Alice: Madness Returns Review

So here we are again with another “bad” game. This is Alice: Madness Returns, a generic 3rd person action game based in one of the most beautiful game worlds I’ve ever laid my eyes upon. After an hour of gameplay, you can immediately tell that the devs here put twice as much effort into the overall aesthetic vs. the actual game. What this results in is the best game this year that no one actually played.

Alice’s story is pretty unoriginal. You’re Alice, the girl from the fairy tale, and your mind is one messed up place. Alice’s parents died in a fire, and you now live at an orphanage with a psychologist. It’s still not clear to me what the point of the story is, but basically one day you’re walking down a road, and suddenly a bunch of monsters appear, and you fall back down the rabbit hole into Wonderland.

That brings me to my main point. As soon as you land in Wonderland, you wish that Alice was an open world game where you can explore endlessly, killing monsters and taking on quests. It’s just that good. Every piece of rock has had so much work put into it. Every wall distinct, every cave unique. Sadly, what you get is not an open world, but a linear 3rd person action/platforming crossover that makes every effort in ensuring that exploring Wonderland is as unappealing as possible. There are secrets hidden everywhere, but these are so common and easy to find that you just won’t go looking for them. In one stage of the game, there’s pretty much 10 looong caves around a foot away from each other, each containing a memory, which is basically a 5 second narrative of Alice’s dad speaking. That is not fun exploring.

Combat is also very tiring and predictable. I’ve fought 2 bosses so far, and they’ve been essentially the exact same thing. Every battle is basically this – Dodge, Slash, Dodge, Slash, Dodge, Slash, rinse and repeat. Enemies still look amazing, but again, are pretty much just the same. Once you figure out an enemy’s attack animation, all you do is dodge when it’s about to attack. There’s just no variation.

Then there’s the platforming. You’ll be jumping off mushrooms that look good enough to make a gourmet dish out of, but don’t be fooled, this is no Mario. Platforming is basically the polar opposite of combat – there’s too much variation. Moving platforms are way too common, and in some cases, don’t start moving until you’re right on top of them. This means that instead of aiming to jump on a platform, you want to jump around a foot left from it. And you don’t know that until you die and respawn. Luckily, if you die, you start right upon the last platform the you made it on to. This is very forgiving, but doesn’t change the fact that platforming is frustrating.

Oh, and one other thing – DO NOT PLAY THIS WITH KEYBOARD AND MOUSE. Keyboard controls make absolutely no sense at all, and even rebinding keys doesn’t help. If you want to play this game, I suggest you go buy a gamepad immediately.

Since I want to love this game, and want you to as well, I shall give it a pretty good rating and say this – if you play it in short bursts, you should enjoy it.

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1 Comment

  1. 45. I appreciate, cause I found exactly what I used to be looking for. You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

    Reply

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