Here’s something a little lighter than our usual fare. Okay, it’s a lot lighter, but Major Mayhem is worth recommending to anyone looking for some casual military-themed shooting action on their mobile devices. Available from Adult Swim Games on both Android and iOS platforms, Major Mayhem takes a very clichéd Hollywood—or, perhaps more appropriately, the Hollywood typically appropriated for 8-bit NES and arcade games in the ‘80s and ‘90s—approach to warfare, with the president sending you into deep combat across a variety of locales. You’ve got strict orders, soldier, to save both the nation and … your girlfriend. Naturally.
Major Mayhem is a side-scrolling on-rails shooter that draws inspiration from a number of existing titles, from light-gun games like Lethal Enforcers and Operation Wolf to modern cover-based shooters like Gears of War.
The catch in this war, however, is that the enemies popping out of the jungle trenches are typically quick-draw ninja, and you’ll have to be a quick screen-tap- per to rake in enough points to rank up and hit the high-score leaderboards.
The mechanics are simple but extremely satisfying. This is the kind of experience tailor made for touchscreen time-wasting, and like any mobile game worth its salt, it can be dangerously addictive. Power-ups keep the constant shooting and dodging from getting too stale. Some pump up the power of your bullets, while others can turn you into a knock-off Robocop, send you into Hong Kong film/Max Payne-style bullet time mode, and more. It’s all presented with slick- looking cartoony visuals and the always-encour- aging sound of points and multipliers popping up at every turn.
Micro-transactions are the only true red mark on an otherwise stellar game, but it’s free so they should be expected. On the plus side, they’re not particularly intrusive, and are only there for folks who wish to skip all the playing and get right to a more powered-up Major Mayhem. In general, I don’t care for the practice, but they’re not done in a heinous or nefarious way here, so it’s up to the user to ignore them if they’d rather just enjoy it the normal way. There’s plenty of content to play through legitimately so you might as well get that trigger finger primed for tapping.