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State Of Anarchy: Master Of Mayhem

Posted by GG Goblin On August - 7 - 2018

Just shoot everything.

State of Anarchy, from developer Lapovich, began life as a fairly simple, and very cheap, top down shooter on Steam. Then, last year, aliens invaded and the game got a massive remake which included adding Master of Mayhem to the title. Now, publisher Sometimes You have launched State of Anarchy: Master of Mayhem for the home consoles, including the Xbox One which is where we got to look at the game. Happy shooting!

soa1 (Copy)

The first thing that will jump out about State of Anarchy is the visual style. The game takes a minimalist, schoolboy doodle style, and then throws in a lot of not overly offensive blood. It will come as no surprise to find that the game lacks somewhat in the detail department, but there is something quite entrancing about this hand drawn doodle style. It is primarily black doodles on a white background, with the occasional use of colour to add some contrast. The environments don’t have a huge amount going on in them, with the majority of the empty space being taken up with the huge number of enemies that the player will be facing.

But why are you facing enemies? Oh, I am not really sure. There is something to do with rioters, and there is a bank involved. But then there are also aliens and UFOs, and even an alien planet. To say that State of Anarchy is chaotic would be a disservice to chaos, but whatever story there is mirrors that chaos. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter why the player is shooting everything that moves, only that they all need to be shot and the objectives are reached. Fortunately, the game does a good job of pointing the player in the right direction when it comes to the objectives, so there is no real need for a story.

State of Anarchy is a top down twin-stick shooter for the most part, and the player will find themselves heading through loads of enemies in order to reach their objective. Being a twin-stick shooter, the controls are relatively easy in that the player only has to move with the left stick and aim/shoot with the right. As the enemies come running and little, pixel sized bullets whiz towards the player, it is quite easy to shoot them down, thanks in part to infinite ammo, even with the simple pistol that the player starts with. When they drop, sometimes they will also drop cash that the player can run over to collect, and use later on.

soa2 (Copy)

The player can also jump into a car and drive to their objective, running over anything that gets in their way. The car is bullet proof, so players can enjoy a little protection as they zip around as if in some hand drawn GTA. Working through the levels, players will face off against bosses and even travel to an alien planet in order to achieve whatever it is they are supposed to be doing.

The early limitations of the simple pistol don’t last long, as the player will frequently have their weapon switched out to one of the plenty of other weapons in the game, ranging from your standard shotgun, through to more exotic laser guns. Players don’t get any choice in which weapon they use as the changes are automatic, but this keeps things fresh and while not all of the weapons perform as well as others, the wholesale destruction is pretty enjoyable whichever weapon is being used. The player can improve their little hand drawn hero through experience giving rise to talent points that can improve things like hit points or movement speed, while cash can be used to upgrade the more offensive abilities such as bullet range and firing rate.

In all, with a healthy dose of bullet hell style gameplay, State of Anarchy is not a bad game. However, there are a few things that prevent it from being a great game.

Perhaps most damaging is the repetitive nature of the game. While the levels are fairly open most of the time, and the player is free to do whatever they choose, there is not a lot going on other than having to shoot stuff. Things quickly become very similar, and thus the game becomes repetitive. The progression system provides a good reason to keep shooting stuff over and over again, but the rewards are so minimal that it can hardly feel worth it, and the automatic weapon changes can be frustrating when you are forced to drop an awesome weapon for something that barely performs.

soa3 (Copy)

State of Anarchy: Master of Mayhem may look like a fairly amateur game offering, but behind the simple visuals lies an enjoyable twin stick shooter for players who just want to shoot things. The fact that players can drive cars, and that there is a progression system all works in the games favour, although the lack of gameplay variety does mean that the game could get boring after extended sessions. However, for those looking for quick hit action in-between deeper games, State of Anarchy: Master of Mayhem is as light and shooty as it gets, and the price is not too bad either.




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