Our digital world lets us role-play any fantasy life, and games that let us run with the Mafia are especially popular. That’s because the career of a gangster seems wild, thrilling, and almost romantic–but most of us are smart enough to know that if we even got grazed by a bullet, we’d curl up in an instant and start weeping for mom.
Mafia Rush lets you live out the life of a gangster from behind the relative safety of your iOS device. The game’s grimacing, big-headed main character is pretty adorable, but don’t be deceived. To get ahead, you need to rob banks, blow up money trucks, and shoot a whole lot of people and attack dogs. And then you need to do it again, and again.
To the victor go the spoils.
Mafia Rush’s gameplay is broken up in several locations, and each of those locations offers you four missions to complete. In “Robbery,” you rob banks and gas stations, and throw a set number of money bags into your truck (whatever happened to the clerk not knowing the number to the safe?). In “Defend,” you must defend your sacks of cash from rivals with sticky fingers and a big sense of entitlement. In “Survival,” you must stay alive against waves of enemies. And in “Attack,” you locate bombs and blow up money trucks to scoop up what’s inside, like a greedy kid under a piÃ±ata.
Mafia Rush is controlled with two virtual thumbsticks. The left stick moves your mob guy, and the right stick swivels your gun, which is on auto-fire. You can gain levels to improve your stats (move faster, shoot faster), and you also have access to secondary turrets that automatically pump bad guys full of lead, granting you a precious few seconds to catch your breath.
He’s got a gun!
It’s a very basic game, but fun. However, Mafia Rush is definitely at its best when it cuts you loose to just gun down as many enemies as possible (there are a whole lot of ‘em, too– sheesh, rub out a few guys and suddenly the whole world hates you). In other words, the “Attack” and “Survival” game modes are by far the most fun, whereas robbing banks (“Robbery”) and defending your money stash (“Defend”) require you to retrieve and carry around sacks of money, which slows you down. Having to hunt down and recover the money you dropped when some big guy slugged you is annoying when all you want to do is blow some gangsters’ heads off.
The controls in Mafia Rush can also get a bit sticky when the action is intense, as the game doesn’t seem to react well to any kind of friction between your thumbs and the screen. What’s more, there appears to be a bug in Survival mode that hides the last enemy from you, so you can’t end the level. Fortunately, it pops up very rarely.
For its flaws, though, Mafia Rush tries hard, and you can’t help but like it. The variety offered through the multiple gameplay modes doesn’t always pan out perfectly, but if a level frustrates you, you can skip it and come back later. Keep pushing forward, and maybe someday you’ll be a mob boss. Er, in Imagination Land, of course. Forget that real-life organized crime stuff, unless you like the prospect of sleeping with the fishies.