“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare
This Way Madness Lies is no ordinary game. Dear Reader, bear with me, as we take a journey that may twist the mind and at the end, you may consider me mad or mad yourself.
In this game, you play as a group of Magical Girls, similar to what you’d find in Sailor Moon. These high school girls love Shakespeare and put on his plays whenever they can. And when they are not doing that, they spend time together, have fun, and sometimes defend the Shakespeare Multiverse. Each story scene is presented as like a scene in a play. The curtain opens and closes and then next thing you know…the girls are in a world based on a play by the bard. The girls in the game also talk to the player once and awhile too. This is a strange game reader but it is a fun one.
In the real world and in the Shakespeare multiverse, the girls will fight Lovecraftian horrors and defend the likes of Romeo and Juliet and even other versions of themselves. The combat is much like what you’d find in a retro jrpg. There are abilities and traits to be upgraded and items to find. The battles move at a pretty quick pace and they can be as hard or easy as you want because of the game’s multiple difficulties. The game has excellent controls and it feels perfectly at home on the Nintendo Switch.
This Way Madness Lies is a unique game that won’t be for everyone. The game clearly loves Shakespeare but isn’t afraid to make fun of the situation. The humor is delightful. This whole game is delightful. It has very nice graphics too.
Hark! The visuals are the play and the play is the thing. That’s sort of a Shakespeare reference for those of you who don’t know…
This Way Madness Lies has graphics that are one part retro jrpg and one part Sailor Moon. It wears its anime inspiration on its sleeve as much as its Shakespearean inspiration. This is a good looking game. By the way, you can totally skip the Sailor Moon transformations if you want. I know I did! Though be forewarned, you will be accused of kicking puppies. Well, I always preferred cats anyway.
Oh and the game’s audio is completely insane as the rest of the game. What is that opening music even? I don’t know but it fits the game well. This Way Madness Lies is a very good game.
I have no idea what Shakespeare would think of this game dear reader. Perhaps he would think it mad and try to deny he had anything to do with it or running screaming into the night or perhaps Shakespeare would’ve loved this game. No, its a question that we will never know the answer to. Though, I can tell you what I think of this game…
This Way Madness Lies is a great game. It mixes and matches so many different influences: from Shakespeare to retro jrpgs to anime to visual novels to…oh heavens, I do not know what else. This game is crazy. It won’t be for everyone. Its humor is bizarre and so very wonderful. The gameplay is fun and the multiple choices during the story give it room for multiple replays.
If you have a sense of humor and you love Shakespeare, then you will likely enjoy this game. You may even like it if you haven’t heard of the bard. Wait?! You haven’t heard of Shakespeare! Where do you live?! Anyway, this game can teach you somewhat about him while entertaining you. This Way Madness Lies isn’t for everyone but reader, we are not sure we want to meet the person who doesn’t like this game. Get thee to the eshop!
Thanks to Robert Boyd for providing a digital code for this review. This Way Madness Lies is available now on the Nintendo Switch eshop!
“Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.” Hamlet, William Shakespeare