|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Namco Bandai||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Namco Bandai||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 18, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
In addition to the single-player portion (Muscle March), there's a multiplayer component for up to four players called Endless Rush. It's an hot-seat affair where you pass a single set of controllers around, and each player takes turns racking up as many poses and combos as possible. It's kind of a shame there's no split-screen option, but Endless Rush is still a nice feature that is sure to elicit a few laughs at parties and such.
On the production side of things, Muscle March is wonderfully bad. The textures are all very low-res, often pixelated, and the animations are deliberately overdone. Though the body builders are each cut, exhibiting a decent level of detail, background characters are represented by flat models that are a muddy mess when seen up close. The framerate, however, moves along without a snag, keeping the gameplay flowing at a steady pace. Giraffes, polar bears, and an assortment of other whacky tributes to Japanese excess are flaunted proudly here, and it's simply impossible to not be won over by the game's imaginative personality.
The music consists of a small selection of bubblegum J-pop, and it, too, makes a wonderful match for the gameplay and presentation of Muscle March. As chases ramp up to a fevered pitch, the music also speeds up, giving the songs' vocals a Chipmunks-like sound that's simply delightful. The sound effects also fit the bill quite nicely, though again, we're a bit disappointed by the lack of rumble feedback, something that's kind of essential for this style of arcade gameplay.
So, who should buy Muscle March? At 500 Wii Points and an E10+ ESRB rating, it's really a game everyone and anyone can enjoy. Keep in mind it's a novelty - nothing more. You might find yourself addicted to it for a short while, but you'll likely lose interest after that. Obviously, though, it's an endearing conversation piece that is sure to bring some life to a party. The visuals are bad, the music is saccharine sweet, and the controls are almost broken. This, however, is one of those rare cases where a game's warts are also its best features. "He ain't heavy, he's my brother."
CCC Freelance Writer