You know, there are some days when I’m sure that my good friend Tyto secretly hates me with a burning passion. One of these occurred right after he released his manliest review to date, Overcompensating with the Owl in the Rafters, and he proposed a rather… unique game for me to review based on the subject matter. That game: Muscle March. What. The. Eff.
At first I was totally dismissive of this concept, as the game looked, for lack of better term, insane. A game where you played as a ridiculously muscular guy striking poses is not exactly my regular cup of tea. But then, I saw this. Needless to say, when I finally finished laughing and managed to pick myself up off the floor, I had changed my mind. After all, what was five bucks for a punch in the face from Zeus?
The game is rather straightforward, and as such there’s not much (cough*any) story behind it. The premise is simple, you play as one of seven muscle maniacs (well, six if you don’t count my favorite character, the bear) as you chase down someone who has committed the unforgivable sin of stealing your Muscle March muscle building formula. As such it is up to you along with three of your muscle building brethren to give chase to these thieves and recover what is rightfully yours. Not exactly Shakespeare, but it’s an amusing enough premise and it gives the game an excuse to continue so I’m going to give it a pass.
And that brings us to the game play, which is simultaneously so simple a child could do it and yet so incredibly frustrating towards the end that it’s unbelievable. Simply put, the thieves in front of you strike one of four different poses before they break through the walls in front of them and you must match their pose so that you can continue pursuit. Hit the wall five times and you have to start the chase over. Forgetting the fact that your characters are giant walls of muscle that should no problem bursting through these walls regardless, it’s actually a fun excuse to pose like an idiot as you test your reaction times. When you finally manage to catch up with the thief you need to flail your Wiimote in a running motion to finally tackle the would-be thief. Depending upon your speed of flailing this will take between one to three attempts to finally catch and tackle them.
There are three stages in which to chase down the thieves, each of which can be divided up into three chases of increasing difficulty. The first two chases aren’t too bad, as even without any practice I was able to break through them with relative ease. But the final chase against Mecha Muscle is nearly impossible, as when you combine the delay between the Wiimote picking up your movements and the small window for making the pose in time you’re pretty much screwed from the beginning. My friend seems to think that changing up my cables from standard RCA to component should give me a better reaction window, but I have yet to try this for myself. Definitely worth trying if you’re interesting in actually clearing the stages and not just getting a personal high score.
The game also has an endless mode which can have anywhere from one to four players, where you and your friends can compete to see how long you can last as the speed of the incoming walls continuously increases. It’s a fun time waster, though personally I found it a bit difficult to convince my friends to play due to the strange nature of this title. And really, how can I blame them? The character design is preposterous with its strange fascination with muscle builders, which when combined with the colorful backgrounds full of random background characters and objects give the game a distinctly Japanese feel. One comment I received was that the game backgrounds were one of the most interesting parts of the game, as all of the background noise kept the stages interesting as you rushed through them, and I can definitely see where they’re coming from. The game’s graphics are actually very nice considering the nature of the game, so no complaints there.
The game’s audio is pretty cool as well, as it combines a fairly upbeat set of tracks with increasing tempo as the chase speeds up. It adds a level of excitement to the chase as the closer you get to the guy in front of you the faster the song plays. Through in some simple yet effective background noises for when you crash through the walls and strike your poses and the whole thing is fairly amusing to listen to.
Looking the whole thing over, it’s hard to deny that this is a weird game. But it’s also a fun, extremely amusing little game that can prove to be a fun time waster either when you’re alone or when you’re with friends. And while it is a rather simplistic game this is counterbalanced by the fact that it is only 500 Wii points or five dollars. If you have a few extra points left over from a Wii points card or are just looking for a quirky game to add to your Wii collection then I strongly recommend checking this one out. I had a blast playing it and if you have a strange sense of humor like I do then I’m sure you will as well.
So that was an interesting change of pace, looking at a downloadable title as opposed to a full game. Are you guys interested in looking at more games like this, strange WiiWare titles that pique your interest but you’re not entirely sure about? Let me know what you think in the comments, and feel free to suggest other strange titles for me to try out for you in the future.