The Binding of Isaac managed to combine roguelike elements with twin stick shooters in a way that made it engaging for many. Full Mojo Rampage seeks to imitate that success while trying to add its own unique twists. Does the game manage to do this successfully, or should this rampage have been halted before it went anywhere?
Full Mojo Rampage puts you in the role of an apprentice voodoo practitioner who embarks upon a series of four quests. Each quest is a standalone story following your character’s interactions with a god who gives you tasks to complete. Overall, there’s very little narrative presented here. The basic summary is provided in the three sentence description of each quest, and post-level plot advancement screens only really seem to add more details to that three sentence summary. It’s basically for context and nothing else, which is fine.
Before you start a questline, you get a few choices to make as you equip your character with masks, pins, blessings, and Loa. Masks are purely a visual thing, serving as a way to customize your character. Pins provide passive bonuses, and can be collected out in the world. Blessings are one-run upgrades that you can spend coins and tokens on to give a significant upgrade to your stats. The most important items are Loa, as these significantly change how you play. The Loa are the gods that your character worships, and each comes with two spells, a rage candy, and a passive skill. The spells can be abilities like dodge rolls, fireballs, healing bombs, buildable towers, or more, and you need to experiment with the Loa and find one that best fits your playstyle. The rage candy is a special one-use item that drops whenever you fill up your character’s rage bar and serves as an “ultimate ability” for your Loa.
The game has four quests, which are usually split into five or six levels each. Each of these individual levels has surprisingly varied objectives. One level I’d have to collect chicken feathers, another sees me destroying portals, while a third just requires me to escape from a dungeon. Along the way, I’d have to fight enemies with my trusty wand. At first, it’s not very powerful and only shoots small magic shots, but I could find other wands by killing enemies and breaking open crates or piles of bones. These other wands were only temporary boosts, and like many roguelite games, I’m sure there’re so many different kinds that I doubt I saw them all in my time playing.
There’s more than just wands to find scattered about. Voodoo Dolls and Mojo provided valuable stat boosting bonuses to characters. Searching every corner of the maps for chests, shrines, and secrets to find these was vital, as getting through a level without these bonuses was extremely difficult. Most of the bonuses were just for my stats, but sometimes I found some interesting ones, including an item that would cause enemies I killed to have a chance to respawn as allies or another that allowed me to randomly shoot high damaging homing missiles instead of my usual shots.
The enemies are difficult to fight without these boosts, and can quickly make short work of you even after you’ve gotten some upgrades. There weren’t any enemies here that were unique for a twin stick shooter, and your typical strategy of firing at foes while avoiding their shots will work here. There’re a lot of enemies in the game that do little more than rush at you for a melee attack, and often it made Full Mojo Rampage feel like it relied on nothing but hoping that I got Voodoo Dolls and Mojo of a high enough level to kill them before they could get to me. Bosses aren’t much more impressive either, as every boss is just a standard enemy with a bigger health bar and harder hitting abilities. These fights also seemed to rely on a “hit them harder before they can hit me” strategy. I had to implement this often, as enemies did a lot of damage. I often started with enough health to just survive a single attack, and even once when I managed to upgrade my max health to over 1,000 (you start with 200, to give an idea) I still could only take maybe four or five hits. Dying during a quest is bad, as you don’t just start back from your mission, you have to start the entire journey all over again.
Not that dying is the worst thing in the world, as I gained experience, gold, and medals from kills that would carry between rounds. The experience allowed me to level up, giving me the ability to boost my stats permanently. These boots made the early sections a little easier and turned me into more of a destructive force in the later sections. Gold and medals can be used to buy new Loa, upgrade pins, and obtain blessings for my next run. If I ever found a quest too hard to deal with my first time through, I could at least always fall back on running into it over and over again until I managed to level up enough to get by. Not exactly a fun strategy, but one that worked.
After finishing the four storyline quests, the game had some extra modes I could play. There’s a daily quest that changes its layout every day for you to try to get high scores on, a pair of survival modes (one capped at 30 waves and one unlimited), and an endless quest that just keeps generating random missions. All of this is good for the game’s four-player co-op, assuming you do so locally as the online is completely dead even at launch. The game also has competitive multiplayer, but the servers for deathmatch are similarly barren. There are four different game modes that allow for 4v4 games, but I just have no way of confirming their quality.
Full Mojo Rampage has an interesting aesthetic idea. The whole “New Orleans Voodoo” setting could have been used for some elegant and memorable artwork. What’s here is serviceable at best, but it doesn’t stand out. The art style is used for very little, with most enemies being generic things like skulls, spiders, and chickens. Similarly, the setting is just boring areas like graveyards and dungeons. It’s always a shame to see such a great setting idea fail to pan out. Similarly, the game has an entirely forgettable soundtrack, one that I often didn’t even notice when it was playing.
In the end, my reoccurring thought of Full Mojo Rampage is “it’s Binding of Isaac, but worse.” Maybe if anyone was playing online at all, then its one shtick could make it different enough to warrant the purchase, but as it stands there are games that do everything Full Mojo Rampage does that you’re probably already playing. Unless you’ve totally exhausted other genre options and need a new twin-stick roguelite in your life right now, then there’s not much here that isn’t done better elsewhere.
Perfectly average in every way, Full Mojo Rampage is a fully functional roguelike with few standout qualities. It works and I have no major qualms with the game, but its only new features are online modes that are already a ghost town.