Oh, Namco, whatís the point? It barely even seems worth making the game. Ace Combat? Fine, very few people will have the opportunity to take to the sky in an F-16 and dogfight. Tales of Vesperia? Sure, how else would one be able to save the entire world from evil? But Muscle March? Surely this is something everyone experiences every day? It barely even seems worth making the game.
So, youíre body-building in the gym like normal, when all of a sudden an American football player bursts in and makes a run for it with your Creatine. Naturally youíre not taking this behaviour from someone that doesnít even know what football is, so you chase him Ė thereís no time to get dressed, but thatís fine, the thong will do. Your friends, of course, are ready and willing to help and join the chase, and as if ready for this eventuality (every bloody day), theyíre equally scantily clad. Thereís the shy British chap (may not in fact be a chap) who felt the need to wear a bikini top, the pants-wearing polar bear, that weird bloke with the Dali moustache and top hat; you know, the usual guys, every gym has them.
Where were we? Ah, yes, so youíre chasing this American footballer and, you know whatís coming next because youíve been through it a million times Ė he runs straight through a wall. This is where the game's Japanese roots are most apparent. Many people know that partitions in Japanese homes are often made of paper, but itís less widely known that, in fact, every wall in Japan is actually made of paper. What on first sight looks like a brick wall is simply sheet after sheet of A5.
Having run through the wall, he leaves his outline in it, and itís up to you to mimic his shape so you can fit through the gap. Normally youíd be able to simply smash through after him but for obvious reasons Ė you havenít had todayís fix of Creatine, and are feeling slightly less effective than usual. Bring on the wall!
There are four possible shapes to pull: both hands up; both down; right hand up, left down; right hand down, left up. Simply use the Wii remote controller and nunchuk to recreate whatever gap has been left in the wall and youíll fit through, no problem. The controls take a few minutes getting used to, with the Wiiís inputs once again proving inadequate at determining their height. Much like Samba de Amigo, holding the controllers higher will have no effect, the game relies on the upward motion of the players arms to naturally point the controllers upwards. Likewise, downwards. Once this is accounted for and a technique perfected, the controls never cause another problem. Theyíre responsive, and with some frantic gameplay later on requiring some incredibly quick reflexes to react to sudden changes, this is essential.
One by one, your chums fall away, unable to keep the pace, until itís just you and the thief. One on one. Mano a mano in a fight to the, well, probably best not to elaborate too much on that. Keep up the chase and youíll be given the opportunity to make a final dash for the thief. Hold both controllers upright and shake them up and down as vigorously as possible (as if running in a somewhat peculiar manner) to build up speed. Catch up to your victim and, well, it has to be seen before you can even begin to comprehend what happens next.
Muscle Marchís main mode offers one of the most fun experiences available on the Wii, perhaps in part due to its brevity. The game is over fairly quickly and stops just as it starts to get going, never allowing the player to become bored with what is essentially a very basic premise. It assaults (sexually?) the eyes with so many bizarre happenings that itís simply impossible to tire of it. The game doesnít present much difficulty either; itís by no means easy but most players wonít have too much trouble getting through it. Complementing it, then, is an endless mode in which, naturally, youíre chasing a golden man on a rainbow road in heaven up some beanstalks. Naturally.
This can be played alone, but the mode also represents the game's multiplayer offering. Every five walls, the speed increases by 5kph until three lives are lost and a high score is set, then itís the next personís go to beat it. Itís not the ideal set-up, but itís the fairest, and despite players taking turns, it still feels like a group activity. Youíll be laughing together, being mildly concerned at the on-screen events together, looking on in total awe together.
A special mention is reserved for the music. Like everything else in the game, the range is slight, but the tunes are stunning, and remain so even after the fourth hour buzzing around inside your head. Anyone at home with Katamari Damacyís soundtrack will adore the selection of tunes here, anyone not at home with that gameís soundtrack doesnít deserve ears.
... And thatís Muscle March. Itís best not to ask too many questions because, frankly, there arenít enough questions in the world. Why does an elephant and giraffe combo adorn the score display? Why is a polar bear chasing a kappa? Why would God be monitoring this event? Just what is going on in general?
Ignore the questions and what youíre left with is an utterly absurd experience, but one of the most hilarious, not to mention unique, youíll have all year, and probably in your lifetime. Youíll unashamedly want to show it to everyone within fifty metres of your Wii and everyone that has a go will love it. There is no other game in the world like Muscle March, but there should be. So many more.
All characters appearing in this game are fictitious. No similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is intended, and is purely coincidental.