Shortly after I got my GameBoy Advance, I was looking for a few games that have great \'pick up and play\' value. One of the benefits of a portable system is filling up short time periods with a fun game, and few of my old GameBoy games fit the bill. I have several RPG\'s, and Tetris from my old GameBoy, but none that take advantage of the new GBA\'s graphics. As I was looking online for a good game of this kind, I stumbled into review after review of this game, with amazingly high scores. So, I decided to give it a shot. Boy am I glad I did!
Wario has been a sort of \'Anti-Mario\' since his original appearance on the GameBoy years ago. He\'s a lot like Mario, except that he\'s, well... selfish. And greedy. His main goal in life is to get himself some more money. So, while he\'s lounging around his house watching TV, he sees a newscast about video games sales being way up. Wario gets it in his head to make lost of money by making a game, and goes and buys a laptop, and starts WarioWare, Inc., and finally starts to program a game. He gets tired, and calls his friends to help. They make a game together, and you are challenged to beat it!
What is it like?
Well, this game is like nothing you have ever seen before. These games that Wario and his friends made are a collection of what is called microgames. You may have seen minigames in other games before, which may help spice things up, but there is usually a larger game with an objective. This game is a rather large collection of microgames - minigames that last 5 seconds or less each. The goal is to complete at least enough to get to Wario\'s most difficult microgames and beat all of his, too. Each stage of microgames is run by a different person(a few people run two or three sets) and each stage has either a minigame reward you can unlock or other stages with more microgames. Each microgame usually has one simple objective, and after that one, you move on to another microgame that has another simple objective. They shotgun one after another at you, and eventually you either lose the stage or reach a specific goal for that section, often involving beating a boss battle. Boss battles are in between the unlockable minigames and the microgames in size and length. Boss battles vary from a small, simple simulation of \'Punch Out!\', to a simple shooting game like Galaga (my favorite), to a rather difficult last boss called Wario\'s Adventure.
What are the microgames like?
There are over 200 different microgames available (actually 204, + 9 bosses= 213). There are many from simple button pushers to ones that test your timing, ones that make you think quickly (IQ tests), and others that are just silly. In some of the simple games you might have 3 seconds to press the A button enough times to eat an apple, or kill the Mother Brain in a rather accurate looking mock up of the last boss in Metroid. In another you are asked to try to thread a needle, or keep a fruit (watermelon and the like) above ground by having it bounce off of a person(like breakout), or perhaps the famous \'line up a finger to properly pick a nose\' microgame. And of course, there is the lovable \'avoid rocks coming out of a volcano\' microgame appropriately called \'Pompeii Back\'. Many of these games are very silly or parodies off of other games or game types. In one boss battle, called \'Dungeon Dilemma\' there is an obvious parody of dungeon RPG games. It asks you rather silly questions while you try to \'defeat\' your foe. And of course, last but not least, the lovable game where you try to keep Wario\'s overweight belly covered by pulling down his shirt without busting a hole in it! Very funny and silly things. :)
What are the unlockables?
Without giving everything away, there are four two-player minigames which are played on one GameBoy Advance(and usually with only one button), and eight single player unlockable minigames. Some of them are rather silly, like \'Jump Forever\' where you can jump a rope.. forever. It gets progressively more difficult as the patterns, speeds, etc. change. It also has a neat unlockable of its own - if you get over 100 jumps, you can choose the song to listen to while you jump. :) There is also an excellent rip-off of Dr. Mario called Dr. Wario. Though there are subtle differences, it really is a good game! :) For those who persevere and clear out all microgames via the game grid(you can play any microgame you have unlocked there), you can play the game mentioned in the intro and it\'s sequel. There are also four \'challenge levels\' that you can unlock which challenge you in specific ways with any combination of microgames from any person\'s game list. They range from Easy(more time), to Hard(less time), to Total Boss(all boss battles) to Thrilling, where you only have one life. Fun stuff. :)
How are the graphics?
The graphics range from simple Atari 2600-like graphics (simple stick figures) to a faithful representation of F-Zero on the SNES. Really, the graphics are really neat from a very retro style to some almost realistic looking pictures. Considering the type of game, there are no complaints here. And really, it\'s a large part of this game\'s charm.
How is the sound/music?
The sound and music are really clever and very fitting to the circumstances. The sound effects go from an exact replica of the coin collect sound from Super Mario to very silly sounds of a stick figure chicken trying to struggle away from a pincer holding it, to Wario\'s appropriate \'Yahoo!\' when you complete some microgames. And the music is really very cool and fitting - in between many of the microgames on certain levels there is a catchy tune, and in some of the microgames the little jingles are appropriately silly and fitting. It\'s really hard to judge here, as there are few consistent tunes throughout the game - but the \'feel\' is just right throughout. Really well done sound effects that bring a silly grin or an appropriate tension to the moment. Well done. :)
How appropriate is this game for Christians?
Nintendo has, in general, made some pretty family friendly games, and this one is mostly no exception. There are two microgames which have somewhat questionable material in them. One is a game called \'Fruit Shoot\', where nude statues (of a lady, boy, and a dog) have an apple on their heads that you shoot off of it. I know that at least the lady (and possibly the boy, but I am not sure) are pieces of classical art, but I felt it was worth pointing out. Please look at the screenshots page for more information on that. The other microgame that has somewhat questionable material is the \'Dungeon Dilemma\' game mentioned before. Considering it\'s an obvious parody of RPG\'s, and considering the \'history\' of RPG\'s, it makes sense, but nonetheless.. the player\'s hit points are listed as 333 on level one, and on level two, they double to ... well, you get the point. Some may find this a problem, and we are here to inform. :) You can also find a screenshot in the screenshots page. Otherwise, this game is filled with simple puzzles and some slapstick humor. Mostly harmless.
This is a very fun, simple, and silly game that is really perfect for a portable platform. You can play this game for virtually any length of time, both large and small. If the small appropriateness allowances don\'t bother you, and you like puzzle games, I think you will really enjoy this game. It can have a very high replay value if you like to get high scores and beat them forevermore. :) If not, or if simple puzzle games are not your kind (i.e. if you really don\'t understand why people like Tetris, etc.) then you may want to stay away from this game. But for the rest of us, you may find yourself playing this game over and over.. and coming back for more.