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Mullet Mad Jack review – A stylish anime shooter

Mullet Mad Jack review header
Image: HAMMER95

Impeccably presented, Mullet Mad Jack is quite unlike any other video game you’ve ever played. And, inviting you to be the star of a vintage anime, if you enjoy both fast-paced first-person shooters and roguelikes, it might just be the highlight of your year.

Enter the insane world of Mullet Mad Jack and you’ll take control of the titular character, pretty much forced to take part in a violent game. Arriving at the Nakamura Plaza, you’ll find that you only have 10 seconds to live. That is, unless, you manage to get a hit of dopamine. Thankfully, that can be achieved by killing a robot, and the more stylish your method of dispatch, the more precious seconds you get added back to your clock.

Mullet Mad Jack, then, is a game all about killing robots as fast as you can. But there are some other complications. Your main goal, for example, is rescuing an influencer that’s been kidnapped by a Robillionaire. To do that, however, you’re going to have to climb the Nakamura Plaza, ten floors at a time. At the end of every ten floors there’s a boss waiting for you, too. Time doesn’t matter when you’re facing off against the boss, with you having a traditional health meter instead. Don’t go thinking that makes things any easier, though; fail to study your opponent and you’ll soon find yourself on your knees.

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Image: HAMMER95

Being a roguelike, death here means being taken back to the beginning of the set of ten floors that you’re currently on. It also means you lose any power-ups you’ve collected along the way. Upon reaching the exit of every floor you’re offered three upgrades and you can choose just one of them. You might opt to swap your standard pistol for a shotgun, for example, or you might choose to increase your critical hit chance by 10%. There are some less useful ‘upgrades’ to select as well, such as increasing the frequency of unleashing cheesy one-liners.

Related: Go Mecha Ball mixes twin-stick roguelike action with pinball and… it’s actually rather good

More upgrades are made available as you progress through Mullet Mad Jack as well, some of them permanent. But of course, the higher you get up Nakamura Plaza, the more challenging the game becomes. The basic robotic grunts you find at lower levels are soon joined by more complex and fiendish models, armed with gargantuan shield and even chainsaws. You’ll have to adapt your strategy to deal with each. The floors themselves become more hazardous, also. Acidic puddles will sip at your health, laser beams will force you to watch your step, and deadly gaps will test your platforming skills.

Add everything together, and the fact that you need to tackle Mullet Mad Jack with a gung-ho approach, and you have a game that can feel utterly chaotic at times. You push forward through tight corridors and rooms that still don’t give you much room to breathe, blasting or kicking (sometimes it’s advantageous to simply boot an enemy into a fan or electric panel rather than wasting a bullet) pretty much anything that moves. Pick up something like a knife or axe along the way, and you can perform a fancy finisher on a selected enemy, too, handy when you need to refill your life-clock in an emergency.

Mullet Mad Jack Review body 1
Image: HAMMER95

As impressive as an audio-visual experience Mullet Mad Jack is, though, with its dangerously sharp sprites and electrifying soundtrack, it can feel a little repetitive at times. It’s something that perhaps every roguelike has to contend with, especially for those who find themselves dying frequently, but repeating the same floors over and over again can simply be tedious at times. Unlike many roguelikes however, Mullet Mad Jack does have multiple difficulty levels to alleviate the issue. You can even play the entire game with a standard life meter instead of a time limit if you wish.

Once you’re done with the main campaign, you might want to jump in and test your skills at a higher difficulty level. Even better, there’s an Endless mode to jump into, which randomly throws floors at you. Complete with an online leaderboard, this is where seasoned Mullet Mad Jack players might spend their time, aiming for the coveted number one spot. With the experience being so original and exhilarating, we can certainly see ourselves going back from time to time.

Take away Mullet Mad Jack’s captivating presentation, and you’re left with quite a basic game at its heart, one in which you simply move forward while either shooting or kicking everything in sight. Yet, thanks to roguelike elements and the fact that you’re against the clock, it feels like there’s much more to it. Thankfully, then, it has style and substance, and if you enjoy a hit of dopamine just as much as the titular Mad Jack does, you’re in for a treat.

This review of Mullet Mad Jack was facilitated by a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PC.

Mullet Mad Jack review - GameSpew's score

Mullet Mad Jack
8 10 0 1
Inviting you to be the star of a vintage anime, Mullet Mad Jack is a fast-paced first-person shooter with roguelike elements that's basic at its core but still manages to be captivating — partly because of its impeccable presentation, and partly because it's simply so much fun to play.
Inviting you to be the star of a vintage anime, Mullet Mad Jack is a fast-paced first-person shooter with roguelike elements that's basic at its core but still manages to be captivating — partly because of its impeccable presentation, and partly because it's simply so much fun to play.
8/10
Total Score

We like...

  • Impeccably presented
  • Fast-paced first-person shooter action
  • It's simply cool

We don't like...

  • Can feel a bit repetitive at times
Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!