MadWorld is the definition of Grindhouse gaming, inspired as much by movie directors such as Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez as games gone by. With striking monochrome visuals spattered with gobbets of gore and enough violence to keep the tabloids in column inches for the next sixth months, it’s by far the most stylish Wii game to date. But beneath the gory facade is a staggeringly simple concept.
The first surprise is that the game’s huge amounts of gore are backed up by a surprisingly sophisticated plot. Basically, our man Jack is infiltrating a city in the grip of a terrorist attack-come-gameshow in which the citizens are forced to kill to stay alive. More surprising still is just how straight faced the characters manage to stay in the face of such riotous, over the top nonsense. And we mean nonsense in the best possible way, of course.
The core of the gameplay involves extreme violence doled out with simple button presses and gestures, but meat is added by the challenging points-based system. It’s this that transforms the game from a straightforward Streets of Rage style brawler into a sadomasochist’s playground where every action is scored, and higher scores unlock more and more challenges.
Naturally, Jack is capable of turning crazies into sandwich paste with fists alone, but the resulting mess results in only slight point increases. Effectively, you can bludgeon your way slowly through the game with one button kills and the occasional wave of the Wii-mote, but as with the best games of its type, MadWorld encourages creativity. Bloody, horrible, stomach-churning creativity. Each stage is littered with new and bizarre ways to dismember and destroy.