Major Mayhem is an arcade rail-shooter, with which I have very little experience (the only one I can sort of put in a similar bag is Rescue Shot on the PSX, actually).
Despite coming from mobile, it looked enjoyable, and so I decided to give it a go.
I'll say this right away: if a rail-shooter is exactly what you're looking to play, then it's probably safe to get this. If you're looking for interesting games or examples of great game design, look elsewhere. This is not to say that the game is bad, but it's very generic and "by the book". There isn't much in here to make it stand out (aside from being a rail-shooter, a rare genre today, it seems).
Here are my indepth thoughts, starting with Presentation
As I said, it came right from mobile, and it's very noticeable. Big buttons on the menus, lack of options, missions, etc. etc. It was a free game with microtransactions, but, on Steam, you pay 5$, and then don't have them in the game. I'm not sure how much of a grind it was with MT, but progression is still pretty slow. But you can certainly get every useful item without the game feeling stale. Visually
, it's simple, but it looks good, in my opinion. Doesn't do much to stand out either, but it's clean and colourful, with 3 different areas (each with 2 different enemy types -- the same 2, but reskinned). It does the job.
On the game's favor, it does a good job of telling you when you hit someone, for the most part, or when enemies shoot you. It only pales when you're using explosive, or high rate of fire weapons, since your bullet effects can obscure the screen a bit too much.
On the Audio
side, it actually surprised me. The music is very bland, and gets repetitive, so I turned it off very early and just put something I wanted to listen to. The weapon sound effects, though, were great! Most of the weapons had a distinctive sound, and it really packed a punch when you shot the enemies' heads, or did some power shots.
So yeah, while it suffers on the music, the sound effects were very good, and a great indicator of your damage!
Now, how's the game Structured
? Well, as I said, there are 3 areas. Each one has 15 levels, including a Boss Fight on the 15th. Unfortunately, the level design is almost inexistent. Most of the levels play out very similarly (well, just point and shoot). The fact that there are only 2 (common) enemies doesn't help at all... but more on that later.
There are campaign, arcade, timebomb, and survival
-In Campaign, you just play the levels one by one, and are scored at the end (up to 3 medals). Probably the mode you should play first.
-In Arcade, you play the missions randomly and just play until you want to stop. If you lose all the 3 lives, you can just use/buy a continue and you'll keep going with the same score.
-In Survival, you have to try to play an area in one sitting, without dying. There are no continues. But other than that, just beat 15 levels at once.
-Finally, in TimeBomb, you're given 1 minute to just try to maximize your score (like a mini-level in a semi-random area).
The game has a decent number of weapons (and half of them play out very differently -- while the other half are mostly side-grades of previous ones). And each has their own use in different situations (especially when you're going for highscores). While they're distinct, they're mostly very generic as well, when there was a chance to make crazy weapons to make the game more fun. You get Snipers, Rifles, Shotguns, Grenade Launchers, etc. etc.
You get these weapons by Ranking up. You do this by completing Missions. These are like mini-achievements that you're given. There are 150 in total, but you only have 3 active at a time -- and you do the ones you're given, no freedom there. There is a big problem with this.
While these missions can improve variety and make the player go for different weapons and strategies, there's a major flaw: they're desynchronized with the actual ranks and weapon progression. I don't know how they screwed it up, but it just doesn't follow it... It would have been easy to get a mission for a specific weapon when you ranked up enough to get it. But nah, these missions are all over the place, often making you play a style that you've played before.
This is a big reason for the game's slow progression. Having 5 mission at a time would have been a good alterantive, perhaps. Or just give the player a chance to change them around (or queue them).
What else is there to talk about?
So far, the game seems very limited from what I said. And for the most part, it is. The the various modes, achievements and missions may prolong its lifespan, if this is what you're looking for. Since I wanted to try out every weapon, I kept playing, trying out the different modes, getting higher scores, and went as far as playing the whole game without dying (with 3 survival missions in a row).
It's very monotonous if you're not into rail shooter. However, for what it is, I don't think it's all that bad.
A game that's just about pointing and shooting... that doesn't sound very good. Well, there's a bit more depth to it, when you're going for highscores.
You have Combo and Damage meters.
The enemies shoot lots of fake bullets at you (to increase the adrenaline, I guess), but their real shots are very clear. You can shoot these bullets (if you're precise and fast enough), and you'll up your combo meter with these. Killing enemies before shooting will also increase your combo. Not getting hit as well.
The damage combo, you get from killing enemies, and shooting them while they're dead and on the ground as well. So you'll be constantly shooting something for the highscores, not just trying to survive (which is a bit too easy).
And to top it, the game is just very smooth
. It feels pretty good to play, despite its simplicity in concept and execution. The enemies are all physics driven, after dying, so you can also screw around with that. Overall, it's a pretty well put together game. Good controls are surprising for a mobile port, but they certainly give the game a much better chance.
Other than that, there's typical mobile stuff. 5 power-ups (invincibility, super bullets, and air strike and bullet time), which you sometimes get with drops, or can buy with in-game currency. And lots of skins. Head-wear and Body-wear. These are simply cosmetical, and you also get with in-game currency. It keeps the character from looking the same for the whole game, nothing wrong with it.
I think I'll finish the review here.
It's very, VERY light on game design. The only noteworthy aspect would the high-score system, I'd say. Very limited enemy and level variety, uninteresting weapons, ... It doesn't sound very good.
But it simply plays very well! The weapons, while generic, feel different, there are several different approaches to your playstyle, and rail-shooters aren't exactly something we're drowning in.
So yes. IF you're looking for something like this, you'll probably be entertained with Major Mayhem for a while. If not, go find some other game, since this one isn't special in any way. Just not bad.