol, but it won’t be long before you pack everything from an Uzi and shotgun to a rifle, bazooka, sniper rifle, mini-gun, and even chicken cannon. In total there are twenty different weapons in the game, although you have to pause the action and access a menu if you want to change your load-out in the middle of a level. This is a bit cumbersome, but not too annoying. The power-ups that you have bought or earned can be activated by clicking on their icons or by pressing 1,2,3, and 4 on your keyboard.

As we have mentioned already, Major Mayhem is an incredibly addictive game if you get sucked in. Luckily, while it only has 45 levels, it does have a couple of different modes and even mission objectives to keep you entertained. The missions are typical mobile fare, such as shooting a certain amount of enemies with a certain weapon or surviving a level without getting shot and so on. Obtaining all of them took us a few hours, but we had a blast along the way. In addition to the “Classic” mode where you can earn up to three medals per level, the game also has “Arcade,” “Timebomb” and “Survival” modes. Arcade basically randomizes the level order and challenges you to see how far you can get with no armor drops. Survival, on the other hand, is the same as “Classic” mode, but without any continues, so you have one live with which the complete the game. Finally, there is “Timebomb” which tasks you with creating as much mayhem as possible within one minute while it throws a never ending succession of enemies at you. The game also features a ton of Steam Achievements, but half of them are of the very grindy variety.

We honestly had very low expectations of Major Mayhem when we started playing, but it quickly won us over and kept us playing for much, much longer than what we anticipated. From a technical standpoint, it is obviously a bit limited compared to what is possible on PC, but overall the mobile roots of the game doesn’t detract much from the experience. Shooting enemies is still a lot of fun and works even better with a mouse than with your fingers obscuring half the screen. Some players might also take issue with the price tag of the game compared to the mobile version, but considering the hours of entertainment that we got out of it, we would definitely have to say it is worth it. Unless you really cannot stand mobile ports, no matter how much fun they are, then Major Mayhem makes for a great game to play when you just want some mindless action.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP or later
  • Processor: 2 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL 2.0
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 300 MB available space
  • OS: Mac OS X 10.5 or later
  • Processor: 2 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL 2.0
  • Storage: 300 MB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, fully updated
  • Processor: 2 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL 2.0
  • Storage: 300 MB available space

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