Alice: Madness Returns is a sequel to American McGee’s Alice released June 14, 2011 by the developer Spicy Horse and published by EA for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. It was made on the Unreal Engine 3 and is rated M for Mature.
As a lover of horror games, I jumped at the chance to have a game based around one of my favorite literature stories: Alice in Wonderland. When I picked up the box the first thing that caught my attention was that it was labeled an ‘adventure horror platformer.’ I’m notoriously bad at platformers. But that was never a problem in this game. This game’s platforming elements were not anger inducing, and they never felt forced. It made sense that Alice was jumping around in Wonderland, and even the portions where you control her sliding down beanstalks and other things, it controls well.
The fighting portions are also well controlled. They can get nerve-wracking, but when doesn’t any fighting portion? There are multiple different weapons to use, and they all fit into this horror Alice in Wonderland themed world. The main weapon is The Vorpal Blade- which is exactly what is in the Alice lore. It keeps true to the literature, but adapts it enough to make this a new interesting and wonderful story.
The story is what originally brought me to this game, and it didn’t disappoint me. While I can’t go into much detail without spoiling everything, the story is gripping and once you finish you notice all these little clues that hint everything that happens in the end. There are also things called Memories that you can collect to learn more of the back story of what happened to cause Alice’s madness and got her sent to Rutledge Asylum.
This launch trailer shows a large portion of what I’m mentioning here, as well as some other things!
The first game is good within it’s own light, but the controls and graphics are dated as of now. There is an option to download the first game through both PSN and Xbox Live. The controls are wonky, and it doesn’t run nearly as smooth as the sequel, however. You won’t miss a lot of the story either, thanks to the Memories that are scattered throughout the game. If you played it while it was recent, you will enjoy the continuation of the story. But, I don’t recommend getting it unless you really love the story and are prepared to deal with the buggy controls.
This game supports both trophies and achievements. There’s trophies that range from the typical pick-up-this-weapon kind, to ones that are harder to get such as collect all the aforementioned Memories. There are a few of these collect all styled trophies, but for example, the trophy Seasoned Campaigner for peppering all the snouts, are not difficult to achieve. This trophy has 59 snouts, which sounds overwhelming but the most in one chapter is six making it more fun, and easier, to obtain than it sounds.
Some of the other trophies make use of the interesting weapon system in this game. You upgrade using teeth in Hollow Yves (the name of the bow on Alice’s dress). The teeth of your enemies that drop whenever you fight them. That isn’t the most frightening thing in this game, but keep in mind that this platformer is not meant for the kiddies as it is rated M. One look at The Cheshire Cat will tell you that for sure.Anyways, these teeth upgrade the power and lessen kickback for example through level systems. There are also dresses/costumes that you can have Alice wear which upgrade the amount of teeth dropped, as well as other benefits (besides looking completely awesome). It doesn’t take much to upgrade completely either, as I upgraded mine with a playthrough and replaying two chapters to get more of the other collectibles.
Overall, this game is a wonderful game that took the platforming genre that a lot of horror fans like myself run from and make it fun and interesting with a detailed story that will keep your attention, a unique leveling system, and platforming that actually makes sense.