Hextech Mayhem review: a music game filled with freedom

Rhythm games are about following a set of strict patterns, but Hextech Chaos understands how fun breaking the rules can be.

Hextech Chaos: A League of Legends History is one of Riot Forge’s first two initiatives: games designed by independent studios set in the League of Legends universe. Unlike the long-running, story-rich RPG Ruined King: A League of Legends Story (what a surprise launched the same day), Hextech Chaos is a relatively simple and short paced game. But there is depth below the surface. Hextech Chaos It doesn’t just reward players who judiciously follow its prompts. The real meat of Hextech ChaosAnd what makes it special is the improvisation it inspires.

Through more than 30 levels and three boss fights, I control Ziggs, a fluffy explosives expert, in a side-scrolling left-to-right platformer that runs automatically. But instead of just jumping to avoid obstacles, Hextech Chaos it is also a music game. There are visible prompts scattered throughout each level, and I need to press the button corresponding to the beat of the beat. The green prompts tell me where I need to time Ziggs jumps, the white drop prompts tell me to immediately send it back to the ground, and the bomb prompts tell me to drop one of Ziggs’ unlimited supplies of bombs. It’s like playing a Mario game where you have to pace yourself carefully.

Ziggs flies above a group of guards in Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story

Image: Choice Provisions / Riot Games

When you play well Hextech ChaosThe variety of sound effects blend with the music to create perfect harmony. The buildings in the background dance in sync with the music, and a sweet guitar fades when I press several prompts in a row without fail. At its best, it is impossible for me not to move my head to the beat of the music, working as a kind of auto-metronome to keep me in rhythm.

But while Hextech Chaos it’s fun and cute and wonderful when I just follow the instructions, he doesn’t punish me for going off script. Each mission has several sections that encourage me to play the music however I see fit, pressing the buttons to send Ziggs flying without ruining my combo. Combined with the visible cues, these empty spaces allow me to enhance the music with my own creativity. There are also invisible prompts during this section, and if timed well, they allow me to collect collectibles, but it is by no means necessary to get it right.

These invisible cues are hidden within the rhythms of music and lead me down new paths if I can reach them. In the breaks between visible prompts, a metal box on the ground might suggest you jump to the music, while a whimsical vent means you should slam Ziggs into the ground instead of naturally dropping him. These tracks are hard to see at first, but they are so tied to the music that I started to notice them after a few levels.

Ziggs gets his score in Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story

Image: Choice Provisions / Riot Games

In the meantime, I’m ramping up something called Mayhem, a stat that tracks how many guards, boxes, vents, walls, and balloons I destroyed on my way to the finish line. Accessing 100% of the visible prompts is a great way to get a good score, but big scores also require a high level of Mayhem, asking score hunters to experiment and find all the invisible prompts.

As someone who doesn’t usually play music or rhythm games, my improvisation and my effort to discover invisible notes tend to get me in trouble. But having the freedom to experiment and play along with the music helped me to tune in more to the songs and improve as a performer. It’s easy to imagine the fans who are really into Hextech Chaos creating some incredible routes through each level, even past the invisible inflections, enhancing the music with your own explosive beat, and then realigning in time for the next message. For those of us who can’t do that on our own, finishing the game unlocks a mode that shows a path to 100% Mayhem, providing much more guidance by filling in the empty spaces with visible prompts.

Although Hextech Chaos stands out firmly on its own merits, it’s also riffing off the League of Legends universe. Hextech Chaos follows Ziggs, an explosives expert who tries to blow up the glamorous town of Piltover, with scientist Heimerdinger acting as his contrast. League Players like me are already deeply familiar with this pair, but the cut scenes and pre-mission dialogue do a good job of selling these characters to the uninitiated – they are like Cogsworth and Lumiere from Beauty and the BeastIf Lumiere had a penchant for pyromancy rather than dinner entertainment.

Ziggs and Heimerdinger face off in one of the three boss fights in Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story.

Image: Choice Provisions / Riot Games

In all Riot games, the focus is on groups of these heroes performing in dynamic multiplayer modes, whether as chess pieces, cards, or the usual controllable champions. But Hextech Chaos it is hyper-concentrated in a single place in the universe and a single relationship, offering a whole new perspective. There’s not much lore or history, but the great and familiar personalities of Ziggs and Heimer shine through the dialogue, the increasingly ridiculous mechs they both create, and the explosions around them, right up there with the “League of Legends historyCaptioning in a satisfying way for longtime fans.

Hextech Chaos it’s a lot of things in one small package – it’s a music game with a great soundtrack, a League of Legends game that doesn’t punish players who don’t know it, and a rhythm game that lets you color outside the lines to find new routes to follow. But it’s that last part, the freedom to jump at your own pace just in time to get back on the line, that will keep it in my memory.

It’s rare that a single feature adds both accessibility and depth, but Hextech Chaos stands out as a unique title capable of generating creativity in what would otherwise seem like a linear path.

Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story It was released on November 16 on Nintendo Switch and Windows PC. The game was reviewed via the Epic Games Store using a press account provided by Epic Games and on Switch using a pre-launch download code provided by Riot Games. Vox Media has affiliate associations. These do not influence editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find Additional information on Polygon’s ethics policy here.

Leave a Comment