May 23, 2021

Warning: Deadly Squirrels Spotted Ahead - Mayhem in Single Valley (Steam) Review

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TL;DR: Gamers looking for some wacky humor and interesting puzzles will find a lot to like in Mayhem in Single Valley. 

Jack be nimble, jack be quick

Jack is an average kid. He has a pet dog, plays video games, lives with his odd parents, and will always come through to save his town in the time of need. Ok, maybe Jack isn’t your average kid, but he is the person chosen to save what’s left of his hometown.

The story for Mayhem in Single Valley starts as Jack is preparing to leave home to attend Art School. As he is finishing saying his goodbyes to his family a mysterious figure is seen pouring toxic waste into the town's water supply. Jack, being the rather odd kid in the neighborhood is quickly blamed for all the tragic events that befall the town. Armed only with his wits and trusty slingshot, Jack sets out to uncover the identity of the mysterious figure and to restore normalcy back to the town and clear his name. Of course, he has to complete his morning routine first like putting on his shoes, taking his meds, and picking up after his dog, Murphy.

TIP: Sometimes your going to have to get wet to find the good stuff.

Armed only with his wits and trusty slingshot, Jack sets out to uncover the identity of the mysterious figure and to restore normalcy back to the town and clear his name.

jack will kick your butt with an acorn on a stick

Some of the humor in Mayhem is several miles left of center, but the gameplay hits the mark dead-on for the most part. Many games have used resource management and action as an underlying structure of their design, but Mayhem does it above the rest with its variety of play. The game is constantly changing and new surprises are doled out at regular intervals pulling you along like a line of sugary sweets. Rather than having multiple quests open, you can only perform small feats of the larger puzzle one at a time to keep the story flowing.

Graphically, the game takes on an old-school retro look with large polygons and pixels littering the screen. The game has a Zelda-ish feel to it with a 3/4 overhead perspective and many of the puzzles and character dialogue seem to borrow from past NES games which is a good thing since it will attract players of all age groups. Moving Jack around is pretty straightforward, albeit a little slow, and while the controller is an option, I found it best to use the mouse/keyboard combo since you will need to do lots of aiming and the mouse is the best option for that.

TIP: A high picnic table is a great place to be when chased by a bunch of possessed squirrels. Toss them some hot dogs.

The gameplay, music, controls, and storylines are all individually outstanding and each complements the other nicely.

While the puzzles are fairly logical and none are terribly difficult to figure out, the direction you have to take is rather confusing and you'll oftentimes find yourself backtracking because you missed finding an item or two. There are also a few too many areas where a single misstep or hesitation can spell instant death. Thankfully, those instances are few and on the whole, the balance between timing and reaction time is pretty solid.

Taken as a whole, Mayhem in Single Valley is a remarkably well-rounded and very polished game. The gameplay, music, controls, and storylines are all individually outstanding and each complements the other nicely. The story may not be original but the execution certainly is. For anyone looking for a little something different or for those that think games nowadays are easy to beat, Mayhem in Single Valley is one game worth checking out.

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