Wii Review: MadWorld

Ouch, that looks painful…but in a good way!

MadWorld is nuts. There’s no other way to put it. You play as Jack, who’s caught up in the terror of Death Watch, the murderous game created by the terrorists who call themselves ‘The Organizers’. To remain alive – and solve the mystery behind Death Watch – you must master the use of weapons and items found within the environment and compete in ultra violent mini-games designed to push you over the edge.
It seems to take its idea from the film “The Running Man” where Arnie is picked to go on a game show to kill to survive, that and maybe a dash of Smash TV. MadWorld turns killing into fun and the ways to kill enemies seems extreme, but very clever at the same time. The game makes you rack up a nice, big score to progress and there are ways of doing that. You can shove a signpost through an enemy’s head, grab their body and chuck it into a flaming barrel, or rack them up on a spiked wall known as the Rose Bush. You can get a pretty good score just for repeating that, but a good combination of things will get you more points.

So, besides weapons like Chainsaws and bats with spikes, you can use the environment to damage your enemy. Almost anything can be used as a weapon, so it gets you thinking quite a lot. There are also tasks known as Blood Bath Challenges, which are just priceless. For example, the first sets you outside an airplane turbine and you have to throw as many enemies as possible into it during a time period. The extra funny thing is that for each challenge, the same character introduces it and gets killed by it. Talk about irony…although I don’t really understand how he can keep coming back, it’s not worth getting angry about; maybe he has a Kenny complex.
The motion controls for MadWorld are damn near perfect, although I would have loved to wait till the MotionPlus add-on arrived to see if that added any extra depth to it. Ah well, maybe a sequel might implement it? Based on how the game plays and how much fun it is, I would be shocked if it didn’t happen. It’s just so satisfying to swing the remote around to throw an enemy into a moving train or the rose bush, there are other ways of killing your foes…but I wouldn’t want to spoil the rest for you, it has to be seen to be believed.

There’s something addictive about MadWorld, even though the level design is linear and repeats a pattern of building up a score, doing Blood Bath Challenges and the inevitable boss battles. For some reason, I can’t put it down. There is local multiplayer included for 2 players, but it only offers you trying to outdo each other’s scores for the Blood Bath Challenges. It’s a small shame that it didn’t offer more than that, and the lack of online is a real kick to the nuts. It’s a game that’s dying to be played online.

The good thing about MadWorld is that the motion controls don’t require 100% accuracy and will let you off the hook, as long as you’re doing near enough the motion they ask you to. It helps when it comes down to quicktime events like ramming your enemy back and forth between the rose bush, as if it picked up on inaccuracies, the combo maybe could have ended or something. It’s great to see that anyone can play it…well, as long as they are over 18.
MadWorld is incredibly gory, but in a nice graphic novel sense. The visuals are in black and white, which is a strange look for most (me included) but once I got past it, I can see that it simply wouldn’t work with any other type of style, but luckily blood is still nice and red. Background music during levels adds to the game’s tension and gets you in the mood for killing, while the announcers talk in the background as you stick a signpost through an enemy’s head. The announcers can be annoying sometimes, but I found them to be quite funny for the most part. There is an option to turn them off though, which could be a blessing to those who are irritated quite easily.

If I have one major complaint about MadWorld (other than the game not being in 480p) it’s that it can become repetitive after a while, which is inevitable in its design. It doesn’t affect my enjoyment of it, but there are times where I do realise I’m doing the same thing over and over, although I’m always looking for new and better ways to kill people, in the game that is…

The Verdict

The Wii needs more games like MadWorld. Its visual style is unique, the game plays like a dream and it’s pretty different to most games out there. Sure, it’s violent…so kids should avoid this, but us older gamers should enjoy chucking enemies through airplane turbines.