Last November Adult Swim launched Major Mayhem [Free], a Time Crisis-esque arcade shooter with a welcome dose of over-the-top personality and fantastic production values. We liked Major Mayhem pretty well in our review, but did feel it was a bit mindless and repetitive. It was fast and fun action with great eye candy, but it got old pretty quickly.

Well Adult Swim is looking to fix that with their latest update, which is ridiculously huge and adds some much needed variety to Major Mayhem. The update includes three brand new modes, an in-game shop with tons of new weapons and helpful items, tons of new cosmetic options for tricking out your character, Game Center achievements, and new iPad Retina support.

First off, the original game mode has been rebranded as Classic, and there's now 3 additional new modes. Timebomb mode puts you into a random scenario for one minute to try and earn the highest score. Arcade mode leads you through a string of scenarios in a random order, making for some sporadic difficulty (in a fun way). Finally there’s Survival, which tasks you with playing through the campaign missions with just one life and no ability to continue.

Another cool addition in this update is a meta-mission system just like that of Jetpack Joyride, including the ranking up aspect and everything. I love when games do this, as it’s constantly giving you something new to immediately aspire to even in short gaming sessions. The mini-missions here are well thought out and fun to chase after.

The next major change to Major Mayhem is the addition of an in-game currency system. There’s a slew of new shop items to buy using coins earned by playing the game or by buying as IAP. There are now 20 different weapons and weapon variations that include ones that can fire through barriers, a bad ass plasma rifle, an auto-shotgun, and a cannon that shoots chickens. Yes, chickens. There’s also tons of new cosmetic items to outfit your action hero with, which is way more fun than I expected it to be, and there’s also some consumable power-ups to buy with your in-game cash like continues and more powerful bullets.

Now, I know there are people out there who just cringe at the mere mention of freemium, but I think Adult Swim has nailed it with Major Mayhem. All of the awesome new weapons and items can be earned simply by playing and earning coins. Yeah, it will be quite a grind before you’ve bought every last thing, but you earn coins at a fairly quick clip just by playing through the 4 modes.

If you decide that you just have to have something now, you have the option of several coin packs available as IAP (as well as a coin doubler option for 99¢, which can also lessen the grind a bit). I fell somewhere in the middle, and picked up the coin doubler and the smallest coin pack to buy a few new things to check out, and now I’m just having fun saving up for some of the more exotic items in the shop. Also, if you had bought the game previously for 99¢ when it was a paid title and it’s still installed on your device prior to updating, then you’ll get a nice 25,000 coin bonus.

Lastly, Major Mayhem has finally received the oft-requested Game Center achievements, a full 100 of them, as well as Retina Display support for the new iPad (and it looks simply amazing, by the way). Oh, and one more thing. According to the developer in our forums, that ugly "Free" banner on the icon should be a temporary thing, so don't fret.

If you were a Major Mayhem fan before but had gotten your fill, definitely check out this latest update as it almost feels like a completely new game now. If you’re a newbie then there’s no reason not to check it out since it’s now free, and has quickly shot up to become one of my favorite arcade games with the addition of all these new features.

  • lancheta

    Thanks to adult swim for awarding the original purchasing customers with the extra coin..opted for the auto bazooka and the chicken gun! Definitely keeping this app in rotation 🙂

  • csgbroseph

    Wow, I guess there is really no excuse not to check out this game now. Downloading as we speak...

  • Antony Blackett

    Thanks for the supportive article Jared! We're happy you guys are enjoying it and also happy that it's finally climbing the charts! Feed back in the forum thread is welcome. I'll be reading your feedback and suggestions.

    AntonyMajor Mayhem Dev

    • ColeDaddy

      I bought the game when it first came out and deleted it after completing it to open up space on my iPad. However, after reading about the updates and reinstalling the game, I didn't receive the 25,000 gold coins noted in the article. Pls advise.

      • lancheta

        If you had the game installed on your device before the update then you would get the coin. But if you deleted it the installed after update then no. Not sure if the devs would be able to fix it though

  • hellscaretaker

    Have to agree well played on giving those of us that brought it a nice bonus been playing it all over again still can't get the three stars on stage 1 any tips guys?

    • lancheta

      I saved coin and upgraded to the bazooka. But if you don't have enough I recommend to at least get the automatic shotgun. Its powerful and affordable. It will save on ammo, single shot on most enemies so you can combo faster ,and its good to take out strong enemies fast 🙂

  • yunostfu

    I'm butthurt about the Free logo on my icon from this update.

  • David Burrows

    How many promotions (ranks) are there? I thought deity was pretty high, but i keep going

  • gary wallace

    Love the game. Could not for the life of me get the Call Out King achievment, even after countless hours of gameplay and reading posts. No posts anywhere included "Chicken Pounder" which I git by shooting a chicken with the shotgun. This gave me the last call out I needed. I think you have to shoot all your bullets into a chicken. Just a heads up for anyone else struggling wih that.