Mayhem in Single Valley
Developer: Fluxscopic Ltd.
Genre(s): Puzzle, Adventure, Platformer
Platform: PC (Steam)
Age Rating: N/A
Release Date: 20/05/2021
A code was provided for review purposes.
Mayhem in Single Valley is a puzzle-adventure game that caught my attention due to its colourful 2.5D pixel art design. But does Mayhem in Single Valley play as well as it looks? Find out in this Rapid Review.
The World Needs Saving
It’s another day in suburbia: the dog needs feeding, the neighbours are having a BBQ and the apocalypse is looming. This introduction suitably sets up the tone of the six-hour experience; a light-hearted adventure through apocalyptic landscapes where zombified animals roam the radioactive streets. Of course, it’s up to you, the player, to save the world by becoming the hero – Jack – and guiding him through these environments. The only problem? Jack is also the reason for this apocalypse.
Though the narrative successfully takes the player to the game’s various locations and characters, I struggled to connect with the overall story and inhabitants of Mayhem Valley. While the dialogue was meant to be comedic, I found that it didn’t satisfy my own humour. That doesn’t mean that others won’t find more enjoyment with this element of the game, however.
Like all things in life, first impressions count, and this is certainly true for Mayhem in Single Valley. Without even touching the keyboard, the pixel art visuals immediately put a smile on my face. On the other hand, the industrial chiptune soundtrack used throughout the entire game did not align with my personal music preferences.
Reminiscent of the graphics in a shader-modded version of Minecraft, a soft glow from the window streamed through the bedroom, casting light diagonally across the room. A detailed 2.5D bed, wardrobe and easel furnished the room. And, as my character jumped repeatedly as part of the checklist tutorial, his animated jumper swayed with the movement. The visuals of Mayhem In Single Valley are by far the greatest aspect of the game, and the varied detailed landscapes of my adventure remained impressive throughout.
Jack can be moved around each level using the standard WASD directional inputs. Objects in the levels are also highly movable, forming the basis of many of the puzzles. For instance, I found myself using the SHIFT key to drag a bin across a garden to use as a stepping stone, or using crates as a bridge across a radioactive river. A strong level of interactivity with the environment presented an interesting approach to puzzle-solving, and formed part of the game’s challenge.
While the game heavily focuses on its puzzle and narrative elements, there are also platforming sequences that occur throughout. Unfortunately, a floaty control system hindered my enjoyment of these sequences. These gameplay sections often focused on a wind-guided umbrella system, and I frequently found myself drifting off course or landing away from my desired platform. Watching my character slowly drifting down to their death repeatedly was not an enjoyable experience. Outside of these sections, though, platforming across boxes, rooftops and the like worked well enough, even if it did not pioneer the genre.
From forests to a haunted school, though the location of my adventure changed throughout, one thing remained constant: the arrival of monsters. Taken over by an apocalyptic purple poison, they attacked me as soon I neared them. Unfortunately, Little Valley offered me little defence against these monsters at the beginning of the game, and I had no way to damage them. Instead, I could pick up throwable items to use as bait and distract the mutant squirrels, chickens and rhinos whilst I quietly walked on past.
After playing a quarter of the game, I was equipped with a slingshot which allowed me to fire my hot dog, acorn or cheese bait to enemies that were further away. I also later realised that by collecting clones of myself hidden around the levels, I was rewarded with tape which enhanced my slingshot via a light upgrade tree. This provided a stun effect which allowed me to traverse the levels more effectively, avoiding being bitten, covered with venom, or lethally rolled at by an armadillo. Whilst I found that combat against enemies greatly improved later in the game, my opening experience with little defence against the dangerous creatures left me frustrated.
To sum up, the gorgeous pixel art is definitely the star of the show in Mayhem In Single Valley, packed with detailed animations and incredible lighting effects. Though the other gameplay elements are average, there’s still fun to be found admiring the game’s visuals whilst navigating this world of mayhem.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3 out of 5
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.