Developer: Hero Concept
Publisher: Hero Concept
Genre(s): Fighting, Action
Platform: Xbox One and Nintendo Switch (Also available on PlayStation and PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 18/08/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Side-scrolling beat’em ups are going through a renaissance at the present time. Spearheaded by the nostalgia driven Streets Of Rage 4 there’s been no end of titles released to try and capture the same feelings. The latest of these is Mayhem Brawler. Developed by Hero Concept, Mayhem Brawler takes everything that makes the genre great and adds a supernatural twist.
For Mayhem Brawler this review is going to be a collaboration between myself (Rob) and Dan. I’ll be giving my thoughts to the Nintendo Switch version (at the bottom of this review), whilst Dan will be giving us their thoughts on the Xbox One version. So…does Mayhem Brawler bring the pain? Or does it fade into generics? Find out below…
Mayhem Brawler tells the story of three super-powered officers, Dolphin, Star, and Trouble, on their way to answer what they think is a routine call. However, as they arrive on the scene, they discover something disturbing which triggers a sequence of events that alters the fate of the entire city.
Mayhem Brawler is a typical beat’em up where you go through various levels and punch your way through a plethora of enemies in order to reach the boss. The biggest surprise here is that after certain levels, you can choose between 2 different paths giving the game decent replay value as you hunt the game’s 3 endings. Each character has the basic skillset; jump, attack, special attack, block (a rarity in beat’em ups), and using melee weapons and firearms. Each character has their own unique skillset; for example Dolphin can smash the ground à la Hulk. If you press the special attack button by pressing the arrow, he’ll clap his hands.
While most beat’em ups will use up your health points when using a special attack, with Mayhem Brawler, the developers implemented a special attack meter that fills up as you dish out and take damage. Another beat’em up staple is the destructible barrels, pile of tires or giant wooden boxes that once destroyed can drop food items. Items with a small yellow aura refills your health and blue ones refill your special attack meter. Barrels and tires can also be picked up and thrown.
Things are not perfect. Running, which is done by pressing forward or back twice, doesn’t always register. Additionally, if you want to throw a melee weapon or a firearm, you need to press the directional arrow, otherwise, the protagonist just drops the weapon. And as with any beat’em up, if you get sandwiched between two enemies, expect to have your combo interrupted.
Visual & Audio
Mayhem Brawler looks great; each level is uniquely designed; they are either bright and colourful or with a light dark-ish aura to them. The visuals are also reminiscent of last year’s Streets of Rage 4. The enemy variety, while repetitive throughout the game, is pretty decent; from regular thugs to giant rats. Bosses are unique and provide a decent challenge. The soundtrack, while generic and nothing new, is perfect for this game and definitely one of the best gaming scores I’ve heard this year.
Mayhem Brawler is one of the best beat’em ups I’ve had the chance of reviewing. Each character has their own skill set, the game is a blast to play with friends and will provide a reasonable challenge throughout its multiple difficulty settings. While the game can feel a bit on the short side, the replay value is a decent offering as you can choose between diverging paths after certain levels. This game should definitely be on your radar; whether or not you’re a fan of the genre. (Read on for Rob’s thoughts on the Switch version, and our Rapid Reviews Rating)
Making The Switch
Much like Dan’s experience with the Xbox One version, I too enjoyed Mayhem Brawler on the Nintendo Switch. It’s a gorgeous looking game with some crisp visuals and a great retro-inspired soundtrack. The gameplay is very reminiscent of titles such as Streets of Rage, and fans of the genre will feel right at home.
Normally with Switch titles you lose a fraction of fidelity when it comes to switching between docked and handheld modes. Thankfully with Mayhem Brawler this graphical change is miniscule, if not noticeable at all. Would I recommend Mayhem Brawler for the Switch? Of course I would! This is one title that needs to be experienced in all its modern retro-style glory.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4 out of 5
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.