Step aside, Schwarzenegger. Jog on, Stallone. There's a new action hero in town. Major Mayhem is lantern of jaw and brick of brain, and he likes to approach complex international affairs with two diplomats named Smith and Wesson. And YOU, lucky player, you get to be his guide through three worlds of bullet-riddled carnage.
How does it play?
Harking back to arcade classics like Operation Wolf, the game is essentially a shooting gallery. The good Major dashes through the terrain, and then pauses at various points to take cover and exchange fire with a triple scourge of ninjas, mafioso and terrorists. Tap the screen over your target and then BLAM – one less malcontent walks the earth.
Combos can be racked up depending on how quick-draw you are, how many enemies you take out with a single shot, or bonus hits on objects like hats and chickens. The occasional innocent will wander into the line of fire, too; avoid shooting these chancers to preserve your score multiplier. Or don't.
The weapons are satisfyingly loud and lethal, ranging from machine-guns to shotguns to giant kickass bazooka rockets. Ammo is unlimited, so players don't have to worry on that score, but you'll need to pause to reload. Cover is automatic, and the only time the Major is vulnerable is when he breaks cover to squeeze off a shot, or when he's making a dash for it through enemy fire.
The Major looks tough as nails, but he's not invulnerable. He can only take three hits, his state of health indicated by the clothing he's wearing. If he's hit more than three times our hero is defeated, face down in a pool of blood. You'd better make sure he dodges those bullets, son. The safety of the free world is depending on it.
Why do we like it?
The controls are streamlined and economical. One finger, occasionally two, are all you need to play the game. The frequent intervals of running and jumping also prevent the central shooting mechanic from becoming too repetitive.
Major Mayhem was developed by Adult Swim, fine purveyors of satirical animation in the United States. We don't have the privilege of seeing their programmes on these speckled shores, but on the evidence of this game they're a talented bunch of pranksters. More than a few times we ripped a snort or three.
Sophisticated humour aside, it looks the business. The graphics have a distinctive animated feel, like when the Major is leaping for a chopper or doing bullet-time ballet across a rooftop. The enemies don't get as much screen-time, alas; they're just blood-splattered flagstones on your righteous path of glory.
Major Mayhem is available now on the App Store, Universal 69p