With the potential of the League of Legends (LoL) universe, Riot Games has plenty of directions to move forward and expand on things. The success of the Arcane Netflix series has certainly had a huge influence, and it is no surprise to see the publishing arm, Riot Forge, capitalise on its popularity further with Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story, a rhythm auto-runner courtesy of developers Choice Provisions.
One might recognise the studio that has given us the Bit.Trip series, and it is through a similar lens that we are given the chance to experience another side of the LoL world. Instead of an enormous and daunting roster to contend with, Hextech Mayhem is focused on Ziggs and Heimerdinger.
That said, you are not going to get a lore dump on either character, which will be disappointing to the fans of Ziggs who wanted to see more. In fact, this more casual approach to things is meant for a larger market, instead of the hardcore audience that has given LoL its platform. How fans would take that remains to be seen, but for what it is worth, it still does what is advertised.
Gameplay is straightforward but comes with a certain degree of depth as well, with players tasked to help Ziggs navigate through the streets of Piltover using his penchant for explosives. Precise explosions, jumps upwards and smashes downwards are required as different prompts roll across the screen, resulting in either a smooth and entertaining performance or a stop-start wreck of a time.
Easy to pick up and play, Hextech Mayhem adds to the chaos with the help of hidden notes, new moves, and even boss battles to spice things up. Once you are able to get into the flow, it becomes a visual and auditory spectacle, particularly when the soundtrack gets ratcheted up a notch with longer combos.
This would be familiar to anyone who has played any rhythm game, where the basics are easily understood, but to truly shine, mastery over the various elements is essential. Transitioning from a small jump to a bomb throw, then to a smash down followed by a higher jump is but just one of the many variations that players would have to face in Hextech Mayhem, and doing it all at pace is a good challenge.
In addition, there are important collectables to be recovered, with four special gears that could be picked up along the way, or require specific movement to obtain. This is important if you are chasing the high scores, but more crucially, it is also part of the game’s level progression.
It’s a contentious decision to say the least, especially if you want to progress in Hextech Mayhem, and you must grab those gears. The score is not even that important, save for the bragging rights, and having to repeat levels just for that purpose is not always fun, even if they are usually short affairs.
While this does help in the game’s longevity and replayability, with new skins for Ziggs up for grabs, one cannot help but feel that it will likely be the biggest stumbling block for the game’s success.
The legacy of League of Legends is undoubted, but with Hextech Mayhem, it is the legacy of the developers’ history that is its harshest critic. Fun in small doses and if you are fun of replaying levels to become even more proficient, this detour is hardly the top of the charts when it comes to the rhythm genre.
Its more casual approach and a progression system that is more at home on mobile gaming are not going to sit well with the traditional gaming crowd, and even for fans of Ziggs, Hextech Mayhem is not exactly the explosive success one would hope for.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
An interesting experiment with League of Legends’ universe and characters, but Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story definitely needs more time in the oven.
Gameplay - 7.5/10
Story - 5/10
Presentation - 8/10
Value - 7/10