Title This Way Madness Lies
Developer Zeboyd Digital Entertainment LLC
Publisher Zeboyd Digital Entertainment LLC
Release Date Nov. 10, 2022
Genre RPG
Platform PC
Age Rating N/A
Official Website

It’s be a while since I played one of the classic style RPGs that Zeboyd Digital Entertainment produces, but Cthulhu Saves the World is still one of the funniest games I’ve ever played. When an opportunity came around to check out their latest game, This Way Madness Lies, I decided to jump on it. I mean it has Shakespeare and Magical Girls, so this has to be a good time, right? Let’s dig in and find out!

This Way Madness Lies | Translation

The girls of the Stratford-Upon-Avon High Drama Society love putting on plays written by Shakespeare, but there is much more to these ladies than meets the eye. They are also powerful Magical Girls that travel to different dimensions keeping evil nightmares from invading our very world. The girls are about to face their biggest challenges yet, and the big question is: can they slay all the forces of evil plus find time to study? Only time will tell!

This Way Madness Lies | Transform

The characters and that classic over the top Zeboyd humor keeps it interesting from start to finish. The girls all have typical anime trope characteristic like Imogen, who is the group’s steadfast leader who never lets anything drag her down; or my personal favorite, Miranda, who is bit a of flake, but a very lovable one. The story writing here is pretty good as well, and scenes are set up to really bring out the girls’ personalities. I think I like the Olde English to Modern English translations. You can trigger these any time a character is using “Shakespeare speak,” as I call it. These translations are silly, but very humorous. They fit the overall tone of the game well since it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and you shouldn’t either.

This Way Madness Lies | Combat

Graphically, This Way Madness Lies looks fantastic for a game made in this style. The 16-bit style pixel art is clean with a great amount of detail. The environments look great, and the enemy models are varied with some of best descriptions you will ever find in an RPG. The combat graphics are done in that over-the-back style seen in Shining Force titles, and there are even some battle cut-ins that look great as well. I really loved that each girl has a fully animated transformation scene before each stage starts as well. I mean how can you have a Magical Girl Story without long, overdone transformation scenes? In all seriousness, they are animated beautifully, and once you’ve seen them they are skippable.

This Way Madness Lies | Best Girl

Combat here is your standard turn based affair, but there is plenty of spice in the mix to keep it interesting. Each of the the girls has their standard set of abilities: basic attack, healing and support. Each girl can use up to seven, and you can choose which ones you think will work the best for you. There are also Unite Skills, and as you may have guessed this skill packs a bit more punch than the standard ones. These skills do not consume any type of MP or AP, but you will have to defend a turn after using them in order to unleash them again. Add in a slew Traits that are basically passive buffs and you have some combat that is simple to pick up and play with a good amount of depth to keep you engaged. If you’re more of a story gamer, the difficulty can be switched up on the fly to something that fits more towards your style.

This Way Madness Lies | Win

While I’m not sure I liked This Way Madness Lies more than their previous releases, this is still a really solid RPG, with witty humor, deep combat and fun story. This isn’t a very long game – you can wrap it up in about eight hours on the standard difficulty – but it’s quality and well worth the $9.99 asking price. If you are a fan of Zeboyd Games’ other releases, you should snag this up ASAP. You will find a lot to love here. If you haven’t played any of their other offerings, and love humorous RPGs, you should certainly give them a shot. You’ll be glad you did.

Review Score

Game was provided by the publisher.

Steve Baltimore
Steve started with oprainfall not long after the campaign moved from the IGN forums to Facebook. Ever since, he has been fighting to give all non-mainstream RPGs a fair voice. As the site admin, he will continue to do this and even show there is value in what some would deem "pure ecchi." He loves niche games and anime more than anything... well, except maybe Neptune.