Ubisoft’s Rayman Legends proved that injecting rhythm elements into a traditional platformer can work surprisingly well when done right. Since its release, I’ve been pining for something that explores the marriage of the two genres a bit further. Fortunately, Mad Rat Dead (to be published in the states by NIS America) is looking to do just that- complete with a love-able aesthetic and goofy plot.
Mad Rat Dead is a tale of vengeance. You’re a mistreated lab rat who, in his final hours, is visited by an almighty Rat God. “Guess the Brain’s going to have some major explaining to do.” Then as the mistreated lab rat, you’re given the chance to break free. Guided by this omnipotent critter and (literally) your own heart, you set out on a journey to wreck the lab coats responsible for your misery.
Judging from this recently released trailer, it doesn’t look like we’ll have direct control over the protagonist. Instead, he’ll be dashing, jumping, grinding, and performing Sonic-style homing attacks in conjunction with rhythm-centric button presses. This is all done to a popping anime dance/electronic soundtrack thanks to the talent of artists including (but not limited to) a_hisa, Dyes Iwasaki, and Camellia.
I’m catching some serious WayForward and classic Sega vibes from the game’s presentation. The hand-drawn sprites are full of 90’s attitude (especially Mad Rat himself) and juxtaposed with the 3D backdrops and set pieces. The scenes make for a visual experience that could also answer the question of what a potential team effort from both companies would look like. (Minus the “fan service” WayForward games are well known for)
We won’t have to wait too long to see if Mad Rat Dead’s gameplay can meet the amount of flash shown in the trailers. NIS has stated that the game will be released on October 30th of this year for PS4 and Switch. Before you ask- yes, there is a physical version and you can preorder it here. Dubbed the “Heart-Pounding Edition”, it will contain: the game itself, an art book, collector’s box, license for the digital OST and (most interesting of all) an actual cassette with the game’s soundtrack. The physical versions for both consoles are $59.99 with no word of the digital price point, although it’s safe to assume it won’t nibble on your wallet nearly as much.