We all look to gaming for a break from the hum-drum of day-to-day life – to help us get away from modern day stresses… for a little relief if you will. Well, Men’s Room Mayhem takes the idea of providing relief to gamers a little further than most…
I promise I’m going to try to avoid making as many toilet gags as possible during this review although I admit that it’s not going to be easy. In my 30+ years as a gamer, this is certainly one of the most bizzarre concepts I’ve ever encountered for a game, but in a way, I’m surprised that no-one has ever thought of it before.You take the role of a not-so-glamorous men’s room attendant and it’s your job to make sure everyone visiting your facilities comes in, does whatever they need to and that you keep everything clean and tidy. Yeah, you’re probably thinking from that rather brief summary that it doesn’t sound all that exciting as a game, but let me elaborate…
Men’s Room Mayhem is basically a frantic action game. You have direct control over everyone who comes in and you have to guide them to where they need to go using the touch screen to draw a path for them to walk. As they enter, a symbol will appear over their heads to indicate whether they need to use a urinal or a cubicle. Sounds simple? Not quite… As every guy knows, there are “unspoken rules” to using public toilets and you have to bear these in mind and make sure all the visitors stick to these. If one of the visitors is using a urinal, where do you put someone else who comes in? You have to make sure that there is NO physical contact between customers (otherwise a fight will break out) and if customers don’t get to a cubical or urinal in time… well, you don’t want to know the consequences!
There are two main game modes – the Normal Mode where you have to serve as many customers as possible within the time limit (with the time extending and speed increasing for each level). In addition to the time limit, there are objectives that you need to try to achieve throughout the game. These will change throughout the game as you complete them but include serving a set number of customers successfully in a particular round, managing to avoid having any fights break out, earn bonuses with clients washing their hands and more. Once you complete these you are awarded medals and – more importantly – once you have completed enough objectives more locations are unlocked for play.
Each level is against the clock and you just have to serve as many customers as possible. Each time a fight breaks out a strike is scored. You’re allowed a maximum of five of these in any one level but if you get any more it’s game over. As each level adds more and more customers and gets faster and faster, it soons starts to get rather frantic on screen! You score points depending on how quickly customers are served with bonuses being awarded for hygiene (whether you get them to wash their hands or not!) and if you follow bathroom etiquette (something I struggled to explain to my wife and daughter!). Assuming you make it to the end of each level, you then have to clean the toilets (urgh!) by rubbing the screen as quickly as possible over the sinks, urinals and cubicles (and the odd bloodstain on the floor if any fights broke out during the game!) against the clock for a points bonus. Now I bet you never thought you’d be rubbing a toilet in a game… ever… in your lifetime!
Secondary to this game mode is the Blitz Mode. In the Blitz Mode customers come thick and fast and you just have to serve them as fast as possible – it’s a single level game against the clock and you just have no idea how many customers or who will walk through the door next waiting to be served! I mentioned the locations and there are seven in total, each with their own layouts, visual styles and music including a pub, a hotel, a saloon, a beach hut and more. To add an extra twist to the game, there are a range of different characters that you need to keep an eye out for in the game – while most of the patrons act the same but just look different some do behave differently. There are elderly customers who naturally walk more slowly so you need to bear this in mind not only when navigating other customers around them but also when guiding them to the cubicals or urinals to avoid “accidents”. There may even be the odd woman gatecrashing…!
Controls are simple to pick up and master – if you can touch the Vita’s screen then you’ve already got the hang of it. Just point at one of the customers and draw a line from them to where you want them to go. If you ever mis-direct one of the customers to somewhere you don’t want them to go, changing their direction is as simple as re-drawing their route from where they currently are. It really is that simple – the tough part is making sure they get to where they need to be!
Visually the game has adopted an overhead cartoon style which works fantastically. Each of the locations is detailed and varied and the characters are well animated with suitable blurred out visuals for good taste when needed and there are some great touches – steam from the sinks when characters wash their hands and cartoon-like clouds and dust when fights break out. Sounds is just as good with plenty of atmospheric music for each of the levels ranging from a laidback piece in the country inn to a disco beat thumping away in the club. When it comes to the sound effects themselves… well, I’ll leave that to your imagination really!
So what did I actually think? To be honest, I absolutely love this game! What makes this so fun to play is its inherent simplicity – it’s quick to pick up and play, easy to learn but incredibly compulsive. It draws you in easily, will put a smile on your face just with the absurdity of the concept and after just a couple of games you’ll be bursting to play it over and over again! The objectives give it plenty of longevity and for those of you who are Trophy hunters, there are plenty of challenges for you to work towards as well so you’ll certainly have plenty to keep your attention.
This game has really come from nowhere and is set to be a sure fire hit on the Vita – it’s an absolute bargain at the price and is one that people should be queueing up to buy! A must have game and quite possibly the best fun you’ll ever have in a public toilet…!
At A Glance
- Title: Men’s Room Mayhem
- Publisher: Ripstone
- System: PS Vita
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: No
- Cross Play: No
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 224Mb