Muscle March Micro-Review: Flex Crimes

Aliens have stolen Earth's precious protein powder and it's up to an international community of bodybuilders (and one polar bear) to safely return that protein to the excessively ripped community. That's the plot of Namco Bandai's wacky Muscle March.

The WiiWare game's premise may be as deep as the gameplay, tasking players with chasing down said aliens and their creatine hoarding partners in crime—which include a kappa, Oda Nobunaga, and a robot—through simple Wii Remote and Nunchuk controls. Players will form a muscular parade behind the protein thief, posing appropriately to follow them through body-shaped holes in walls like a game of human Tetris. Simply hold the motion sensitive controls in one of four positions to squeeze through those holes, then take down your protein-loving prey with frantic waggling.

Muscle March is quirky, zany, wacky, buff fun. Just don't expect it to last.

Loved
Hilarious Presentation: As you sprint and flex through the streets of Japan, its countryside and outer space in pursuit of protein thieves, you'll come across loads of wacky characters, amusing sights and a laugh out loud presentation. Whether gyrating buttocks and bears in bikini bottoms is your cup of tea will determine how much amusement you draw from Muscle March. But if you like the "Oh, Japan!" brand of bizarre as previously seen in games like the Cho Aniki and Katamari Damacy series, you'll find something to appreciate here.

Hated
Empty Gameplay: Here's where Muscle March suffers. All you do is hold the Wii Remote and Nunchuk in one of four positions, posing in the color-coded hole shapes left in walls left by the game's beefy burglars. The novelty wears off within minutes, as the gameplay never deviates from reacting quickly to poses and fake out poses as the race to steal back your protein speeds up. Add to that just three environments in which to play, each broken into three sub-sections, and your interest to revisit Muscle March after completing the game in about 30 minutes will likely peter out rapidly.

Wii Controls Make It Frustrating: For a game that relies on just four control positions and some frantic controller flailing, you might think it would control like a dream. Not really. The game feels frustratingly slow to react to pose changes, a major annoyance when races reach maximum speed.

Muscle March is fun idea disguised as a game, but the singular gameplay mechanic isn't explored in any interesting way, making the WiiWare game feel like a repetitive diversion, about as amusing in the long-term as a whoopee cushion. It's a great gag, one that you can spring on friends who may have their minds blown by the eccentric action of Muscle March, but that's all you're going to get for your 500 Wii Points.

If you're looking for depth or value or even interesting gameplay, you won't find it in Muscle March.

Muscle March was developed and published by Namco Bandai for WiiWare on January 16. Retails for 500 Wii Points ($5.00 USD). Nintendo Points were provided by Nintendo for reviewing purposes. Played both game types with multiple characters and posed 72 times in a row.

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