From developer Drageus Games, Mad Carnage is something of a unique way of presenting the dystopian future concept that is so widely used in various forms of media.
The Hunger Games, The Divergent series, Mad Max: Fury Road, and the upcoming Ready Player One are all recent cinematic examples of dystopian futures. It is the Mad Max universe that Mad Carnage obviously draws a lot of its influences from.
From the art style of barren desert lands, to armoured vehicles that engage in battles on these plains, and even the story that revolves around the protagonist racing against numerous enemies, to be first to a mystery item that could turn out to be a valuable resource, it has Mad Max written all over it.
What makes Mad Carnage so different is that it isn’t presented as an adrenaline fuelled adventure through an open world or maybe even a linear FPS. Instead, it’s played out as a turn based, table top style strategy game.
The gameplay is relatively simple – you have a varying number of vehicles under your control and the objective is to eliminate all of your opposition’s vehicles before you yourself are eradicated.
There are three different vehicles available to you; the Fighter, the Berserk & the Heavy. Each vehicle has a different movement style and attacking option. This means that you’ll need to plan your attacks carefully to avoid being flanked by the nimble Fighter, attacked head on & destroyed instantly by the Berserk, and being caught out by the side mounted machine guns of the Heavy.
While careful planning is key, for example the heavily armoured Berserk can only be attack from the side or behind, it’s also essential to avoid being stuck in the firing line of the rockets which all vehicles can carry but can only fire once per battle.
Combat vehicles don’t have to attack every turn but they must all move every turn. This can lead to sticky situations if you aren’t thinking one, two or maybe even three moves ahead. Especially as the how the vehicles can move is pre-determined by how they moved in the previous phase. For example, a Fighter that is in a full forward motion can not suddenly perform a turn left or right at a 90 degree angle and must gradually work through the next few movement phases to turn.
While in the early game, the movement system can be a huge hindrance, but the vehicles can be upgraded. These upgrades are not limited to manoeuvrability and can also increase the armour value, speed and special weapons available to the vehicles, such as petrol bombs and incendiary ammo.
The very essence of the Mad Carnage battle system means that it is not a game that can be simply picked up and played for a light hearted, feel good time.
The story of the game is told through the medium of comic strip style images that are displayed in between each level. While these are drawn and stylised well, their limited engagement can mean the player can become very disinterested extremely quickly.
The engagement factor isn’t aided in any way, shape or form by the tediously long story that is told as the introduction to the game. This story is told entirely through written word and not coupled with any imagery or sounds, except the generic rock backing track.
All of the levels within Mad Carnage are incredibly similar, they utilise the same setting (the previously mentioned barren desert) and as such all use the same colour palette. The only difference tends to be the shape of the level along with what obstacles are featured such as rocky outcrops, shipping containers and piles of red barrels.
While the Campaign can grow tiresome, it is possible for players to take a break and set up some custom games. These can be played as either single player games against the AI or as multiplayer couch battles. However, it is not likely that this mode alone is going to keep players interested for long.
With its limited story, steep learning curve, generic art style and lack of level variation, Max Carnage is a game that is incredibly niche and is unlikely to grab and hold your attention unless you’re a huge fan of table top style games that require a lot of tactical thinking.
- Overall - 5/105/10
Table top style game, set in a dystopian future that could have real potential.