After I graduated from high school, I became a big fan of Time Crisis 2. I mean REALLY big. I’d play it all the time, to the point where I knew exactly when enemies would jump out and attack in order to maximise my score. The memories I had of that experience came flooding back as soon as I picked up Major Mayhem, Adult Swim and Rocket Jumps’ touch based action game that recently got a major (pun intended) upgrade to 2.0 not too long ago, so big in fact that we thought it was worth revisiting the game for another review.
Haven’t played Major Mayhem yet? Well, my links to Time Crisis aren’t far off from what to expect. You’ll play the Major as he runs from left to right, dodging incoming fire from a number of enemies at once. Like TC, you’ll pause along various parts of each level and must eliminate the targets before you can move on.
Shooting them down is as simple as tapping right in top of the target, though as you dig deeper into the game you’ll find other techniques such as throwing grenades with an accurate tap towards the intended target. If you’re quick on the trigger finger, your combo score will go up quick and fast. Too fast, though, and you’ll leave yourself out in the open for too long and be hint by a stray bullet or two. The Major does have three ‘lives’, so to speak, and plenty of armour upgrades and special attacks to unlock to keep the combo meter running.
The more levels you play, the crazier the action will get. Enemies will become smarter, shooting out multiple bullets towards you or using different weapons, but the Major does have a few extra tricks up his sleeve such as dodging Max Payne style. And what shooter would be complete without more weapons to unlock and upgrades to existing items, which Major Mayhem has in spades here.
Though it has to be said, you can complete the game using the stock standard pistol you get at the start if you really wanted to, but only if high scores aren’t your thing. If they are … well, I’ll get to that in a second.
Among the additions to the game since it first made headlines just on a year ago are three new games modes, to go along with the original mode now dubbed ‘classic’. Timebomb gives you a minute to do as much as you can, while Arcade throws out a few random levels at you and Survival is just that, survive as long as you can with the one life afforded to you.
Given that classic mode has so many levels already attached to it, these new modes add even more longevity, though I think Timebomb is the better of the three in terms of offering up a really good challenge. Only a minute you say? Challenge accepted!
The one thing that may hold you back from putting in many hours worth of game play into Major Mayhem is its freemium game design. Yes, it’s free to download and play, but you’ll have to build up your coin collection in order to purchase some of the bigger, stronger weapons in the game which can determine your overall high score.
Like I said before, you can play and beat the game without having to spend a dime of in game currency, but the option is there to build up towards something bigger or just buying it as soon as you’ve unlocked it. I didn’t buy anything myself, personally I don’t with these games, and didn’t have any less a fun time with it.
My only real concern with Major Mayhem’s design is the loading screens. Turn on the app and you’re sitting for a little while before hitting the main menu, and jumping between levels takes a few seconds. It doesn’t sound like much, but considering the abilities of Apple’s products (I reviewed this on an iPhone 4) it would have been nicer not to have so much time wasted behind another load screen.
But it’s hard to fault the quality of Major Mayhem. The content update adds a ton of cool new features and equipment to an already entertaining game, with the action fast paced and the visuals colourful. For someone like me who has a fondness for twitch shooters, it’s the kind of game that’s just hard to put down once you get really into it.[review pros="New content is well worth the while, smooth action all the way" cons="load screens are a pain, 'freemium' content won't be for everyone" score=90]