Doom has been many things over the years – a pioneering first-person shooter, an RPG, even a board game – but Mighty Doom is the first time this franchise has been cute. Your cartoonish Slayer in this mobile top-down shooter is every bit as adorable as the puffy cacodemons and pinched-cheeked prowlers he’s mauling. It all starts out as a single-stick animated roguelite that has you marching through demon-filled levels to… well, I’m not exactly sure. I never saw the end of it, because a hellish difficulty spike clearly designed to entice me to spend real money on the power of the game Glory Killed any desire I had to keep playing. There’s fun, fast-paced, and deliciously bloody gameplay here, but it’s chained to a mountain of free trash that washes away the fun of the experience once you reach a certain point. The result is a monetized nightmare that feels less like Doom and more like Candy Crush Saga with Hell Priests.
You control your Doom Slayer using an on-screen joystick, but shooting is automatic. This means that all you have to do is move around the arena-like stages avoiding enemies, projectiles, and environmental hazards like spikes and saw blades. You also have a few slots for special weapons, like a rocket launcher and a BFG, which you can deploy with the press of a button after a cooldown period. Touchscreen controls aren’t very precise, which becomes a problem when the screen is full of enemies and bullets later on, but they’re generally adequate in earlier levels.
As a roguelite, you start each run with only the persistent gear you’ve equipped between levels, but you’ll gain plenty of temporary buffs by killing demons mid-run to increase your combat abilities. It’s incredibly challenging, because towards the end of a run, you might be double-firing sprawling shells that bounce off walls and ricochet from enemy to enemy, all while tossing grenades with improved splash damage. These upgrades disappear at the end of each run, but they make Mighty Doom exciting and rewarding every moment.
Most levels are made up of 40 stages roughly the size of a tennis court, with bosses to clear every 10. Bosses are large, bloated versions of standard enemies like imps, soldiers, revenants and rangers, but they have their own unique attacks and patterns, so they feel fresh – at least the first few times you encounter them. The variety of enemies in the levels also works well, with weaker pawn-like enemies in the front, tougher tank enemies in the middle, and ranged opponents in the back. Your demon runs are accompanied by a heavy-metal soundtrack that also looks like it’s pulled straight from recent Doom games, giving the whole thing a boost of intensity as the announcer snarls the names of your bets. upgraded in a deliciously over-the-best way.
Take it all together and I had a lot of fun during my first few hours with Mighty Doom. After one race, I always wanted to start another to see if I could get closer to beating the level I died at. During those first few hours, I could also progress at a reasonable pace – I might die on a stage 10 boss, but I’d be able to deepen several stages next time after upgrading my Slayer between runs.
I was somewhere in level four when I hit an abrupt spike in difficulty that halted my progress like a BFG blast to the chest. Two things happened: first, enemies became noticeably more powerful, draining large chunks of my health all at once. On top of that, the number of on-screen enemies in some levels increased to the point that it could be hard to tell what was even happening. I would find projectiles flying at me from all directions, pinkies and lost souls charging offscreen, and revenants falling to launch missiles at my face. I often saw my health bar draining and I had no idea what was hitting me.
After struggling to progress for a while, I spent $15 on in-app purchases to upgrade my gear – both because it seemed like the only option I hadn’t tried to progress and because I wanted to see if my growing salary-earning suspicions were correct. The boost this money gave me got me through level four, but not much further. Level five introduces waves of enemies, while also giving those enemies another huge power boost. This is when Mighty Doom started to feel downright unfair, and the focus on its purchasable loot boxes meant the difficulty struck me less as a balance miscalculation and more as an unspoken paywall.
Whether you want to spend a lot of time throwing yourself at this frustrating and repetitive challenge or a lot of money to make it a little more reasonable, you’re not going to get past this point without jumping through even more free-to-play games. hoops. And Mighty Doom has free hoops in abundance. You have an avalanche of currencies to track: unique keys for each type of equipment (there are eight of them), energy, coins and crystals, the last two of which can be purchased with real money . You need to expend five energy to start a run, and you can only carry 20, which means you can’t always dive into another run whenever you want. Your energy slowly replenishes over time, but of course you can speed it up by spending crystals. You can also spend crystals to buy loot boxes to increase your Slayer’s power, but the number of crystals required to open a loot box with a chance to contain a rare or epic item is steep.
Each piece of gear can be upgraded dozens of times by spending Coins and Gear Keys, but individual upgrades are barely noticeable. Coins can be used to boost a random base stat, or “mastery,” but after hitting peak difficulty, those power boosts have also proven to be insufficient. Other monetization options include purchasing new Slayer skins and weapon skins, using either crystals or real money directly depending on the item. You can even spend crystals to revive your Slayer once halfway through. And, for revenge better gear while you play, you can purchase a battle pass for $6.99. Basically, any aggravating monetization scheme you may have heard of over the past decade is probably here.
The only alternative to spending in-game currency is to spend your real time watching ads. You can watch an ad to avoid paying to raise (this is a limited privilege, I found out). You can also watch an ad to open a very basic type of loot crate that contains coins or common gear. And while you can earn currency just by playing, it’s never enough to make much of a difference after that level four difficulty spike. No matter what I did, I never had the currency to progress at a reasonable pace unless I was willing to open my wallet.
Trying to figure out all the gratuitous garbage surrounding the base game felt like I was studying for the bar exam. I understand that some of this monetization is necessary, or at least accepted as common practice for many mobile games these days, especially free-to-play games. But buying skins or a battle pass in Fortnite or Marvel Snap is different. These games are multiplayer-centric, and showing off your favorite cosmetic upgrades at least seems to serve a purpose – plus, they’re easy to ignore if that’s not your thing. Mighty Doom is a single-player game, so you don’t have to impress anyone with your new Slayer skins except yourself. And paying for power upgrades to complete a level you’re stuck on due to an artificially punishing difficulty spike is the very definition of pay-to-win.
#Mighty #Doom #review #IGN