Full Mojo Rampage is part twin-stick shooter and part roguelike dungeon crawler which presents an interesting mix of genres as well as a serious challenge. The levels are procedurally generated, but so is your path through the game, which keeps the gameplay feeling fresh even when the occasionally punishing difficulty gets the better of you.
Death is permanent in Full Mojo Rampage, but you are able to hold onto a portion of the XP and money you’ve earned in a given incarnation, meaning your little voodoo doctor protagonist won’t have to start from scratch each time. Certain abilities, called “Loa”, can therefore be unlocked at the beginning of each playthrough, affording you a slight advantage each time and giving you that extra fraction of survivability. It creates a constant and addictive loop of dying, retrying and dying again that just about carries it all forward.
The top-down perspective makes for a frantic adventure as you’re constantly dodging and blasting, activating unlocked special moves and searching the level for secrets and power-ups. Local co-op accommodates 4 players (as does online multiplayer), and adding other people into the mix is a solid way to up both the ante and the fun.
In addition to your voodoo masks, which are mostly cosmetic, there are items and bonuses scattered around the levels, often hidden in bonus stages, that you can equip to improve your base stats and increase your overall efficiency. Most missions are fairly straightforward affairs, often tasking you with closing demonic portals or gathering enough of a certain item within a certain time limit. It sounds basic, but thanks to the nature of the game and pace of the action, it never feels dull.
That being said, at times the difficulty can be almost counter to the fun. There’s a hop in and play atmosphere that feels at odds with the punishment of perma-death, and one that makes the addition of the roguelike elements feel a little like bandwagon-riding. End of chapter bosses add yet another layer of challenge, as do the bonus stages, and there are stores and hidden shrines to find and make the most of as you progress, which all would have worked just as well without the perma-death.
A small selection of multiplayer modes, daily challenges and an endurance-style survival mode add a little longevity, though none are anything to write home about and can sometimes feel bolted on because the core game is, when you get right down to it, pretty complete as it is. It’s sometimes too hard to be called pure fun, sure, but its heart is in the right place.
At times Full Mojo Rampage gets its wires a little crossed, and some of the roguelike elements can feel a little forced when they’re not really necessary, but it’s still a fun little blaster with a wonderful atmosphere and stacks of personality. It might be trying to elbow its way into a very crowded genre, but it has just enough pluck to earn its place.
Loads of content
Difficulty can be punishing
Not a huge amount of variety
Doesn’t quite do enough to stand out