Developed and Published By: Hero Concept Categories: Beatemup Release Date: 08.19.21
Mayhem Brawler might be one of the most generic names I can think of for a beatemup, but I can safely say that as a beatemup, it’s far from generic. A comic book inspired game that actually works to keep that comic book feel.
Ok, so this isn’t exactly a new idea, Comix Zone did this nearly 30 years ago, but be honest, how often is something like this really done? Mayhem Brawler grabbed the theme and went in knee deep. Cutscenes are styled like a comic, each chapter has their own cover in the style. The character art/sprites is beautiful, coming straight out of a cartoon or comic page.
Boo Haunted House
You take control of three police officers a part of the agency, Stronghold. Each with their own super powers. Imagine a modern world with witches, werewolves, and goblins. Then imagine the kinds of crime that goes on with this. This is out setting for Mayhem Brawler. I love this kind of setting. Again, not exactly original, but I don’t see it far often enough for it to get old. The story itself, is of Stronghold perhaps getting in a tad over their heads.
Writing is…a mixed bag. I like how the plot flows and the general setting, but dialog can be draining. Star, the female character narrates her tweets, saying hashtag and all. One boss in particular uses the term “SJW” after Star mentions using non gendered words for certain employments is more accommodating and I audibly groaned. It’s a good time to mention every line of dialog is voiced. Voiced quite well might I add.
The Punch and Kicky Kind of Game
Mayhem Brawler separates itself from other beatemups with the addition of status ailments and boosts. Stab someone? They’ll have the bleed ailment and get extra damage to them. Certain enemies heal themselves when falling, much to my frustration. (put more info on these tomorrow). If you just jump into the game, you’re probably going to not understand any of this, but there’s a section on it in the tutorial menu. Branching paths are a big part of Mayhem Brawler as well. After defeating a boss, you get two choices for your next level, both with their own unique boss and cover art.
The rest of the game is a bit more typical. Good, but genre mainstays. Three selectable characters with their own stats and abilities, I played as Star because I wanted to play as the pretty lady. Like most beatemups, you’ll go through incredibly linear, near belt scroller like levels, fighting waves of the same enemies. Luckily, each level introduces more and there are honestly plenty of them. You’re just gonna see a lot of them quite often. This is also a difficult game, at least on the default difficulty. You’re very liable to get ganged up on and just completely destroyed in certain encounters. My tip is to inch forward, so you’re not just loading in a bunch of enemies, but only a fraction. At least like most games in the genre, food on the ground can heal you or refill a special attack, and weapons can do massive damage.
What Sound Does a Punch Make Anyway?
I previously mentioned I loved the presentation. It’s a great looking game, and the voice acting is great, despite the iffy dialog. Music though? If I’d say it makes you feel heroic and like kicking ass would that suffice? If a beatemup doesn’t really even have music that at least gets you moving, it comes off as a tad flaccid, yeah? It doesn’t have to be incredibly upbeat, just have that vibe of “Yeah, I’m going to kick this guy’s balls back into his body today”.
Writing issues I have aside, I loved my time with Mayhem Brawler. The Switch definitely doesn’t have a shortage of great beatemups, but what’s one extra game to play, especially one that has such a great style?
Buy Now: $19.99
*Game Download Code graciously supplied for the purpose of review