- An endless runner set in the League of Legends universe
- Follow Ziggs on a mayhem-filled adventure
- Master the rhythm of each stage or experiment to find hidden secrets
Releasing beside Ruined King, Riot Forge’s second somewhat experimental collaboration seems a slightly odd choice. Compared to the other game’s semi-serious tone and deep, involving RPG mechanics, Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story feels a little incongruous.
It’s pretty far removed from the ghostly invasion of Bilgewater, instead of focusing on the rather upmarket, steampunk-flavored city of Piltover – coincidentally the setting of Riot and Netflix’s incredible Arcane TV series.
It also has nothing to do with role-playing games, turn-based or otherwise. Rather, Hextech Mayhem follows the exploits of Ziggs, a maniac explosive expert intent on reducing Piltover to a pile of smoldering rubble for kicks and giggles. Attempting to stop him is League Champion Professor Heimerdinger (also a prominent character in Arcane, by the way), who keeps popping up to try to talk some sense into the little pyromaniac.
Hextech Mayhem takes the form of an endless runner/rhythm game hybrid developed by Choice Provisions, no less. The team behind the Bit. Trip Runner series is a solid get here as Airship Syndicate was for Ruined King. Riot have spared no expense, it seems – and it has paid off, too.
While Ziggs moves forward, his other commands are down to the player. It’s a 3-button game best played on a controller and with headphones strapped on the bonce (as the game itself helpfully suggests). While that sounds remarkably straightforward, it’s anything but. Choice Provisions do an awful lot with those three buttons, and there’s a surprising amount to get to grips with.
For example, A causes you to jump, which is easy, right? Just press A when Ziggs is level with the green prompt. Hitting down on the D-pad will make Ziggs slam down into the ground, while X tosses a bomb. All very, very simple. But in practice, it’s anything but. The prompts come fast, and you’re timing needs to be nigh on perfect. Some you can afford to miss, while others will cause you to his a hazard. Walls, traps, Piltover Enforcers, explosive barrels – these all stand in your way and must be circumnavigated safely and swiftly.
Later, Hextech Mayhem mixes in a few other mechanics, such as Super Bomb Jumps, where you’ll need to hold down the A button to charge your jump. Not only this but there are visual prompts everywhere that you can utilize if your timing is right. A vent, for example, can be ground-slammed, while tossing bombs at enforcers or slamming through chests can reward you with even more golden cogs, the currency with which you open up levels. There are also collectibles to be found, including new skins for Ziggs.
More than this, though, the extra actions you perform all feed directly into the Mayhem Meter, which acts as a score modifier and affects the overall rating for each of the 30-plus levels. Boss fights (three in total) break up the action and do things like change the color of your action prompts, forcing you to intuit on the fly. Even simply following the instructions can be tricky in the later stages, and so this can really push you.
Once or twice, though, I found the button presses just didn’t register correctly. It wasn’t a case of me missing a prompt, either, as it would be during a sequence of buttons that I was confidently nailing that one would simply fail to register.
I’d also argue that the prompts command your focus so much that you simply won’t see most of what’s actually happening on-screen. Ziggs will be leaping, bombs will be bursting and enforcers will be flying all over the place, but you’ll be hard-pressed to hit every prompt and still keep up with where Ziggs even is on-screen half the time.
There’s just an awful lot to like here for a game that’s ostensibly about jumping over obstacles and blowing things up. It has an almost retro feel, an old-school charm that comes through in the amazing soundtrack and over-the-top visuals. It’s bright and colorful and zany, with Ziggs embodying that early-Noughties charm that games have all but left behind. Even the cutscenes, which only feature Ziggs and Heimerdinger, have a distinct air of Crash Bandicoot about them.
Choice Provisions have taken their own simple concept and injected it with its own personality. The League of Legends dome that covers Hextech Mayhem casts its shadow, no doubt about it, but as with Ruined King – and even Arcane – you don’t need prior knowledge of the greater franchise to enjoy the content. It’s just a ton of fun to blow things up.
Completion and Achievements
Being primarily made for PC and Nintendo Switch, Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story doesn’t have a suite of trophies or achievements to unlock. There are nine skins to find for Ziggs, which requires the collection of a special white cog from each level. Finding them will take a considerable effort and a lot of exploration – you’ll also need to deviate from the set rhythm somewhat, and hit those hidden prompts.
You could blast through your first playthrough of Hextech Mayhem in just a few hours, but then you’d be missing out on a lot of stuff. With 36 stages, including 3 boss fights, all the hidden cogs, and a secondary, maximum Mayhem mode unlocked when you finish the game, there’s a surprising amount of content.
Final thoughts on Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story
- Colourful and zany art style
- Ziggs and Heimerdinger are great
- Lots of replayability
- Button presses occasionally fail to register
- The screen gets super busy
Final Score: 4.5/5
When held alongside Ruined King it would be easy to regard Hextech Mayhem as a piece of throwaway fun. But as with the RPG offering, Riot Forge has done a fantastic job of selecting the right developer for the job. Choice Provisions are arguably the masters of the endless runner, and this League of Legends-themed adventure is more proof of that if you needed it.
A simple concept in almost every way, Hextech Mayhem is given greater legs by its smattering of collectibles and easy replayability, making it a superb way to kill a few hours whether you’re a fan of the grander franchise or completely new to it.
Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story is available on PC via Steam and the Epic Store, and Nintendo Switch.
*Disclaimer: Review access provided by the publisher.