With so many roguelike games in the landscape, it can be difficult for one to stand out. However, developer Over The Top Games makes a respectable showing with Full Mojo Rampage.
Based on the folklore of voodoo magic and related fables, the PS4/XB1/PC game blends dungeon crawling, twin-stick shooter and rogue-lite RPG genres to create an original single-player and co-operative experience.
Players take control of a voodoo apprentice who dreams of attaining great magical power and the favor of the “Loa,” or dark gods of voodoo magic. This is done through several quest chains, in which one of the Loa themselves asks the player to take on a specific task for them. These quests take the form of a randomly-generated path made up of open-ended levels, perilous dungeons, vendor zones, boss areas and other destinations.
Gameplay in Full Mojo Rampage primarily breaks down into fast-paced isometric action in which the player must unleash their mojo magic on a wide variety of enemies while outrunning, outsmarting and outmaneuvering danger. On the PS4, one stick moves while the other fires projectiles in 360 degrees. Spells and other special moves are relatively simple to deploy with carefully timed button presses, whether the result is an evasive dodge or area-of-effect debuff.
Unfortunately, this easy to access, hard to master control scheme is held back by an unfriendly user interface. It may depend on the type of display being used, but many text prompts are difficult to read. Navigating the main menus is not as intuitive a process as it could be, and lastly, the “item info” function, which is required to find out what any of your inventory items do when used or equipped, can be intrusive when used in the middle of a level. These quirks get more manageable as the game progresses, but they can give players a rough start.
As with many roguelikes, difficulty is a hallmark of Full Mojo Rampage, with encounters steadily getting harder further into quest chains, and death will reset progress in a quest and cost you any power-ups collected until that point, though character stats persist. This challenge is counteracted by an effective progression system. The apprentice gains experience by blasting the baddies and completing objectives, boosting health, speed, damage and attack rate stats. New wands, passive buff-granting “mojo” items and other helpful trinkets are also collected regularly. Players must measure the benefits of these power-ups, as only a few can be carried – and fewer equipped – at a time.
Between quest chains, players swap out bonus items, improve their stats and choose their patron Loa – which decides what spells they’ll go into the field with. Over time, new “pins” and Loa will be unlocked, providing opportunities to customize the apprentice’s abilities to suit the player. Tweaking these options can be just the thing for countering that tough new boss or taking another stab at the next quest. Bringing in a friend for co-operative play (up to four players) can also level the playing field.
Full Mojo Rampage boasts a deceptively simple game play formula with a strong amount of content under the surface. With ample challenge, varied environments and a slew of game modes including the campaign, survival and competitive multiplayer, there’s a significant amount of see-and-do to be had here. On the downside, a sloppy presentation, skimpy story elements and somewhat formulaic in-game goals mean Full Mojo Rampage lacks staying power and lasting appeal, but there’s still a unique and enjoyable distraction if nothing else.