Magic & Mayhem is an action strategy game played in real-time with an isometric view. In the game you play as Cornelius a young magician who can cast a wide variety of spells including, fireballs, magic armour and summoning various mythological creatures. The game starts with Cornelius searching to find his uncle, Lucan, a powerful wizard who has mysteriously disappeared. His search leads him across Avalon with the various stops in his journey making up the game's levels tracked by a map.
The single player campaign is also accompanied by a versus, deathmatch mode. In this mode each player takes control of a wizard with all spells available to be chosen before the game begins and then battling it out on various map over LAN.
Magic and Mayhem was designed by Julian Gollop shortly after he, and Mythos Games Ltd. released X-COM: Apocalypse. It takes elements from Gollop's previous game Chaos, such as wizard's battling it out, and develops them further for this game.
Magic and Mayhem takes place in three mythological realms, with Avalon, Greece and Albion having mostly the theme of Celtic, Greek and Medieval/Arthurian mythology respectively.
The game starts with Cornelius who is fresh out of the academy having finally convinced his uncle, the powerful wizard, Lucan to accept him as his apprentice. However as Cornelius arrives at Lucan's magical laboratory he finds the place destroyed, Lucan missing and Lucan's flying machine left abandoned despite having been primed for a journey. Fearing what has happened to his uncle, Cornelius sets off in the flying machine decided the best way to find his uncle is to take the trip he was planning on taking before he vanished. Cornelius is joined shortly after by Lucan's familiar, a raven called Hermes who accompanies him throughout the game.
However after the flying machine crashes in Avalon and is destroyed, Cornelius must set of across the entire realm, defeating the hostile wizards he encounters and befriending any possible allies. All in aid of his search for Lucan, and to discover what was behind his mysterious disappearance.
The player moves along an overmap of the realm they are in with each stop on Cornelius's journey acting as a new level with the occasional option to the pick the order levels are done in. Magic & Mayhem uses a unique spell system, before each level begins the player enters Cornelius's portmanteau which is presumably holding all the magical ingredients that he has gathered so far. These ingredients can be placed in one of three columns and thus combined with one of three talismans (Chaos, Law or Neutrality). The column that each ingredient is placed in determines what spells Cornelius will have for the next level with a limit on the number of ingredients that can be placed in each. While Cornelius starts of with very few ingredients more are acquired (such as holly and brimstone) as the campaign progresses. In multiplayer all the ingredients are unlocked however so it is up to the player to manage which to combine with each talisman.
The game is played from an isometric view and has Cornelius pitted against an enemy wizard on most levels, trying to kill them and any hostile creatures around with his own host of spells and summoned creatures. Every spell requires mana which can be replenished by occupying 'Places of Power' with the wizards own creatures. Sometimes the player may also find items which have limited uses but do not require mana to use and have varying effects.