by Chris Scott
reviewed on X360
Like the original game, Alice: Madness Returns is an action platformer. As such most of the gameplay relies on Alice traversing dangerous areas by jumping and floating through them but not everything is platforming puzzles and Alice will face off against hordes of enemies as the game progresses. To do so she has a small arsenal of magical weapons including a pepper grinder and the ever trusty vorpal blade. The vorpal blade is used for up close melee combat while the pepper grinder is for long-range attacks.
The game does a good job of presenting the player with different enemy types forcing players to stay on their toes and figure out the best way to get out of danger. Getting out of danger is not always an option though and if Alice begins to get overwhelmed she can activate a special mode called Hysteria. Hysteria makes Alice invincible for a short period of time while also upping her strength allowing her to deal deadly damage to her attackers.
The game is split up fairly evenly between platforming and combat both aspects are competently done but if you come in looking for something new and innovative you are going to be disappointed. The platforming is fairly standard fare. While the level design is generally solid, the game still revolves around jumping from platform to platform while hitting the occasional steam vent to go to yet another platform where you may fight a horde of enemies before you move on to platform jumping again.
For those that need a little more to their games, Alice: Madness Returns does break up its tried and true formula by presenting the player with a few off shoot 2D levels and some simple visual and rhythm puzzles. These diversions do a good job of breaking up the core gameplay but they constitute such a small portion of the actual game that if one is not a fan of platformers, particularly those of a decade ago, then there may not be much here for them. For those that are fans though Alice: Madness Returns is sure to give plenty of satisfaction over the course of its 12+ hour campaign.
A magical experience
Alice: Madness Returns is a throwback to a different, long forgotten time. It may look and sound shiny and new but its heart is from a different era. The thing about this game is that it is a better experience than the sum of its parts. There are better games that do individual aspects better than Alice: Madness Returns but when all the pieces are looked at together the game presents something that many games today sadly don’t, a magical experience.
Reviewer’s Aside: Alice: Madness Returns is published by EA and as part of their Online Pass program, those that purchase the game new will be granted a code to download the remake of the originalAmerican McGee’s Alice.
The art style and mature storyline pull players through the gameplay.
The gameplay can get a bit repetitive.