Without a doubt, Defyn’s Mean Mallows is a game with one sweet storyline – defend the campfire from the evil marshmallows and graham crackers intent on destroying you, the sole remaining chocolate bar. Seriously, who wouldn’t get a kick out of a survival game based on the evil components of s’mores that lets you play as the best part (the chocolate)! Mean Mallows may have a deliciously sweet storyline, but it is first and foremost (and only) a survival game in which players last as long as possible warding off the zombie mallows and crackers with an arsenal of toothpicks and matches.
Mean Mallows features arcade-style joystick and button controls. The controls aren’t difficult, but they aren’t as intuitive or as forgiving as they should be. There are three different types of ammunition choices to fire from the chocolate bow – single shot toothpick, triple shot toothpick and matchsticks. The triple shot and matchstick are often the more successful choice, as you have to become a pretty good shot to hit your mark with a single toothpick – and you don’t have a lot of time to aim. The campfire enemy hordes approach from different places around the campfire and one hit takes down marshmallows, while graham crackers require two. You also have the option of melee combat, but close contact with either enemy will almost certainly cause you damage. The poor chocolate bar only has four units of health with which to fight and these can be lost quite easily upon contact with an enemy. Random units of health and ammo drop from the sky to replenish your cache, but often times, health doesn’t come fast enough.
As a survival game, high scores and achievements are the only basis for replay. There are no new levels and the campfire environment never changes. Though a bit dark in places, the art work and 3D design is definitely appealing and the storyline is fantastically clever, but the game simply lacks depth. It is such an adorable and fun concept, that it could have achieved a lot of mileage had there been other modes of play. Yet what it lacks in depth, it makes up for in its addictive nature. It takes time to become familiar with the environment and the controls, but doing so isn’t painfully frustrating. Fortunately there are three difficulty levels, with the default being medium, but beginners should definitely start with easy.
Everything about Mean Mallows – the ironically epic battle music, the characters and their environment – oozes deliciousness. And yet, the single survival mode leaves you wishing there were more. Nonetheless, as an innocent endless survival game, Mean Mallows is by no means a disappointing way to spend a buck. It’s challenging, but not quite to the point of meltdown, and even though it leaves you wanting more it manages to come off as sweetly entertaining.