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Muscle March review

With everything from biceps to penguins to aliens, there's something for everyone in Muscle March.
With everything from biceps to penguins to aliens, there's something for everyone in Muscle March.
Namco Bandai

Words cannot do Muscle March justice. This game is one of, if not the strangest game available on WiiWare. It has its fair share of flaws, but there is certain appeal to the title, and at 500 Wii Points, it’s certainly worth the download.

Everything about the game is just bizarre. In the game, you play as a body builder- you choose one of seven. Our heroes include five male body builders, one female body builder and, of course, a polar bear in a swimsuit. The body builders were minding their own business when a villainous crook- be it a running back or a pair of rabbit creatures or an alien- step forward to steal their protein powder. As a response, the body builders chase across the city, Edo and even outer space to get it back.

Why? The answer is simple- why not? Muscle March is one of those quirky Japanese games that is just fun to play. While you give chase, the thieves bust through walls making one of four poses- both arms up, both arms down, left arm up and right arm down or left arm down and right arm up. You must match this pose, or else you run into the wall. Run into the wall five times, and you must give up your chase, letting the villain get away with your protein powder, and nobody wants that.

It’s a simple concept that creates a surprising difficult game. During the last portion of each level, you need lightning fast reflexes to match the poses- it really is hard to catch the thief. There is a little bit of luck involved- you pose by moving the Wiimote and nunchuck into the corresponding condition, and while generally responsive, the game doesn’t always accurately read your position.

This does not break the game. It is still playable, and it is still beatable, but you might encounter some frustration along the way. There also isn’t exactly a lot going on- there are only four poses, and the gameplay is a bit shallow and repetitive.

The graphics and sounds of the game complement the oddness quite well. You have surprising catchy J-Pop tunes playing as you give chase, and they speed up as the level progress, much like your body builder. The body builders and thieves are 3D, and many of the characters you pass on the streets on in the space station of 2D. They react accordingly to scantily-clad body builders running through their office, village or library, and these responses can be quite amusing.

It can be tough to pay attention to while playing the game, but if you’re watching someone else play, you get to see the full insanity of this game. Muscle March is one of those games that is actually fun to watch, much like a Katamari Damacy. It really has to be seen to be believed.

There are three stages and an endless mode to the game. The stages aren’t horribly long, and this does limit the replay value, but it is fun to go back and experience the insanity on multiple occasions. There is also a multiplayer mode- up to four players can join the body builders as they run in the endless mode.

Muscle March is easy to recommend, but it is a quirky, niche title that is not for everyone. Players looking for a unique, bizarre gameplay experience can find some amusement. It is a funny, quirky game, but with its fair share of flaws: shallow, repetitive gameplay and motion controls that don’t always respond properly. The concept and strange sense of humor are what carries this game, and they are enough to justify the $5 purchase.

Score: 7 out of 10


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