Reviewed: August 3, 2005
Released: July 20, 2005
A surprising project from the mind of Stuart Moulder—better known as one of the developers behind the Halo games—Mojo Master is a dating simulation game with a simple premise: you, the “playa,” are charged with the sole mission of seducing and collecting the phone numbers of the 100 virtual women populating the game universe, thus becoming the Mojo Master.
In your quest to conquer, you can travel through seven different American cities, unlocking new moves, collecting bling and clothing, and opening up new venues along the way. You might even encounter Tiffany Fallon, 2005 Playboy Playmate of the Year.
Sound exciting? Well, even if this doesn’t seem like your type of game, you can still check it out, free of risk – downloading and playing Mojo Master doesn’t cost a dime.
Mojo Master’s gameplay is fairly simple and straightforward, so it’s not a hard game to pick up. After you register for a free account, the game starts you off by asking you to create a “playa.” There aren’t a lot of customization options (there are only five or so appearances to choose from), but your choice of starting bling and clothing can affect how girls will react to you. More on that later.
Upon creating your playa, you play through a quick tutorial of the game, then start your escapades in Chicago. At first, only one venue (the Pool Hall) will be available to you, but eventually, you can unlock up to 28 different locations in 7 different cities. At each of these venues, a selection of girls is available to you, though some of the girls must first be unlocked through garnering the favor of other girls.
Seducing one of the virtual girls is a relatively simple—though not always easy—task. Using the “seduction compass” at the top of the screen to guess at the girl’s interests, you can choose which move to make in order to take advantage of that particular girl’s likes and dislikes. The game then plays a bit like a collectible card game crossed with a fighting game, with moves doing damage dependent on their power level and element.
You and the girl both have life bars of sorts—yours is called your “mojo meter,” while hers is an “indifference meter.” Basically, the first to reduce the other’s meter to zero wins the round. If you reduce her indifference to zero, you get her phone number. If she reduces your mojo to zero, you fail but can try again without penalty.
You can also use power-ups to increase the power of your moves, allow you to make the first move, or reduce damage to your mojo meter. As to be expected, as AXE is the game’s sponsor, all your power-ups are various AXE personal hygiene products. Be prepared for the game’s obviously commercial overtones; Mojo Master does serve as an interactive advertisement for both AXE products and the music used as the game’s soundtrack.
In any case, while gameplay is easy to pick up, it may also become quickly repetitive. While Mojo Master boasts 100 different girls with different personalities, the truth is that they all make for very similar opponents. You may use different moves on different girls based on their mental and physical elements, but after playing many rounds against many girls, it all feels about the same. If she doesn’t like something you do, she will probably kick or slap you, and you just try something else until you figure out what kinds of moves she likes and doesn’t like.
Besides that, the only other gameplay features really worth mentioning are the “spark meter” (a sort of combo meter which can give you damage bonuses) and your choice of clothing and bling (which add to your defensive and offensive capabilities, respectively).
The graphics in Mojo Master are cleanly rendered in 3D and actually fairly decent looking for a free game. The location backdrops are detailed and attractive, sometimes even containing humorous animations (such as the girl photocopying her derriere in the office). A lot of attention was also placed on the girls and their clothing, of course, and the resulting models remind me of The Sims 2 graphics. My only real gripe there is that the girls all look the same, except maybe for their skin color, hair, and clothing; they all have the same exact face and body shape. Variation would certainly have been nice.
The girls’ motions are fluidly animated in a lifelike manner, thanks to motion capture, but again, all the girls move the same way and have the same facial expressions, regardless of personality. Personally, I was just not a big fan of the animations, since most of the girls’ behaviors are disturbingly reminiscent of a prostitutes’. And the developers didn’t quite get the breast-jiggle animation quite right, so it sometimes looks as though the girls’ breasts are sliding unnaturally across their ribs. Slightly more egregious, though, is the girls’ tendencies to walk through walls and furniture as if they didn’t exist.
Other than that, though, Mojo Master is a decent looking game, and I really can’t complain too much.
The music is probably one of the best parts of the game, as Mojo Master offers a good selection of recent releases from various up-and-coming artists, including Thievery Corporation and Silvertide. The musical selection played changes depending on your location and is well matched to each venue.
The sound effects, though, are slightly less than spectacular. Again, in sound, as with the gameplay and graphics, the girls are too similar. True, there were only three different voice actresses employed in bringing 100 girls to life, but each voice actress recites the same lines in approximately the same fashion, so despite having three different voices, the girls still all sound the same. More importantly, though: sometimes the sounds, like the smack of a girl slapping herself on the buttock, doesn’t quite match up with the animation. It’s a little disorienting, but at least not every sound has alignment issues.
I definitely cannot complain about the value of this game, as it is 100% free to download, create an account, and play. Plus, new features are apparently still being added to the game. The website promises multiplayer “playa vs. playa” action by this fall.
All things considered, Mojo Master is not a bad game, especially for one you can download and play for free with no strings. In fact, despite its repetitive nature and minor flaws, it still has a collectible card game’s addictive pull of “gotta collect them all” – not just the girls, but also the outfits, bling, and hundreds of possible moves. In fact, at the time of my writing this review, I have not yet found Tiffany Fallon in the game, so I’m still playing.