Full Mojo Rampage takes a new route on the well trodden path of roguelike games to try to bring us a new blend of gaming mechanics to the genre. Alongside the tried and tested roguelike c0omponents, FMR utilises a unique mix of twin stick shooter, Light RPG Character development with a Caribbean façade that makes this dungeon crawler feel decidedly original when viewed against its contemporaries.
You are placed in the role of a masked voodoo houngan, charged by his Loa with completing a series of challenges for their approval. Across four disparate chapters, each comprised of a randomly assigned and generated level, each with a specific requirement for success. These range from closing magic portals that are randomly located within a map, rescuing zombie servants from skeletal attackers, to simply collecting items that are distributed about the map.
As each game begins, the random numbers begin to shape the world, not only constructing the layout of the levels within, but also where they appear on the overworld map. This variation allows you to take numerous different approaches to the game depending on how the environment is constructed. You could find that the first stage has two side quests associated; allowing you to earn some additional experience or even a shrine or two to allow you to earn or modify some new items to boost your characters stats, or you could find that you are forced straight on to the next chapter without any additional challenges. Core chapters also tend to feature a boss battle, who typically has a far more powerful and potent range of attacks than the generic mobs you encounter throughout. That is not to say these mobs are easy.
In typical rougelike style, you have but one life to live in each adventure. Pick a fight with too many mobs at once and you may find yourself restarting much sooner than you first thought, as their primary mode is straight up attack, and you can find yourself surrounded by enemies If you are a little bit gung ho in how you approach exploring the map. To aid you in this and improve your survivability somewhat, each map also has items and power ups that drop regularly to give you a fighting chance. Some give more benign bonuses, such as increased movement speed or additional health, while others directly upgrade your wand, (albeit temporarily), or increase your overall damage output.
All the while, destroyed enemies have a chance to drop health orbs that allow you to continue battling for longer. Other items have active abilities, sometimes one shot only, allowing you to cast damaging spells or summon powerful companions. At some points, you may do enough to impress your current Loa, and they may grant you a boon that when used will summon them into battle alongside you.
These items are dropped on death, but experience carries throughout, and it is the development of your characters stats that truly allows you to attain access to the end game. As this is a roguelike, you will inevitably die a lot throughout your attempt to conquer the game and when you do, you have to restart the chapter all over again, which can be extremely frustrating or challenging depending on how many times you have already die so far. By levelling your character you can improve skills and stats such as attack rate, damage output, hit points or movement speed, which allows you to make your character that little bit stronger making the next try to overcome the chapter that little bit easier.
Character customisation is not just down to how you level your character and what you have in your inventory, but is also dictated by choices you make when you begin. Your sponsor Loa, initially Baron Samedi while others unlock later, grants you two unique spells and each of the eight Spirits provide different boons. As you progress through the game you will also unlock additional voodoo masks and voodoo pins that add additional perks to your characters, and although the variation is not unlimited it does offer a fairly comprehensive level of individuality that can be attributed to your own character.
The multiplayer is alos well worth mentioning as it provides significant amounts of fun both off and online. The addition of friends allows for an easier time throughout the levels, but this comes at the cost of losing track of some of what is going on, especially when you have the maximum four players running around together.
The difficulty itself is escalates quickly, and you will find yourself dying extremely easily on the later levels of the first chapter when you first start out, unless your reactions are superlative. Basic enemies on level 3 will easily take you out in two hits, where you could quick easily tank a dozen or so hits in the first level. This obviously changes once you start levelling up, but it can seem over punishing to anyone relatively new to the roguelike game style. This, coupled with the repetitive enemy types did cause me to struggle to maintain my interest on several occasions, but the variety and customisation allowed me to push through this barrier. Hopefully, the same will be said of joe blogs on the street.