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Mullet Madjack Review

Mullet Madjack

Developer: Hammer95
Publisher: Epopeia Games
Platform: PC
Release Date: Available Now
Price: $19.99 USD – Available Here

Overview

Back in 2006 a ridiculous action movie called Crank was released and focused around a character that constantly needed adrenaline boosts to keep himself from dying. The movie was dumb fun and now Hammer95 is taking this story element and putting their own spin on things, producing a high quality boomer shooter where speed and precision are key, because every second counts. Combine that with the fact that everything is oozing with late ’80s action movies and ‘90s anime aesthetic with synthwave music and Mullet Madjack seems like hell of a mix. The question is, does Mullet Madjack manage to blend this into something amazing?

Story

Set in the far off future of the 2090s humanity has become so removed from their former selves and allowed AI and robots to take over the world to the point that super-rich A.I. robots called Robillionaires now rule everything humanity consumes. Players take on the role of a “Moderator” eponymously named Mullet Mad Jack who is a retrohuman that thrives on dopamine hits that he gets from streaming his exploits online to his viewers. The best way to get views, and a pair of sweet sneakers? Taking on a mission to save a beloved “Princess” with two billion followers that has been kidnapped by the robillionaires even if it means that he only has ten seconds of life for every floor, but as long as he keeps the robot blood flowing, he’ll keep moving up the floors of “Nakamura Plaza.”

Mullet Madjack isn’t afraid to wear its influences on its sleeves, in fact anyone familiar with some of the classic anime of the ’90s will catch the references made in the opening scene alone, be it the Akira style skidding of the car, Gunsmith Cats references, Blade Runner style visualizations, and much more. The actual plot takes more of a back-seat here, with players mostly focusing on blitzing through floors as fast as possible to avoid running out of time but every ten floors equals a boss battle that slows things down and either changes up the approach of the game entirely or offers some extra bits of lore. That being said, while the story is fairly thin, the sheer vibrant nature of the presentation, unabashed references to everything action and anime in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and some real killer boss battles more than make up for what ends up being a fairly short game once players get the hang of things, with Mullet Madjack clocking in at around four and a half hours depending on skill level and difficulty for its campaign. Of course, it helps that all the man himself is just full of trashtalk and quips when plowing through robots, especially if players select a certain perk.

Gameplay

As said before, Mullet Madjack finds itself as a mix of a wide-range of genre that have seamlessly blended together to create an exciting and intense shooter. It has all of the makings of a “boomer shooter” with an FPS setting and fast-paced movement but also it is built entirely around speed-running and being as precise as possible when it comes to finishing stages. On the default Normal difficulty players are only given 10 seconds maximum of life at a time and can only gain extra time on the clock by destroying robots. Depending on how they are destroyed, be it through a fancy headshot, a nut-shot, or kicking them into a wide variety of stage hazards  or through doorways, players will be given extra time to survive. Players can even grab extra weapons like crow-bars, knives, and even manga to perform dash executions for near full time restoration. Either that or they can smash open a vending machine to chug down the delicious energy drinks inside.

Along these same lines, Madjack is a powerhouse of a character, capable of jumping and even sprinting mid-air and can shrug off nearly any attack that comes his way unless it happens to be coming from a boss enemy, but more on that later. Instead players are meant to tackle each ten stage chapter in a row without running out of time, with a boss battle at the end of every tenth floor not only disabling the timer entirely (giving players a chance to slow down and look around a bit) but also giving them an actual health meter that will  come into play against the boss. These make for some intense fights, especially against latter bosses and many of them end up featuring some rather surprising mechanics along the way.

At the end of nearly every stage players will be able to choose a perk that will help make their run through the next level a bit easier. These can range from changing the weapon available to them, adding bonuses to the weapon or upgrading it entirely, providing special skills, or even boosting speed, damage, and even increasing the maximum time on the clock. Herein lies the roguelike element that comes into play with Mullet Madjack. Rather than simply running through stages and eventually dying from either an annoying pitfall, again, more on that in a moment, or running out of time, it is possible to permanently unlock upgrades and obtain additional upgrades for each subsequent chapter. This includes the ability to obtain higher level weaponry, reroll the perks offered, and more. 

It is also nice to note that while the game may feel a bit repetitive at times, especially since enemy variety can start to feel a bit stale early on, every chapter adds something new players will have to contend with.  This can range from adding stage hazards like electric or acid panels that players will need to dash through to avoid taking damage, wall running sections that are incredibly awkward and can lead to some cheap deaths due to how odd they feel, lasers blocking certain paths, and more. Now, it is worth noting that even if the player dies, they respawn back at the start of the chapter rather than from the very beginning (outside of perma-death mode) but  dying due to missing a shot at the last second or not going for a glory kill and running out of time is a far different feeling than simply falling into a death pit because of the awkward wall-running animation. 

Outside of the core story mode players will also be able to take part in an “Endless” mode that puts the player’s skills to the test by seeing just how far they can go with very little actual support along the way beyond the upgrades at the end of a stage. This mode can be fun, especially for those looking to train their reaction times to enemies, but feels a bit flawed and repetitive. It is also nice to note that Hammer95 even went all out by providing a “digital” unboxing that allows players to unbox a retro-styled collector’s edition of the game complete with full instructions, fancy facts, and much more that happen to be incredibly interesting and a nice little addition to this game that absolutely oozes with style.

It is also nice to note that the game has a wide-range of “accessibility” options as well. The game features an aforementioned one life mode and all the way down to “classic” boomer-shooter that makes the player completely invincible by removing the timer entirely and both let’s players play at their own pace as well as give them a chance to warm up their skills before jumping onto the higher difficulty levels that include lower survival time, less time from defeating robillionaires, and more. In fact, the level of difficulty above “Normal” is the recommended option from the developers at the moment.

Audio & Visuals

Hammer95 has gone the extra mile to make sure that Mullet Madjack is just lavished with attention to detail. From the opening animation to the artwork that players will blitz past as they slaughter the countless robots in their way, the entire game is dripping with neon style. There is some small gore to be had as well as plenty of references to every property under the sun from the late ’90s and early ’90s scattered throughout the neon levels. The best chance to actually get a look at these stage designs and unique elements comes from boss stages that remove the timer though they all have their own unique mechanics as well. It is worth noting that players will start to notice that rooms do repeat from time to time, in fact in my instance I had a room repeat right after itself, feeling like deja vu as I fought my way through it again. Along these same lines, enemy variety could use a bit of an improvement as well. 

As for the voice work, the English cast has handled their rolls incredibly well, be it the Peace Corp officer constantly encouraging the Moderator to keep up the pace and keep piling up the robo bodies or the many quips that Mad Jack himself makes whenever he scores a particularly brutal nut-shot or glory kill. The soundtrack is similarly a perfect match for the neo-retro aesthetic on play in Mullet Madjack as the synthwave music works wonders for speed running stages and taking down enemies and it isn’t afraid to let some tension set in when it comes to approaching bosses or dealing with important story developments.

Overall

Mullet MadJack takes the boomer shooter genre and spins it on its head by adding plenty of retro-futuristic style coated in neon and cheesy performances all wrapped up in a tightly paced speed-running shooting game where precision is key. It does have its flaws here and there, but , combined with its lighter roguelike elements, Mullet Madjack manages to mix together this strange combination and blend together one hell of a speed-running experience that’ll have players testing their skills even after the story has reached its short conclusion.

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

Summary

Great
8.5
Mullet Madjack's retro-futuristic aesthetic that mixes anime and action movies together to create an exciting backdrop for a speedrunning boomer shooter that is filled with non-stop action.
Travis Bruno
Travis Bruno
After playing games since a young age and getting into anime a bit later on its been time to write about a little bit of everything.
<i>Mullet Madjack</i>'s retro-futuristic aesthetic that mixes anime and action movies together to create an exciting backdrop for a speedrunning boomer shooter that is filled with non-stop action.Mullet Madjack Review