The more normal and complacent everything seems, the more extreme it feels when madness descends upon it. In the case of Fluxscopic Ltd., they have decided to bring it crashing down onto a small, boring American town. In the recently released Mayhem in Single Valley, a young man bound for college becomes caught up in apocalyptic events. However, rather than dealing with robots or zombies, you’ll be dealing with goofy clones and rabid mutant animals. It’s not a traditional action-adventure game and keeps the weirdness ramping steadily up. It’s definitely a game that doesn’t take itself seriously, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
Welcome to Single Valley!
A common desire for anyone who grew up in a small town is wanting to leave. The first step is usually going to college before heading out to see the rest of the world. This is the starting point for the Mayhem protagonist. You are Jack, a college-bound guy from a strange and dysfunctional family. After saying his goodbyes, he goes outside to witness a crash that dumps gallons of mysterious substance into the town’s water supply. Within seconds, a huge amount of the wildlife and population are transformed into rabid mutants. Feeling responsible for this, Jack sets off to stop the apocalypse… well, in his town at the very least. It’s a wild setup that makes you want to find out what’s going on.
One of the best feelings is looking through your pockets or bags and finding unexpected goodies. If you search through the pockets of Mayhem in Single Valley, you’ll definitely find a few. The first one is the overall tone. The game starts on something of a somber and harsh reality kind of note but flips almost immediately. Everything goes nuts and that’s not just referring to the mutant squirrels your first encounter. The fact that you play as an average guy with everyday items just emphasizes the chaos.
Then there’s the sheer amount of variety. There’s a solid mix of exploration, platforming, combat, puzzle-solving, and questing to be found in Single Valley. Despite how small the town is, it’s incredibly diverse. You start off in a suburb before heading into the woods and you soon find yourself in a secret underground clone facility. Each area has different layouts and mixes up dangers and hazards to keep you on edge.
Finally, there’s the vibrant and colorful aesthetic. While all the characters and creatures lively pixel animations, the world appears to be in 3D voxel-style. It creates a nice feeling of fun and wackiness. The dynamic music that changes as you collect the tapes of each area adds to it.
Of course, while poking through your clothes, there’s always the chance you’ll find pieces of trash. If Jack were to dig through that red hoodie, that he was likely born in, then he’d find a fair few pieces. One of those pieces is the platforming. Character movement has an overall sluggish pace which really affects the jumping. Jack has a low medium-long arc and seems to fall slowly through the air. This takes a while to get used and even then it feels awkward. Not to mention the fact that there’s a decent amount of precision platforming that doesn’t mesh well with these floaty leaps.
Then there’s the combat aspect of the whole mix. Jack is armed with a slingshot that can be upgraded and can fire pretty much anything you find. While this sounds appealing, the execution is lacking. Launching objects at animals can stun and push them back, but the effects feel negligible and you’re usually attacked by groups of animals. The slingshot aiming requires precision which is hard to achieve when you have a hoard of woodland critters barreling towards you.
Then there’s the limited arsenal. You only have access to four upgrades: Shoes, backpack, trashcan, and slingshot. They all affect Jack’s performance differently, but it can take a few upgrades before the differences start to feel noticeable. The trashcan upgrade is particularly useless considering how rare trashcans are and how easy it is to take hits.
The End of Mayhem
Mayhem in Single Valley is an action-adventure pixel game about a kid trying to fix the apocalypse. It’s got a lot of zaniness and variety to find and experience. The gameplay and controls are a bit irksome, but it’s possible to get used to them. If you’re looking for a sightseeing tour, head to Single valley and take some junk with you.
TechRaptor reviewed Mayhem in Single Valley on Steam with a copy provided by the people behind the game's release. It is only available on PC.
- A Variety of Challenges and Environments
- A Comedic Tone with Colorful Content
- Vibrant Pixel Animation and Sweet Tunes
- Floaty and Awkward Platforming
- Limited and Ineffective Combat Elements
- A Minimal Upgrade that Lacks Feeling