Best of Xbox Game Pass – Alice: Madness Returns


Welcome to Best of Xbox Game Pass where each week I’m going to pick out a game available on Game Pass and explain why I think it is worth playing. While I’ll certainly include some of the bigger titles available on the service, I’ll focus more on other games that you might have overlooked in the hope of leading you to a hidden gem

After the peaceful, relaxing experience of building hospitals and curing people suffering from illnesses in Two-Point Hospital, I thought it would be nice to shift gears and bring some much-needed darkness into our lives. I’ve always had a love for things that take classic fairytales and feel-good stories and twist them into something sinister and strange, which is why this week I’m jumping back to the Xbox 360 era and the cultural touchstone that is Alice in Wonderland.

Alice: Madness Returns is actually a sequel to American McGee’s Alice, which was launched a full ten years before Madness Returns arrived. Both games were created by the demented minds of Spicy Horse and American McGee, whose first name legitimately is American. Published by EA, neither game ever managed to find huge success, explaining the vast gulf of time between releases and the lack of a third game, although there is still hope for that, Fear not, though, because the original game actually comes with Madness Returns and can be accessed from the main menu. But if you don’t fancy playing that, you can still enjoy Madness Returns.

Alice Liddell spent her early years in an asylum under the belief that she was responsible for the fire that killed her parents and her sister, forcing her mind to retreat into Wonderland, the colourful and insane world we all know from the classic stories. Madness Returns takes place one year after Alice was released, having managed to save Wonderland and thus repair her fractured mind. Now nineteen, Alice finds employment under a Doctor who tries to help her forget her trauma, and in return Alice looks after the various orphans under the Doctor’s care. But although Alice may have been released back into the public she still suffers from her emotional trauma, prone to bouts of survivor’s guilt and hallucinations. Before long something happens that sends Alice spiralling back into a broken and ruined Wonderland.