Most of you will know Adult Swim from the "no kids allowed" programming shown late night on Cartoon Network, but the quirky pseudo-station has been tossing its hat into the game development ring for some time. The latest entry in their Android stable is Major Mayhem, a 2D gallery shooter (with 3D graphics) that's a blend of gameplay mechanics from the likes of Metal Slug and Time Crisis. And all the sense and subtlety of a thrown brick - in a good way.


The game has the titular character roaming through side-scrolling environments, with the player controlling his aiming and liberal use of munitions. Tap at an enemy (ninjas, for no discernable reason) and the Major shoots. Release, and he ducks behind cover, not unlike a certain arcade lightgun franchise. Naturally you get power-ups, combo bonuses and plenty of enemies to mercilessly slaughter pacify while trekking through the three environments on offer.

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The gameplay is pretty solid, but Major Mayhem's unique style and humor are its real draws. The protagonist is a lovingly crafted caricature of the 80s action hero, complete with stubble, dog tags and a few appropriated catchphrases. The premise is appreciably zany (ninjas have invaded "the tropics" and also stolen the Major's girlfriend) and there's more than a few shout-outs to the movies that give the game its inspiration. Even so, the art style is more akin to a typical mobile game and keeps things lighthearted.

Major Mayhem will run on any Android device 2.2 or higher, but its full 3D graphics might tax some older phones or tablets. Even my Tegra 2-packing Galaxy Tab 8.9 hit a few stutters when the shurikens started flying fast and furious. Luckily, there's an option to reduce the resolution in the Settings menu. It's a free game with "fremium" content - you can can earn power-ups, weapons and cosmetic items through skillful play, or just trade a few real greenbacks for in-game currency via an in-app purchase. It's solid fun for anyone looking for a light shooter, or just hoping to rekindle some cartoony nostalgia - and for that, we can forgive an Android release that's several months behind certain inferior platforms.

Major Mayhem is available for free from the Google Play Store.