Sunday, 26 May 2024

Alice: Madness Returns

Even the most passionate fans of the mischievous action game from the 2000s, American McGee’s Alice, will acknowledge that it was more famous for its creative twist on Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice in Wonderland than for being an exceptionally good game. However, Alice: Madness Returns, the sequel, maintains the first game’s fantastic art style, and we are eager to see if the gameplay has improved.

Familiar Yet Refreshing

During a recent live demo of Madness Returns, I couldn’t help but notice its similarity to the original game. The gameplay oscillates between simple platforming and combat against twisted card knights, insects, and other bizarre creatures. Fortunately, the platforming segments I witnessed seemed easier compared to the original Alice, which had its fair share of frustrating and imprecise jumping.

Nightmarish Weapons and Improved Combat

Alice will wield four primary weapons, each a nightmarish version of a real-world item. For ranged attacks, a pepper grinder turns into a rapid-fire machine gun, while the teapot cannon unleashes a slower but more powerful area-of-effect shot. If you prefer close combat, Alice can use the vorpal blade, which returns from the first game, or a hopping horse reimagined as a giant club. Additionally, Alice can throw down clockwork rabbit mines.

The combat in Madness Returns feels faster and more fluid than in the first Alice game. With Alice’s ranged weapons capable of overheating, players are encouraged to engage in melee combat and switch frequently, rather than relying solely on long-range attacks. And as the game progresses, Alice collects a rather disturbing yet intriguing resource to upgrade her weaponry: teeth.

A Dark and Engaging Storyline

Madness Returns features a grim narrative in which Alice alternates between brief segments in Victorian England, where she attempts to unravel the mystery behind her family’s brutal murder, and an increasingly twisted version of Wonderland. In the Wonderland portions, she collects memories that slowly unveil the mystery from the real world. Each memory provides a different clue, ranging from short dialogue clips to fully playable visions.

Unforgettable Set Piece Moments

Aside from the regular platforming and combat, Madness Returns includes special set piece moments that add excitement to the gameplay. During the demo, I witnessed Alice being confronted by the Executioner, a giant joker card wielding a massive scythe, in the midst of a maze garden. Unable to face him directly, Alice must flee, Crash Bandicoot-style, while avoiding obstacles as the Executioner relentlessly pursues her, spinning his weapon in a deadly circle. But all hope isn’t lost – if Alice manages to find some cake and survive long enough, she grows larger than the Executioner, allowing her to defeat him with a single stomp.

Immerse Yourself in a Dark and Detailed World

Based on this hands-off demo, it’s still difficult to fully grasp the overall experience of Alice: Madness Returns. However, one thing is clear – the art remains the star of the show. While it may not be the most visually stunning game in terms of pure graphics quality, the attention to detail is awe-inspiring. From ominous cards flying through the environment to giant red portals spinning in the sky to gnarled vines and crooked walkways sprouting from the ground, the world is meticulously crafted, captivating players at every turn.

Anticipating the Release

With the first Alice game, the stunning world design compensated for its somewhat lackluster gameplay. From what we’ve seen of Madness Returns, it appears to be a step up, but the true verdict awaits until we get our hands on the game. Fortunately, the wait shouldn’t be long, as Alice: Madness Returns is set to release in June.


  • Q: When will Alice: Madness Returns be released?
    A: Alice: Madness Returns is set to be released in June.

  • Q: What primary weapons can Alice use in combat?
    A: Alice can wield four primary weapons: pepper grinder, teapot cannon, vorpal blade, and a hopping horse club.

  • Q: What can Alice collect in Wonderland to upgrade her weaponry?
    A: Alice must collect teeth, a rather disturbing yet intriguing resource, to upgrade her weapons.


Alice: Madness Returns promises to captivate players with its stunning art style, improved combat mechanics, and engaging storyline. Despite the similarities to its predecessor, the game offers refreshing elements and a meticulous attention to detail in its dark and twisted world. Fans of the original game, as well as newcomers to the series, have much to look forward to when Alice: Madness Returns hits the shelves in June.

Visit Wqaindia for more gaming news and updates.