I managed to play about half of the game before it decided to freeze, screw up on my computer and overall, stop working, as I bought a dodgy version of the game overseas. However, I think playing half the game already gives a good enough insight to review it (but maybe not the best) so sorry if you find my review rather lacking. By the way, this game can also be played on PS3 and X-Box.
You’re probably thinking Alice: Madness Returns is based on Alice in Wonderland. But it actually doesn’t follow the well-known storyline of the book or any of the movies, which made it more awesome.
Anyway, Alice is an RPG, platform game, mainly set in the main character’s mind, which turns out to be a dark, bloody and surprisingly rational. The Wonderland, which is Alice Liddell’s mind, has been mangled into a dark and demonic travesty, filled with torturous hallucinations. But you discover that the real world isn’t any sunnier. This is definitely creative and the creepy visuals give the game a twisted and surreal vibe, drawing you into a land inhabited by angry looking, crawling teapots, squirming leeches and so on. You actually play as Alice, who is losing her mind after a fire, and you go in and out of Wonderland, trying to fix the broken world that she’s created in her mind.
It’s a continuation from another game called, American McGee’s Alice, which I have never played before, but if you start from Alice, instead of McGee’s you’ll catch on with the storyline pretty quickly.
Being a girl, I really loved the outfits that Alice wore for each chapter. They were all really different to each other and were based on the surroundings, and I found them creative.
London Dress (first from the left): The outfit that Alice wears in the real word. It’s dreary and colourless, but it definitely suits the surroundings – nothing special, but it’s not like you expect it to be fancy or anything when you discover her backstory.
Classic Dress: The renowned blue dress with the white apron, except the game designers have added black and white stripy socks, boots and some blood on her apron. It actually looks pretty badass when you add the vorpal blade in her hand, as seen on the cover of the game.
Steamdress: It’s inspired by the Mad Hatter’s love of all things mechanical and steamy, as in that chapter, Alice goes into his domain to put him back together as favour.
Siren Dress: It’s based on organic materials found at the bottom of the ocean. I actually found this dress really pretty, and it’s probably by favourite outfit that Alice wore, but that could be because it glowed, LOL.
So the following dresses after that, I didn’t get to unlock as that’s when my computer screwed up, but then Google happened.
Silk Maiden Dress: I guess it must be an expensive dress as it’s made of silk.
Royal Suit Dress: Obviously based on the Queen of Hearts
Misstitched Dress: Apparently inspired by a doll
You discover that Alice has a number of abilities that become rather useful later in the game. She can do things such as, quadruple jumping, which ultimately allows Alice to cover more terrain, and it’s useful when platforms are far apart. Also, after a double-jump, Alice can glide in the air for a few seconds which helps in landing at the correct destination, although I didn’t use the glide much as I didn’t come to much use for me. Shrinking is actually an extremely useful power that Alice has. It allows Alice to shrink into a fraction of her size so she can fit through small tunnels since a lot of items are hidden behind a keyhole and such, dodging enemy attacks and revealing invisible paths and directions that helps point Alice in the right direction is also just from shrinking. Alice can also dodge which makes her disappear and leave a trail of butterflies then appear again. There’s also ‘embiggening’ (didn’t get to discover, stupid dodgy version), which makes Alice become gigantic and cause a shitload of damage.
What I also love about the game is that Alice has several different types of weapons and abilities that help her fight the baddies of Wonderland.
Vorpal Blade: The primary melee weapon and really good against a single enemy as it’s very swift in combat.
Pepper Grinder: The primary ranged weapon. It’s like a machine gun, and super useful for long ranged stuff which is definitely needed as you have to season pig snouts and clocks to reveal more paths.
(Alice using a pepper grinder for more than just seasoning her supper)
Hobby Horse: A powerful, heavy-hitting, hammer-like melee weapon, used to inflict great damage. The only bad thing about that is it’s slow, but the combo you can do with this weapon is pretty amazing.
(Hobby Horse in action in The Pit)
Clockwork Bomb: A small ticking rabbit (think white rabbit), that acts as a bomb. It’s pretty good for distracting enemies, especially in the second chapter (I think), and it’s also good for platforming puzzles.
Teapot Cannon: A heavyweight ranged weapon and blasts enemies with balls of hot tea, which aims to inflict greater damage.
Umbrella: Alice also gets hold of an umbrella, which turns out to be a shield – very useful, if used correctly. I admit I had trouble with this when I first used the umbrella, but I managed to figure out that the item is only useful for blocking attacks in the first few seconds it’s whipped out and spinning.
Hysteria: This is only activated when Alice is almost out of health, and she’s just about to die. She enters this black and white Hysteria mode and she becomes crazed with blood running down her eyes and lips. Well, below you can see for yourself. Anyway what’s really great about Hysteria is that Alice can’t be harmed and does a shitload more damage and her weapons don’t run out of ammo. The only catch is that once the enemy is defeated, they won’t drop Teeth, which is required to upgrade weapons, but that didn’t really matter for me as later in the game, you’ll manage to get your hands on more Teeth, so it’s not a massive loss.
(Alice in Hysteria mode)
So what’s also really good about the game is the well-written, solid character that Alice is. She’s witty, sharp-minded and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. Furthermore, it comes with a pretty good soundtrack that can get you pretty spooked out if you turn your speakers up loud enough. The storyline manages to entertain and along the way confuse you and it’s loads of fun to play. The lives are unlimited so you’ll just keep on coming back to life, but you’ll just go back to a checkpoint. This was really useful for me because , well, I suck. Also the Cheshire Cat has a voice like Alan Rickman the more you listen to it, LOL, which actually turned out to be my favourite character, but I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a cat…
The controlling is practically effortless as it’s super smooth and when you’re attacking an enemy, press tab, and your screen locks on the enemy. However, if it’s multiple enemies that are attacking you then it may not be as useful as it only locks on one enemy, but I guess if you kill the enemy quick enough you can lock your screen onto the next one, which is what I did. Facing multiple enemy types at once is actually really fun once Alice has collected her complete arsenal, because you end up using your entire weapon collection in a single battle, making it more challenging. The graphics are correspondingly outstanding, and turned out to be pretty impressive platform game.
The bad things are the repetitiveness and there was no boss fights at the end of each chapter. I mean there is a baddy to fight at the end of each chapter but they’re not bosses because they appear again later in other chapters.
If you like Alice in Wonderland I recommend this game. For me, I’m a Disney classic lover so when I played it, I enjoyed it a lot, and now I can’t wait to buy a legit version of the game so I can finish playing the game on my computer. The thought of buying the game makes me so excited I can’t even explain it.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10