This ain’t no Warioware.
Game & Wario for Wii U is perhaps not what you would expect. The previous Warioware games may well have left you prepared for a massive collection of micro game weirdness that seem designed not only to entertain, but also to show off the various capabilities of their respective consoles. Whilst Game & Wario certainly brings with it some of these aspects, what the player will experience first is absolutely nothing like what they would expect.
First up, there game comes with 12 single player games and 4 multiplayer games. You may already be thinking that with this few micro games, Game & Wario will be short lived. But the thing is, these are not the micro games that we have all come to know and love. These games are mini – some of them lasting multiple minutes. The variety is still there within the collection of mini games, albeit somewhat less, the games still manage to showcase the different ways to play with the Wii U, and there are a few surprises that will raise a smile for Warioware aficionados. But there is also one specific problem that really frustrated me – an issue that I have to get off my chest right away.
Playing the single player game, the player begins with the Arrow game. They then have to unlock each subsequent game by completing the previous one. That in itself is not really a big deal as most of the games are fairly easy to complete in their initial state (although it would have been nice to have all of the games unlocked to start with). The real problem comes from the unskippable cut scenes and tutorials that the player has to suffer through until they complete the game for the first time. Don’t get me wrong, they are funny and very well presented. But if a particular game is causing you problems, repeatedly watching the same clips and having the controls explained over and over is more than a little annoying.
But the mini games are where a game like Game & Wario lives and dies, and here the game does quite well. Not all of the games are equal, with some shining high while others just give off a dull glow. But the overall quality is pretty impressive.
The first game, Arrow, has the player targeting the screen with the GamePad, which is loaded with an arrow. It is fairly simple stuff, but can be a bit tricky when the GamePad has to be recalibrated at the worst possible time. Another game suffering from the same problem is Pirate, a rhythm game in which the player has to block incoming arrows by holding the GamePad in the right direction. The other game that makes use of the GamePad’s precision, or lack thereof, is the Bowling game which, for some reason, unlocks after the credits have run and the gang of quirky characters go out to celebrate. However, Bowling is the least likely to suffer from unreliability of these three.
Providing a bit of motion are the games Ski, which gives the player a top down view as they move the GamePad to navigate the ski slope, Kung Fu, a nice looking platform game in which the player must jump along to the target zone, and Ashley, a side-scrolling shooter with a witch on a broomstick. All three of these games work very well, but are not the most inspiring when it comes to the gameplay.
Taxi is an interesting little game in which the player has to navigate a small area in their taxi and occasionally stop to shoot UFOs and prevent them from abducting your passengers. This game is probably the most involved of the collection. Camera is good fun, with the playing having to view a scene and take photos of characters shown at the bottom of the screen.
Design is perhaps the most bizarre game, asking the player to draw shapes of certain lengths (such as a five cm line, or 3cm diameter circle), or angles. There is a certain amount of guesswork required, and the resulting shapes go together to make a robot, for some reason. Patchwork has the player slotting shapes into the correct places on a grid, with the result being the vaguely recognizable shapes coming to life.
The final game to be unlocked is Bird, a Pyoro remake, which emulates a classic Game & Watch game on the GamePad, while looking very pretty on the TV screen.
But the most fun of all comes from Gamer. This mini game shows real genius at work as it has the player playing his handheld in bed while hiding the fact from his scary mum. Micro games, the kind that one would see in Warioware titles, play on the GamePad, while the TV screen shows the bedroom. Occasionally, the mum will open the door, look through the window or climb from the TV to check you are asleep, and at these points the player has to pause their micro games and pretend to be asleep otherwise they get caught. Gamer is absolutely brilliant fun, especially with spectators warning of the mothers approach.
The multiplayer games are equally varied, with Islands seeing the players launching Fronks onto platforms to get the highest score, Disco providing some rhythm gaming, Artist having the players drawing words on the GamePad in a Pictionary style, and Fruit having one player steal fruit on the GamePad while the other watches the TV screen and tries to identify the thief. The games are a bit limited, but three of the four were enjoyed for far longer than they should have been here at GGUK towers.
Bringing the player back for more is the Cluck-A-Pop vending machine. As the player progresses through the game, they receive tokens that can be used to gather some of the games’ 240 odd rewards from the vending machine. These rewards are a highlight in themselves, including such craziness as more micro games, strange distractions and other weirdness. Collecting these rewards is quite compelling, it is exciting to find out what you will get next.
Game & Wario doesn’t quite measure up to Nintendo Land, the majority of the games just don’t feel as compelling to play, or enjoyable, and the multiplayer offering is just lacking. However, once you get past the fact that this isn’t a Warioware game, there is actually quite a lot going on. The presentation is great and the game is entertaining in a quirky and slightly weird way.
It is not the best mini game compilation on the Wii U, but Game & Wario’s weirdness ensures that there is a lot of enjoyment to be had here. Not what was expected, but fun nonetheless.