Riot Forge’s debut title, Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story, is a crazed collision of classic 2D gameplay and colorful concertos that will leave LoL fans old and new grinning, but the clunky keybinds detract from the cornucopia of chaos.
Ever since Riot Forge was unveiled back in 2018, avid League of Legends fans have awaited their debut titles with bated breath. While the Ruined King turn-based RPG has lurked in the shadows throughout 2020 and 2021, a new challenger has entered the fray alongside it: Hextech Mayhem.
Seeing the music game and 2D arcade genres collide in an explosive mix of sound and insanity, the so-called “rhythm runner” centers around two of LoL’s most iconic Yordles: the maniacal Ziggs and the somber Heimerdinger. Tasked with causing as much chaos as possible to irritate the aging professor, you travel through the stunning vistas of Runeterra’s Piltover by bouncing around in time with the in-game soundtrack. It’s fun, it’s innovative, and it’s explosive, but it’s ruined by very awkward controls on PC.
Hextech Mayhem: Key details
- Price: $9.99 / £8.09
- Developer: Choice Provisions
- Release Date: November 17, 2021
- Platforms: Switch / PC
Hextech Mayhem trailer
A completely different take on League of Legends, this game is about one thing: having fun. There are no cryptic strategies to work through, no correct build paths – it’s pure, unbridled chaos at its very best.
As with all rhythm titles, a game lives or dies based on its soundtrack and Choice Provisions have created a quirky yet soaring soundtrack that will be stuck in our heads for days. While you play, you’re bopping along to the beat and want to hit every note to keep the tune going. Missing a prompt will bring the party to an abrupt halt, and, to quote good ol’ Rhianna (who also collaborated with Riot for Arcane,) you’ll find yourself begging “please don’t stop the music!”
If that classic noughties favorite is stuck in your head now, jump into Hextech Mayhem, it’ll solve that problem. You’re welcome in advance.
Aside from the actual gameplay, though, the mischievous Ziggs and stick-in-the-mud Heimerdinger are the perfect cast for this symphony of insanity – and I really, really hate playing against both of them in League. Adorable in their own rights, their play fighting is the perfect backdrop to such a lighthearted concept. With the Dean of Demolitions taunting “I won’t stop until someone stops me,” the banter during the boss battles makes them an absolute joy to play – even if they are pretty difficult!
“I got this blade in my hand for your punishment”
One of League’s most important aspects is knowing when to punish an overstep. While you might wonder how that translates into Hextech Mayhem, the game will pick you apart if you start to get cocky.
As an ex-musician and former drum teacher, I thought this game would be a walk in the park. I was that Yasuo who dives head-on into the backline in the hope of tearing my enemies asunder to score that sweet, sweet Pentakill.
Except, I was, in fact, a Yasuo who’s waiting on that 0/7 power spike.
Sure the uplifting soundtrack makes you feel like you can conquer the world, but just as you get the hang of one stanza another begins, or a freak random note is thrown in. This game is actually pretty difficult at its core and demands your full attention. It’s made more difficult, however, but the awkward controls (at least on PC).
The power of keybinds is a curious thing
One of Hextech Mayhem’s major pitfalls is its button layout on PC. Your jump is on the left mouse button, slam is on the scroll button, and bomb is on the right. To me, this makes no real sense, as surely it should be up on left, down on right, and bomb on scroll.
When I went to try and remap them, it turns out that you literally can’t – there is no way to rebind your keys.
Turns out it isn’t just me that’s not vibing with the defaults. A whole host of Steam reviews have slammed Choice Provisions’ decision to lock the keys, prompting Riot Forge to look into adding the feature later down the line.
While we’ll just have to get used to playing with the current settings (and you do get used to it after a few rounds) it’s great to see that the devs are taking on feedback so early in the game’s lifecycle. Piltover, after all, is the City of Progress, and it’s great to see Choice Provisions setting a positive precedent for the future.
Despite the above issues with the game’s keybinds, they’re forgivable given how great this game makes you feel. It’s fun, it’s different, and, most of all, it’s a completely different take on League of Legends. Playing it makes me want to run Heimerdinger bot-lane, or try out Ziggs ADC, two champions I’ve never really wanted to play before.
Of our protagonists, though, I’d want to be Ziggs – he’s here to light it up, set the world on fire, and break rules in two. After all, that’s what the baddest do (sorry not sorry for being the best).
Reviewed on PC