Alice: Madness Returns Review

29 June 2011
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Alice Madness Returns Review Screenshot
In our Alice: Madness Returns review we discuss that Alice returns to us madder than a march hare in the latest mind bending look at life beyond the looking-glass. But has Alice lost the plot or is this just the right kind of crazy we’ve been waiting for?

Developer: Spicy Horse
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Designer: American McGee
Platforms: Microsoft Windows PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release dates: NA June 14, 2011, EU June 16, 2011
Genres: Action-adventure, Platform
Modes: Single-player
Ratings: BBFC: 15, ESRB: M, PEGI: 18

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  • Alice: Madness Returns takes place immediately after the events of its predecessor. Alice was released from Rutledge Asylum for the Wayward and Lost Souls at the end of the original game and now lives at an orphanage in Victorian London under the care of a psychiatrist named Doctor Angus Bumby, where she is still traumatized with memories of her parents’ deaths. While heading to a Highstreet chemist, Alice follows a cat to an alley, where, after being confronted by monstrous half-human, half-Jabberwock creatures, she meets up with Nurse Witless from the asylum. Witless implies that Alice has revealed secrets about her family’s demise while in the asylum and believes Alice is still very unstable. While at Witless’s place, Alice suddenly has a vision of her appearing in Wonderland and the Cheshire Cat appears and tells Alice a new law reigns on Wonderland.

    Let’s take a trip to Wonderland in this video review.

    Key features of Alice: Madness Returns include:

  • Fall into the rabbit hole that is Alice’s insanity – Follow Alice back to her private paradise to discover a Wonderland corrupted by the darkest recesses of the mind.
  • Alice escapes to Wonderland, seeking refuge from the brutal streets of London, but there are those in Wonderland who seek to cause Alice harm. With an arsenal of unusual weapons, including the legendary Vorpal Blade, Alice is far from defenseless.
  • From the Mad Hatter to the Red Queen, Wonderland?s most famous residents are back, but some may not be as you remember them. Return to Wonderland to see what has become of its most prominent denizens when chaos is all that reigns.
  • Let’s score the game:

    Graphics: 8

    So from the off Alice is a beautiful game to look at its style takes on many forms from the amazing underwater worlds through to the red Queens blood soaked heart level it is as disturbing as it is amazing to look at.

    Some sections of the game do find themselves looking a little repetitive but this is more an issue of the level design and not as much the graphical look.

    Overall though, the feeling of impending loss of sanity is felt through some of the most fantastic looking levels and cutscenes to come around in a long time. A gem to watch.

    Gameplay: 6

    OK so call me crazy, no pun intended, but I did find a lot of Alice very stale. Gameplay-wise that’s not to say it’s bad, but neither is it as enjoyable as it could be.

    Enemies come in a variety of flavors and some will require a small amount of strategy to take down but mostly things are solved by letting loose with a pepper grinder (that doubles as a mini-gun) leaving most battles feeling exactly the same and rather under whelming.

    Puzzle-wise some reviewers found themselves stuck all the time and cited this as one of the reasons they didn’t enjoy Alice, but to counter that I found almost no real presence of a challenge in any of the puzzles set out by the game… shift a few blocks around to match up a poster, or maybe use a bomb to hold down a platform while you make your way across the timed zone. I think it was the sheer simplicity of Alice that gets many a modern gamer stuck, people expect a grand solution when it’s really as simple as: pull the lever, open the gate, jump, run, done; leaving the puzzle element rather lacking.

    Platforming is one of the main aspects of Alice. You’ll often find huge chasm’s that need to be crossed. Luckily Alice is not lacking in that department with a very old school Jump and Glide mechanic Alice is able to manoeuvre herself around the huge levels with relative ease.

    Sound: 7

    Moody, disturbing and generally frightening is a nice round-up of the emotions that this score will put you through. Each level has a soundtrack that runs deep and makes sense. A joy to listen to.


    So everything said and the scores wrapped up on the whole I give Alice: Madness Returns a very crazy 8 with the inclusion of the first game in HD for free. A huge warped world and more enemies than you could throw pepper at, Alice has been mental fun.


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    • Alice looks fun enough, but like Leia mentioned, there are others that are starting to feel neglected.

    • Alice looks fun enough, but like Leia mentioned, there are others that are starting to feel neglected.

    • Alice looks fun enough, but like Leia mentioned, there are others that are starting to feel neglected.

    • Alice looks fun enough, but like Leia mentioned, there are others that are starting to feel neglected.

    • Alice looks fun enough, but like Leia mentioned, there are others that are starting to feel neglected.

    • Alice looks fun enough, but like Leia mentioned, there are others that are starting to feel neglected.

    • Ryan_giles

       I loved this game, looked really good for the most part and was fun. Story and some of the little movies were just creepy.

    • Hunty73

      Just wanted to say a big THANKYOU Rob for your review on Alice.Id been out of gaming a while,hell i remember Jet Set Willy on the ZX Spectrum:),but got myself a PS3 and a few games.Really liked the look of this and read a few reviews that slated it.Then stumbled on yours.Yours made me buy it and im sooooooo glad i did.Your review was spot on.Really nailed the game.I think its a wonderfull game,real escapism,a joy to play and watch,and i love it.On the doll house now.THANKYOU for such great reviews and il be reading all your thoughts on games from now on.You know your stuff sir,


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