Due to its inherent suitability to touch-based controls, line-drawing games are a genre that exploded in popularity long ago (in gaming time). Nowadays, it feels like there isn't much in the genre that hasn't been covered in some form or fashion.
Enter Ripstone's Men's Room MayhemÂ [$0.99], one of the more thematically interested line-drawing games to come out recently. While the gameplay is pretty generic, Mayhem does earn some points with its original premise and well-done presentation.
In case you didn't check out our first impressions awhile back, Mayhem tasks players with playing traffic control in a men's restroom. Each restroom has the requisite urinals, stalls, and sinks, as well as an entrance and exit. Users come in indicating their preference to use a urinal or stall and you guide them to their respective location via line-drawing. After they finish their business you opt to guide them to a sink to wash their hands and earn extra points, or you can send them straight to the exit (ew).
Each run operates in waves with a pre-set number of patrons using the facilities during each wave. If patrons bump into each other, they start a fight, which can be cleared away by tapping on the brawl. In addition, patrons only have a set amount of time to do their business before they cause accidents on the bathroom floor. Six accidents in one wave and it's game over. Thankfully, you can clean the restroom of blood (from fights) and accidents between waves, reducing your current count. While the goal is obviously to survive as many waves as possible and get a high score, an objective system also provides secondary goals to accomplish while playing (and are used to unlock new locales).
Additional strategy lies in the fact that stalls act as double duty (pun intended) for patron needs, allowing some leeway in managing folks. Each type of patron also has different speeds and quirks, such as the old man (very slow), the confused woman (freezes men in their tracks if they get close enough to her) and the hippie (speed dynamically changes). Besides the strategy, I was also impressed with the visuals and style of Mayhem, as each different location actually looked and played pretty differently.
However, despite the above, Mayhem really doesn't offer much that gamers haven't seen before. The actual line-drawing and character leading mechanic doesn't deviate from any other classic genre titles. Also, while some of the different character types are novel, they don't do enough to provide much variety to Mayhem's gameplay. True, each location has some nice quirks but any novelty wears off soon.
Another frustrating part is the fact that each run starts out incredibly slowly until you get to the fourth or fifth wave. The objectives and trophy system, while providing some replayability, just aren't executed in a way to keep me playing long-term. For example, only three objectives are active at any time. When they're met, the only way to get new ones are to lose or restart. Considering how long it takes to play a run, players get stuck in a position of either prematurely ending a game to get new objectives or moving forward with no other secondary goals. After all that, players are left just with the allure of chasing a high score, which either takes too long to get interesting (with the normal mode) or costs additional money (with Blitz mode).
Once you get past the nice visuals and interesting locations, Men's Room Mayhem is a pretty standard affair as far as line-drawing games are concerned. It's enjoyable, and the thematics are certainly different, but there's really not much new as far as gameplay. Based on that, unless you're looking to revive the glory days of old-school line-drawing, I'd probably suggest taking a pass.
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