Just how weird do you like your games? If you answered “batcrap crazy weird,” then I’ve got a game for you. Muscle March is the latest Japanese import from Namco Bandai and you probably couldn’t make up a stranger game if you tried. While the premise and visuals are delightfully quirky, the game itself is ultimately too shallow to really dig into. Add in some motion controls that don’t always work and you’ve got a game that looks like more fun than it really is.
Muscle March stars a merry band of Herculean weightlifters in speedos. Thieves keep stealing your protein powder and you and your fellow muscle men have to chase each one down through city streets, wilderness areas, and even outer space. In order to try and lose you, the thieves will run through walls and if you don’t mimic the exact pose they used when crashing through you’ll be tripped up. At the start of a level a long single-file line of posers will be chasing the thief but after being picked off one by one it’ll be just you and the bandit for a final showdown.
Muscle March is, unfortunately, more fun to watch than it is to play. While onlookers get to enjoy the hilarious animations, the bizarre scenery, and the overload of colors whizzing by, the player has to deal with the wonky waggle controls and shallow mechanics. There are only four possible poses, and after one level you’ll have experienced all the game has to offer — except for the new environments, of course, but you really can’t enjoy them while playing because you’re fixated on your next pose.
Like any waggle-based game you’ll find Muscle March’s controls to be unresponsive at times. Your meat head will move his arms when you don’t and other times refuse to follow your commands. At the end of each level you have to vigorously shake the remote and nunchuk in order to catch up to and tackle the thief and it is pretty frustrating that you can fail even when really exerting yourself. It would have been great if the option to use button combinations instead of gesture controls were included.
This is the sort of game you’ll drag out when you have friends over, so while you’re at it you might want to check out the hotseat multiplayer mode for up to four muscle men.
Muscle March is definitely good for a laugh and the giggles you get might be worth the $5 price tag. But the person playing will not have as much fun as the people watching. The game is kiddie pool shallow and the motion controls can be unresponsive. Still, it’s definitely got a lot of quirky charm and there certainly isn’t anything else like it on any system. It may not be a complete success, but I am glad this game exists.