Review: Muscle March
It’s easy to look at Muscle March and yell out “this game is mad Japanese” right away. And well, you have every right to say that. This game is mad Japanese in every sense of the word, but much like other “mad Japanese” games out there, it’s hard to see much longevity in it.
Muscle March is about bodybuilders chasing some person who stole their vitamin supplements. They chase them through the streets of a busy city, a bamboo forest and for some reason… space. The basic concept is that as you chase down this person who stole your vitamins, they bash through walls in a certain pose and you must match the pose to follow.
Each pose consists of different combinations of arm positions and are done with the Wiimote and Nunchuck. They both represent an arm and you must either raise or lower each one to make the proper pose. They’re very simple combinations such as left up, right down and so forth. You have symbols representing your stamina — which are basically lives — and when you do an incorrect pose, you lose one till you get a game over.
As you make the proper poses, the other bodybuilders get laid out because they didn’t pose properly. Once all the other bodybuilders are gone, you begin the chase with the thief. As other body builders get smashed away, the game goes faster and faster. So once it’s just you and the thief, the game is moving very quickly. At certain intervals, you will get your chance to catch the thief by a classic waggle of the Wiimote and Nunchuck. You’re given a short time to catch him so you must waggle as fast as you can. If you fail, then you must repeat the process of posing and waggling. Once you succeed, all other bodybuilders will pile on the thief and you pass the stage.
There are three stages to choose from and three sub-stages in each one. Each stage has their own thief you must catch until the third stage, which happens to always be the same thief in every stage. The first two stages are fairly easy to get past, but the last one is far more of a challenge than the other two. Aptly named Mecha Muscle, he is one bad ass dude who rolls around on a skateboard. Which, automatically, should make him a challenge. The speed gets ridiculously fast and matching the right pose against Mecha Muscle can almost come down to the last second.
The simple gameplay would get boring fast were it not for the crazy visuals going on. As I said, this is a mad Japanese game, so you see these bodybuilders (including a panda) running around the streets in speedos (or bikinis) chasing after some person who stole their vitamin supplements. Mecha Muscle himself wears some sort of blue spandex with a helmet as you chase him on his skateboard. There is also a bunch of crazy stuff going on in the background, and watching your guy run around in space is weird in its own right.
And as crazy as the visuals are, the music is just as crazy with some weird J-Pop music accompanying you throughout the game. It totally fits the mood, and as the game gets faster, so does the music.
As crazy as all that stuff is, at some point you stop and think about this game as, well… a game. Once you do, everything becomes a bit too routine. And it happened to me while I was trying to chase Mr. Mecha Muscle. For one, the way you eliminate the other body builders from the chase may seem random at first, but it just comes down to stringing combos together, or in Muscle March’s case, keeping the streak going. Your main goal in Muscle March is to make the proper pose to pass through the wall. Once you build up a streak, the person in front of you is removed, and the next and the next.
Once you do start to process this game as a game, everything seems a bit stale. It becomes more about waiting to chain together the right amount of combos so the person ahead of you gets eliminated till you finally face off against the awesomeness that is Mecha Muscle.
Probably the big saving grace out of all of this is that the game is only five bucks. So even if you do only end up playing this game for one day, it’s at a reasonable price to be okay with it. Muscle March is fun, no doubt. And it’s also crazy mad Japanese. You can question the longevity of the game, but for the price its offering, you can’t really go wrong.
|Publishers:||Namco Bandai Games Inc.|