This Way Madness Lies from Zeboyd Games and Limited Run Games is a turn-based JRPG magical girl-infused dive into the worlds of Shakespeare. Check our This Way Madness Lies review!
This Way Madness Lies from Zeboyd Games and Limited Run Games is a turn-based JRPG magical girl-infused dive into the worlds of Shakespeare. You’ll even be greeted by Shakespeare himself when you start your journey. He’ll let you know that the game includes dialogues from his plays, as well as dialogue that has been inspired by his writings. To make it easier to get the hang of things, Zeboyd Games have crafted a Ye Olde English to New English translator, so you can quickly press right on the left analog stick or the D-Pad to auto-translate words to New English.
You’ll get an example of this so that you can get the hang of things. “All that glisters is not gold” will be translated to “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This is but one example, but I do want to mention that Zeboyd Games did an excellent job when going from Ye Olde English to Modern English by injecting a lot of additional humor into these interactions, making it possible to play through the whole game with Ye Olde English and then do it all over again with Modern English for an interesting spin on things.
Your adventure will begin in the town of Verona, Italy. It’s a town for lovers… and giant mutant flowers! You’ll be joining Imogen, Paulina, Viola, Miranda, Beatrice, and Kate, with Imogen being the leader of the Stratford-Upon-Avon High Drama Society. You’ll be going on an adventure through the Shakespeare Metaverse thanks to the magical girl power of Imogen, who can teleport to alternate dimensions based on the work of the Bard of Avon as you try to the evil forces of Nightmare.
You can play this JRPG in one of four difficulty settings: Easy, Moderate, Challenging, and Hard. If you choose the Easy difficulty setting, you’ll take on easier battles, and your abilities will auto-recharge, allowing you to focus on the game’s story. Moderate offers the standard experience, which enemies that will deal good damage if you give them a chance. If you go for the Challenging difficulty setting, you’ll have to go up against enemies that will certainly pack a punch. As for Hard, enemies will punish you for each mistake that you make.
Since the girls go to school and others are not aware of their magical girl abilities, they must still go to class and prepare plays since, you know, they’re part of the Drama Society. They love Shakespeare’s work, so, for them, traveling to alternate realities where they’ll have to, for example, save Romeo from the aforementioned mutant flowers. Talking about the other realities you’ll explore would ruin the experience since the creative license taken by Zeboyd Games with Shakespeare’s worlds and characters make for a very entertaining journey.
When in combat, the way heroines and enemies are displayed reminded me of the beloved turn-based Shining Force series from Sega. Combat will be turn-based. This means you’ll have to select the actions for each of your party members, with enemies also making their choices – without you being able to see what will happen next. Actions will take place based on the speed of each party member and each enemy. What will you be able to do in battle? Your options will be to use a skill, use an item, or activate a unity skill.
Each character will have different skills to choose from. For example, Imogen will be able to use Scepter Smash to deal physical damage. Another skill is Bravery, which will heal her wounds. She can also use rest, which will allow her to defend to lower incoming damage while also recharging all abilities. Items will allow you to dive into your inventory so that you can use the items you’ve collected so far… as long as you’ve equipped them to your items slots.
Unity skills will require more than one girl to act in unison to be able to perform a more powerful skill. Take, for example, Inferno. This unity skill will need two of the girls to act together to unleash a powerful skill that can deal fire damage to all enemies. While Inferno will deal damage to all enemies – which is an excellent option in combat – you could also decide to choose a unity skill that can revive a fallen companion or one that can heal serious wounds by recovering a lot of HP. Unite skills can only be used once per combat.
Your characters will gain one Hyper Point per each turn spent in each particular battle. Once a character reaches their max Hyper Point amount, they will enter Hyper Mode. What Hyper Mode does is transform all of that character’s skills so that they deal more damage, target more enemies, or have new effects added. If you use a unite skill while in Hyper Mode, it will provide an extra 20% charge, which can’t go over the 100% charge cap.
By defeating enemies and bosses, the girls will earn experience points. Once the group has obtained enough experience points, it will level up. Leveling up will give them a higher max HP limit. It will also increase the value of their stats for power, speed, healing, and ailment. Power will determine the damage dealt by all of that character’s abilities. Speed will determine the frequency of a character’s turns. Healing will determine the efficiency of healing skills. As for ailment, it will affect the infliction effectiveness of ailments, as well as that character’s resistance to ailments.
On top of that, you will also gain access to new abilities to use in combat. Oh, and they might also gain Traits! Each of the girls can equip different traits that will give them a boost that might make it possible for them to gain the upper hand. Each girl can equip up to 7 skills and 3 Traits, so be sure to mix and match them so that you can find the right combination to favor your playing style! These Traits include examples such as Energetic, which will make that character start combat with some Hyper Points, or Unique, which will make it less likely for enemies to target that character. Equipping a Trait will also boost a character’s stat values.
This Way Madness Lies brings us a turn-based JRPG magical girl-infused dive into the worlds of Shakespeare. As Imogen and the members of the Stratford-Upon-Avon High Drama Society – Paulina, Viola, Miranda, Beatrice, and Kate – take on each challenge, they will get to experience the works of the Bard of Avon brought to life in the pixel art style we’ve come to know and love from Zeboyd Games. You’re looking at around 8-9 hours to complete the game, which makes this a good option for those who want a JRPG but who don’t want to dive into a 30+ hours-long experience. This Way Madness Lies is out on Nintendo Switch with a $9.99 price, making this an easy one to recommend.
This This Way Madness Lies review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Limited Run Games.