It might appear uncharitable to start a assessment this fashion, however Mayhem Brawler is a horrible title for a sport. It might as nicely be ‘Quick Driver’ or ‘Excessive Jumper’. It truthfully makes it sound just like the laziest, perpetually 89p-in-an-eShop-sale shovelware garbage. It additionally does the sport an enormous disservice, as a result of Mayhem Brawler is a surprisingly completed beat-‘em-up with rather more to supply than its keep-on-scrolling moniker suggests.
This little belt-scroller is impressed by Streets of Rage 4 in the identical means The Nice Giana Sisters was “impressed by” Tremendous Mario Bros. — that’s to say the sport bites its type big-time, however in case you’re going to steal, you may as nicely steal from the perfect. So right here’s Mayhem Brawler, with its vivid comedian book-style graphics, hard-hitting strikes and concrete atmosphere the place the one exercise that exists is PASTING.
Fortunately, then, the pasting is fairly darn good. Impacts are good and crunchy, weapons and particular strikes are all current and proper, and the enemy designs present care and forethought. Moreover being chunky and memorable, there’s a somewhat novel system at work the place your opponent’s standing is represented by an icon over their head – this fashion, you’ll at all times know if a knocked-down enemy shall be executing a wake-up assault. Arguably this makes proceedings slightly simpler than they could possibly be, however enemies have sufficient well being, aggression and selection to stay a menace always. They’re fairly neat basically, a combination of the same old form of gangland heavies however with a frisson of supernatural monstrosity – lycanthropes (learn: werewolves) and sorcerers are a typical sight on this world.
And it’s a surprisingly attention-grabbing world besides. Cutscenes are introduced as a voiced comedian e book, with a operating Twitter-esque feed to the appropriate of the display screen fleshing out the characters in an unobtrusive and intelligent method. It’s very apparent that numerous love and a focus has gone into Mayhem Brawler’s writing and world, with the primary characters’ chemistry coming throughout nicely and their banter enjoying out throughout every stage in an entertaining and breezy method.
Talking of primary characters, all three are sufficiently pleasurable to play as, right here. Hassle (grizzled all-rounder), Star (speedy celebrity) and Dolphin (large ol’ bruiser) are every outfitted with distinct move-sets. It is extra full-featured than you’d count on given the (presumably!) decrease price range than the likes of Streets of Rage 4, with plentiful methods and tech strikes just like the traditional “touchdown in your toes” trick. Particular Strikes do not price well being, right here, as an alternative being replenished by efficiently attacking and damaging your foes, which suggests you will be much less reticent to really use them. You may have to, as nicely, as a result of this sport actually is not simple — it is not inconceivable, after all, nevertheless it is tougher than you may count on. Helpfully (and in contrast to in SOR4), each character is ready to run with a double-tap, however it’s possible you’ll discover among the enemies slightly too “tanky” with their massive well being bars.
Branching paths by the sport result in one among three completely different endings, and with the ability to select which stage you play subsequent retains issues assorted for a number of playthroughs. With solely seven levels per sport it will not final you perpetually, however that is an excellent factor with video games like this the place the preventing essentially turns into extra repetitive with time.
Mayhem Brawler is means, means higher than it has any proper to be. It seems good, performs properly and solely actually suffers by comparability to its greater brothers similar to Battle’N Rage and Double Dragon Neon. The animation is missing in comparison with these titles, nevertheless it’s nonetheless completely acceptable, and the marginally generic environments are too busy to actually pay a lot consideration to. With a world this attention-grabbing, we would like to see one other sport happen in Mayhem Brawler’s universe.
Possibly give it a greater title subsequent time, although, eh?