This rhythm-runner is one of the first spinoff games from Riot's publishing label, Riot Forge.
Whether or not you're a fan of League of Legends, Riot Games has been doing everything it possibly can to cram League content down your throat as of late. All part of an overarching marketing scheme to support and celebrate its acclaimed animated series Arcane, the developer/publisher has collaborated with a range of other developers to bring League content to other titles as crossovers, as well as delivering major updates to the main game, and even a few new spinoff titles: Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story and Ruined King: A League of Legends Story.
While I'm working on a review for Ruined King, I've already blasted through the short rhythm-runner that is Hextech, and now I have some thoughts.
Considering this is a spinoff game, Hextech Mayhem isn't similar to League of Legends in really any sense. There's not much strategy to have to worry about, there's no teamwork to keep in mind, there's not even multiple playable characters. This is a pretty basic game, where you are simply tasked with hitting the right button at the right time to make it through a level, achieving the best score possible.
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Developed by Choice Provisions, the general idea of the game is to play as the Champion Ziggs to travel all across Piltover, causing mayhem in an effort to create the perfect bomb. But, as Ziggs is effectively a criminal, he is often under the watchful eye of fellow Yordle (the species of Ziggs) Heimerdinger, who is using his expertise in engineering to create the ultimate invention capable of stopping Ziggs' crazed spree of chaos.
Surprisingly for a rhythm-runner, the narrative is actually quite important to Hextech Mayhem, and is often explored through various cinematics and dialogue sequences that expand upon the relationship of the two Yordles. It's humorous and light and entertaining, and actually turns this simple title into a vastly more engaging experience through and through.
The gameplay itself is also well-designed and fluid, and plays incredibly well. It's not complex or challenging, in fact this game has been designed in such a way that it is basically impossible to fail. While the majority of what is asked of you revolves around hitting the three inputs with when they are prompted, you can go off-beat whenever you please to grab various collectibles around each level. What this means is the only marginal way failure is introduced is when Ziggs collides with an object on a level, leading him to start floating through the level until you correctly hit a prompt again. Essentially, failing to make it to the end of a level is literally impossible.
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But, while the safety net is pretty huge, the motivation for not abusing it is plentiful. You'll want to follow the main route hitting the prompts correctly, as that way you'll get the best score and be in the optimal place to pick up the various collectible cogs across each level. There are three types to grab; with the regular bronze coloured cogs being necessary to unlock upcoming levels, the glowing blue cogs required to build the three machines necessary to face Heimerdinger, and the shiny silver cogs being used to unlock new Ziggs skins. So as you can see, they are both necessary to collect, but also have their own benefits for doing so.
And that's pretty much all there is to Hextech Mayhem. You move through each level, timing prompts to the beat of the song, collecting cogs along the way. It's simple, straightforward, fun, and admittedly quite addictive to play, which is why it's also a little disappointing that it's so short. I managed to go through the entire story of this game in around two hours, and barely even had any reason to go back and play previous levels, except for when I required an extra cog or two to unlock the final few. It's the sort of title that would really suit a Candy Crush style of design, where more and more levels are added to just keep you playing, because it's a lot of fun, and would succeed with this design.
But as it is, Hextech Mayhem is still a shockingly fun title to just kill an evening with. It's not long, it's barely challenging, but it is inherently enjoyable, and in my eyes that is a huge win for one of the first spinoff titles coming from Riot's publishing division Riot Forge.
7 / 10
Shockingly fun. Gameplay is very simple to grasp and yet has depth. Storyline is engaging and is a highlight.
Very, very short. Not a huge amount of reasons to go back and replay levels. Lack of any challenge could also be seen as a negative.