Mayhem Brawler – Review
Follow Genre: Arcade, Beat 'em up
Developer: Hero Concept
Publisher: Hero Concept
Platform: PC, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5
Tested on: PS5

Mayhem Brawler – Review

Site Score
6.7
Good: Great artwork, Overall story and concept
Bad: Short, Expensive, Could use more polishing
User Score
7.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 7.7/10 (3 votes cast)

During the 90s, the heydays for game series such as Final Fight or Streets of Rage would seemingly never come to an end. These 2D brawling games were the ideal games to play together with a friend, and they offered loads of replay value because they were simply very hard to beat. You would find yourself memorizing attack patterns, and hopefully, make a bit more progress during the next attempt. That being said, when more and more 3D games were developed, these titles faded to the background, until they were nearly forgotten. Sometimes an indie developer would make a similar title or big publishers rehashed an old title hoping to trigger an older audience to buy it for nostalgic reasons. This changed when Streets of Rage 4 was released last year, showing that the gaming community still very much loves these titles. Now, we get another ambitious project with the release of Mayhem Brawler, which has its own interesting universe for us to uncover.

Story

Mayhem Brawler puts us in the shoes of three officers in a world that is seemingly filled with supernatural beings. You’ll have to maintain the peace, but also unravel a crime spree that seems to be getting out of control. You’ll be going through different zones, while also facing the harsh remarks of using excessive force, while you try to protect those in trouble.

The presentation of the story is excellently handled. We love the combo of the comic book panels, as well as the Twitter feed during the narration. Sadly, the only thing that irked us was the feeling that we missed some prior content. The game constantly gives you the impression that this is a sequel, or that you missed part of the story. Nonetheless, things are fleshed out properly and are overall quite enjoyable.

Graphics

Graphically this game looks absolutely stunning. The sprite design and the fluid animations are very much triple-A quality, and there are not that many other titles in this genre that look this good. We have to commend the designers for their effort here. Sadly, there is very little to explore. All stages are very small in size, and they offer only static backgrounds. The enemies get repeated a lot as well, but this is common for this genre of games. We would have loved a few dynamic backgrounds or just a bit more to explore. The developers are clearly more than able to create something amazing.

Sound

The sound design is fairly okay for this sidescroller beat ’em up title. You’ll have upbeat music while you punch some evil goons into submission, and the sound effects are also decent for what is going on. The voice acting in the game ranges from subpar to very good. The game is filled to the brim with cheesy oneliners and typical action movie-styled dialogues. For a game such as this, the amount of voice acting present is certainly another commendable feat.

Gameplay

Mayhem Brawler is a 2D sidescrolling arcade brawler in the same vein as the Final Fight or Streets of Rage franchises. You’ll be punching, grabbing, and kicking your way through very short levels, to fight a boss at the end of each of these. The campaign will have you battle your way through seven stages, but the game has more levels available, as after every level you’ll have to choose between two options to progress the story. These choices will lead to different endings, thus creating some replay value in the process. After beating the campaign, you’ll unlock the arcade mode, which is basically the same as the campaign, but with only one continue and no do-overs.

We very much enjoyed our Mayhem Brawler experience, but it also felt quite shallow. To us, it all felt like it was the foundation for something much bigger. The overall gameplay length is too short to call it a finished project, and the controls and mechanics didn’t always hit the ball out of the park either. We felt that the basic controls were functional, but we missed some slightly more explosive special moves, and getting overwhelmed in this game, without a proper escape, can become a bit annoying at times. We hope the developers tackle this issue with some additional content or a meatier sequel.

Conclusion

Mayhem Brawler is a very good homage to many of the arcade games that were present during the SNES and Mega Drive/Genesis period. We loved the content that was offered to us, but we expected a bit more for the price tag that comes with this title. You’ll have played through the campaign in roughly half an hour, and can only double that time by replaying it to get the different endings. The Arcade mode does not help flesh things out too much either. With some extra content, a few finishing touches, and a slightly lower asking price, this could become a proper instant classic.

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Rating: 7.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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Mayhem Brawler - Review, 7.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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