Mullet Mad Jack Review: A Simple and Incredibly Stylish Hallway Disaster


Mullets aren’t just back in fashion, they’re everywhere now, largely embraced by guys who love draft beer and The Football. And apparently by Mullet Mad Jack, the protagonist of a single-player roguelike FPS who stuffs a draft beer into a billionaire robot’s skull and then shoots him in the balls. What I’m trying to say is that Mullet Mad Jack is trendy AND without any fuss, which makes it a great option if you feel like letting off steam from time to time.

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The plot of Mullet Mad Jack is uncomplicated and silly, set in a retro-futuristic game inspired by 90s anime. Billionaire robots rule the world and must feed an AI super being who will die if not kept alive by dopamine. The billionaires hire (force) humans to become moderators who supply the rampant AI with dopamine while killing other robots in a crazy game show setting. Jack is one of these moderators, but he has a separate mission to murder the billionaires and free a hostage they have locked in a tower block.

There’s a catch though. You have a 10-second timer that counts down unless you fill it up by killing robots and pleasing the bloodthirsty AI that’s basically Twitch chat (poggers, etc.). Let the robots and drones ping you with bullets or stab you, and they’ll steal your time too. If the timer reaches zero, you die, your run ends, and you return to the bottom of the tower. Since the tower has ten levels, each made up of ten stages, this is a climb best undertaken when you’re high on double espresso or thirsty for violence.

A timer sits in Jack’s left hand, also displaying his Doom-style portrait, which oscillates between a smug cigarette hanging from his puckered lips if you’re a good shot, and a pained grimace if time is running out. In your right hand, you hold a revolver that can deal the barest death to the earliest robotic grunts. Then you charge in – basically, you’re fully mobile through the hallways. You burst through doors, automatically opening them with a powerful kick that sends the robots on the other side into the walls. In addition to time-saving headshots, you’re rewarded for kicking enemies into electrical hazards or messing them up with fans. Sometimes you can pick up knives stuck in tables and slam them into metal skulls for an even bigger bonus.

Image Source: Rock Paper Shotgun/Hammer95/Epopeia Games

It’s during these bloody sprints that you really appreciate the retro-anime style, all buzzy and spirited, adding a lot of flashing garnishes to the gore you’re cooking up. Amazingly, the massive numbers and flashes rarely make things unclear, meaning you can easily get into a rather attractive state of flow.

Get to the end of a level and you can choose one of three power-ups to keep for that run. Like a fire sword that replaces the revolver, letting you slice enemies in half up close or from a distance with a boomerang, one that gives you a +1 second bonus if you kill a robot by shooting it in the balls, or another that plants red explosive barrels in convenient locations (a personal favorite). There are railguns, plasma rifles, and submachine guns, all with their own weight, in the way they knock you back or up when you throw some lead. And I especially like how the levels try to throw you off your rhythm as you power up.

One thing though is that you start to notice that the upgrades give you the illusion of choice. Many of them are just noticeably weaker than others, so I found myself learning what was good and largely sticking with it throughout my playthroughs. I upgraded the railgun to the point where nothing, literally nothing, was stronger, and while I still enjoyed fulfilling the fantasy of power, build crafters may not be satisfied with the options offered as I move up.

As you climb the tower’s levels, not only do enemies multiply, but the corridors themselves take on an extra dimension to drain your time. Early on, you’re introduced to pools of acid that you have to jump over, and later on, you’re introduced to chains that you have to shoot off doors before you can break through them. If you’re in a flow state, these are simple obstacles to jump over, but poorly timed jumps and sudden lapses in judgment can turn them into deadly traps. I like that they’re never annoying on their own, as their difficulty is dictated more by how you react to the pressure of the clock.

Jack chooses between three upgrades in Mullet Mad Jack.
Image Source: Rock Paper Shotgun/Hammer95/Epopeia Games

Go to the tenth level and you’ll face one of many billionaires, each as vile as the next. In one of the first stages, you’ll have to face a giant eyeball where you’ll have to jump and dodge laser beams. Later stages, they get a bit more engaging, as one sword master can’t be reached by bullets, so you’ll have to scour the area for a particularly peppery implement it power break through their defenses. They aren’t as challenging as the boss fights, but they are a welcome change of pace from running through corridors.

Even though bosses add some spice to the fights, I wouldn’t say there are that many enemy types overall. There are a lot of robotic helpers, some drones, those who rush… and that’s about it. The challenge really comes from moving quickly through the environment, where most enemies go down in one or two shots anyway. So in a way, everyone dies quickly and it doesn’t matter that much! But then again, everyone dies in a very similar way: aim, click, explode. Maybe instead of a lot of different enemy types, it would be engaging to see way you kill drones and reposition your followers to adapt to changes in the environment.

Still, that’s my minor gripe in an otherwise fun and crazy FPS. Mullet Mad Jack is a uncomplicated, stylized disaster through a series of corridors, and even if it doesn’t blow you away, I highly recommend it to anyone who likes speed with its violence. There are additional difficulties if you’re looking for a challenge, as well as an Endless mode if you want to see how high you can climb by defeating random enemies and stage layouts. Mullet is very much in fashion.

This review is based on a test version of the game provided by the game developer.

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