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This Way Madness Lies Review

Game: This Way Madness Lies
Genre: RPG
System: Steam (Windows)
Developer | Publisher: Zeboyd Digital Entertainment LLC
Controller Support: Yes (Partial)
Price: US $8.99 | UK £6.47 | EU € 7,37
Release Date: November 10th, 2022

Review code used, with many thanks to Zeboyd Digital Entertainment LLC.

When I first heard about This Way Madness Lies I was extremely excited. Magical girls, Shakespeare, humor, a unique RPG system created by the same people who made Cosmic Star Heroine. To say I was excited to try this game is an understatement.

I was also impressed by the art and music. The art style that Zeboyd uses brings a lot of life even to the smaller world characters. I can tell there was a lot of love put into it. The music also pulls its weight. I was never bored of it throughout my play-through. I was also extremely excited when I discovered that each character has their own music variation during their transformations.

Unique Shakespearean Theatrics

A story can make or break an RPG. This Way Madness Lies is no exception. Its short time is zany and whimsical. From fighting nightmares in other worlds and your own, performing Shakespearean plays, changing those plays to be hilarious adaptations, going to class only to have the 4th wall broken to test your knowledge of Shakespeare: there’s just so much packed into the 5-9 hours you will get out of this game.

This Way Madness Lies also has story choices that provide replayability, which is delightful., because I plan to play through the game at least one more time. During my review, I played through on challenging, but there is a harder difficulty setting and I plan to do a hard play-through at some point.

This Way Madness Lies Transformation
The transformation scenes are fun

Ye Olde English Translations

When I first saw this system, I thought it was just a system to help players understand and I could not be more wrong. I won’t spoil any, but the translations are full of humour, and I found myself laughing multiple times while just reading the story. This system was a refreshing way for the developers to drop jokes in the middle of the game. I was caught off guard quite a few times and found myself laughing.

This Way Madness Lies Translation
100% Legit Translations

Designer Magical Transformation Customization

While there is no equipment system This Way Madness Lies does not need one. The customization is done through traits, abilities and group items. With up to 3 traits, 7 abilities and depending on how far in the game up to 8 items. Traits can affect stats, and abilities and provide other bonuses. Abilities have an attack, support and hyper effects. Items have attack and support effects. You also have unite abilities which is a combo between two characters to create a bigger effect.

You can have 4 characters in your party at once and this all adds up to a huge amount of customization. From having a tank that taunts attacks and self-heals to a character that can poison, stun and charm enemies into submission there’s a play style for you.

This Way Madness Lies Traits
Traits make or break a leg

Stage Combat

The combat is simple to learn but complicated to master. A basic ability might heal or do damage of a specific type. Using an ability expends it until you rest which has your character skip their turn and defend. Enemies will be resistant or vulnerable to certain damage types or status effects. Speaking of which, every status effect can be used on bosses. Instead of making boss enemies immune to stuns or charms, all enemies have a separate status HP which you have to break through to cause the status.

Another part of combat is hyper, which works kinda like a limit break. After a certain amount of turns or other conditions, a character will become hyper changing their abilities. This can range from extra damage, changing the type of damage, and the area the ability affects, to making the ability do something else entirely. I had so much fun planning for when my characters would go into a hyper mode so I could pull off interesting combos.

This Way Madness Lies Abilities
There are options!

Desperate is the last big condition that happens when a character is still standing even though they are in negative HP. This only happens if the character had the unstoppable buff before they were knocked below 1hp. The character gets a big boost to damage, some abilities might do different things and if they are not healed before the end of their next turn then they are knocked out.

There is so much depth to this system and since there are multiple difficulty settings it’s up to the player to decide if they need to delve into the depths or just stay near the surface.

This Way Madness Lies Combat
Kill the plants with fire!


There’s so much more that I can say about this game but if you enjoy RPGs, humour and whimsy, and unique interesting combat systems then This Way Madness Lies is worth the time. It’s a bite-sized RPG that respects your time and is designed so that its audience is broad. From casual players to hardcore completists’, there is something in this game for everyone.

Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot. I like it a lot

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