Published Mar 23, 2009MadWorld is definitely not the kind of game you'd expect to see on the Wii. In fact, it's hard not to be sceptical of a bloody, brutally violent and highly stylized beat-'em-up developed for a console that's considered by most as "family friendly." It was definitely a gamble for developer Platinum Games, but it's one that pays off.
You could easily compare MadWorld to Sin City. For one thing, there are definite aesthetic similarities. The environments are all monochromatic, which actually works quite well with the hardware limitations of Nintendo's flagship. The game manages to create unique and memorable environments without being able to pull off the same kind of shiny visuals as a game on the Xbox 360 or PS3. The only colour in the game that isn't black or white is the red from the blood that spews from your enemies. And, man, there is a lot of blood. That's because the premise of MadWorld is essentially Running Man on acid.
You play as a character named Jack, who is taking part in a horrifying game show. In order to win, you have to score points by eliminating your opponents in increasingly gratuitous and violent ways. This sounds pretty simple but the sheer number of ways to kill your enemies is what makes the game addictive. It's hard to forget the first time you dump a guy headfirst into a burning garbage can, and then impale him ass-first onto a very long, very sharp spike. It sounds brutal, and it is, but also fun and engaging thanks to the Wii's motion controls. Your moves are followed closely by the hilariously vulgar play-by-play announcers, voiced by Greg Proops, from Whose Line Is It Anyways, and John DiMaggio, the voice of Bender from Futurama.
MadWorld's greatest strength is that it's as old school as a beat-'em-up can be. However, that mentality is also where the game's flaws come from. The camera isn't manoeuvrable, except for centring it directly behind you, which becomes a real problem when you're backed into a corner. The game also gives you a limited number of lives, so if you die at a boss fight have fun going through the entire level again to get to him. Luckily, the difficulty stays pretty low all the way through, but you can unlock a harder one after you complete it.
But those are minor gripes about a game that anyone with a sense of humour should play. It's bloody, visceral and has an extremely unique and enjoyable visual style. If you like to beat things up, MadWorld is the game for you. (Platinum Games)