We’re in the summer desert of gaming releases right now. An empty July and a sparse August will lead many to look at indie games they wouldn’t consider. But while Full Mojo Rampage, newly arrived on consoles after a Steam debut, undeniably has some appeal — especially if you play with friends. Though it’s a bit too slight for gamers looking for something meatier.
Full Mojo Rampage (PS4, Xbox One, Steam)
Full Mojo Rampage wants to be a throwback to the isometric shooters of the 16-bit days, and it picks a cute vibe as you run around as a voodoo doll in a mask, blasting skeletons, evil wizards, and other cartoony characters. The graphics and music are clean but slight, evoking the SNES era pretty well, but the sound effects could use some work. I can’t fault an independent developer for just buying some royalty-free effects and using them. You’ll recognize them from dozens of other indie games and small games have tight budgets. But some of them, particularly enemy grunts, are just painful to the ear thanks to an overly loud sound mix you’ll be scrambling to the menu to equalize.
It’s a top down shooter with roguelike elements, so we’re really not in any sort of new territory here. Don’t pick this up expecting something mind-blowing.
That said, though, the execution, bar a few stumbles, is solid, as you can see from the gameplay video we shot above. It plays smoothly, and the procedurally generated levels do a good job of including secrets that make poking around the map worthwhile. It helps that this is the only way to find temporary stat boosts that may make the difference between finishing a quest and dying.
However, there are some problems with the controls that are minor, but annoying. Your weapon is tied to the right thumbstick — that is, you point the thumbstick to shoot. It’s well-tuned, but it can be difficult to get the hang of unless you play a lot of top down shooters. Similarly, the menus can be difficult to use as they depend on shoulder buttons to hop around the various submenus, and the thumbsticks to navigate through them. It’s a minor complaint but it feels a bit inelegant.
Since it’s a roguelike, it’s theoretically infinite, but the truth is simply that there’s not enough variety here to really sustain hundreds of hours of playtime. While there’s a progression system by which you level up and buy new sets of abilities and masks with medals you collect, it just doesn’t feel meaty enough to pin down your attention for a longer period of time. It’s more likely you’ll pick this up to kill an hour or two than than play it for a few months.
Thankfully, there’s no DLC, microtransactions or other annoyances on this title. You buy the game, you’ve got the game.
Full Mojo Rampage is cute and fun, but undeniably a bit slight as well. But, for the price, and considering what else there is to play at the moment, it’s worth picking up until something with a bit more heft comes along. If you’ve got kids who game, this will be a budget-friendly choice for them.