Recently I got Game & Wario for Wii U. It’s in the WarioWare series of titles, but they probably didn’t use the name because the games are a bit different this time around. More like longer mini-games instead of the two second microgames of the past. They spoof Game & Watch with the title, and the start screen for each game feature cheesy ‘box art’ for every mini-game. So as I always like to do with these kinds of things, here’s a rundown of the mini-games you can play in Game & Wario.
I played this one at E3. It’s a bit like the ninja star shooting game from Nintendo Land, except a tad more involved. On the touch screen is a bow and arrow, pull it back with the stylus and let it go to fire, and aim at the TV screen to shoot mini Warios, and later a boss Wario tank. If the mini Warios get too close to the TV screen, they’ll hop onto the screen on your Wii U controller, and you must tap them off before they reach the bottom and take one of your four strawberries. Lose all of them and it’s Game Over. There are four different stages of shooting gallery fun. Reminds me of Point Blank a bit, I’m a little mad that Namco never made a Point Blank game on the Wii. Seems like a perfect fit. At any rate, as always, Wario hosts the first game.
Mona is in charge of this one, and now she’s an ace photographer for a newspaper. Man, in every WarioWare game, Mona has a different job! I played this one at E3 last year, too. It was kind of hard. Mona wants you to take pictures of five different people in a scene. You can see the whole area at once on the TV, and when you aim and view the Wii U controller like a camera, you can see a close up view. Snap a shot of each person within the time limit, and try to make sure they are facing the camera. Even though most of these games are single player, it helps to have other people watching so they can help you spot the people. So a lot of these games have a passive multiplayer aspect to them. Every time I play this game, I think to myself, ‘This is what a Pokemon Snap game on the Wii U should be like.’ Make it happen, Nintendo!
Jimmy T.’s hitting the slopes. This one’s not a whole lot different from the F-Zero game in Nintendo Land. View the action overhead on the touch screen, and tilt to steer Jimmy around. Unlike the F-Zero game, I didn’t see any reason to watch the TV screen at all. The race mode has five stages, although it’s super hard to beat the required time after the first stage. There’s also an endless mode where you try to have as many ski girls follow Jimmy T. as you can before you fall off the edge.
Kindergarten ninja girls Kat and Ana are using their ninja swords to slice sheets of fabric to make picture puzzles for you to solve! Slide the pieces to the matching spots to make pictures. Kind of reminds me of those Tangram puzzles we used to do in school. This one is really fun, and I could see myself playing it for a long time. Especially since there are TONS of stages, almost 100 (maybe more). Only problem is that it doesn’t really use the unique capabilities of the Wii U aside from the touch screen. This game could’ve been easily done on the DS, or even an iPad. But oh well, it’s still fun.
This one stars newcomers Young Cricket and Master Mantis, a young Kung Fu trainee and his elderly sensei. Not as interesting as the other characters. In this one, you play as Cricket and must reach Master Mantis at the end of the stage. Cricket continuously jumps, and you must tilt the Wii U remote to guide him so he lands on the ground safely. It kind of reminds me of Kirby Tilt n Tumble (another game that should be on Wii U), but it is closer to an iPad game I recently reviewed called Sheep Up! As you jump, collect dumplings scattered about to keep your energy up, don’t let your meter empty or fall off the edge or it’s Game Over. Hidden in each stage are three scrolls, collect them all for a bonus. On the TV screen you view the action head on, but on the Wii U remote you look from above. You’ll be looking mostly at the Wii U remote so you can see where to land safely. Kind of reminds me of Jumping Flash in a way. Also, the graphics have that Japanese painterly look to them, like Okami. The regular mode has five stages and there is an All You Can Eat mode that I haven’t unlocked yet.
9-Volt and 18-Volt are my favorite WarioWare characters. One, because they are making fun of Nintendo fanboys (hey, I can take a joke, too), but also they remind me of my best friend and I as kids when we would play all sorts of Nintendo games together. I miss those days. Anyway, in this one, you play a WarioWare style microgame session on the Wii U controller as 9-Volt. But it’s past 9-Volt’s bedtime, so his mom, 5-Volt, will be checking in on him to make sure he’s asleep. So you’ll have to keep an eye and ear on the TV screen that shows 9-Volt’s bedroom so you can hear and see when his mom is coming. When she comes in, you can press a button to pause the game and hide under the covers so you don’t get caught. If you do, it’s Game Over. This is another game where it’s helpful to have other spectators so they can warn you when his mom comes. But when you are hiding, a meter goes down and if it empties, 9-Volt gets too tired and falls asleep. That ends your game, too. After you beat the first stage, you unlock a mode with 18-Volt where you can just play the game and not have to worry about the mom. I think it’s neat at the end of the game where 9-Volt says that his mom isn’t really that scary in real life, and that she’s pretty cool most of the time.
Dr. Crygor hosts this game; he’s a mad scientist cyborg guy. In his game, he asks for you to draw lines and shapes of a certain length, and you must eyeball and estimate as you draw to get as close as you can. You may have to draw a one and a half inch line, a circle with a two-inch diameter, a 30 degree angle, and more! It’s a bit too much like math for my tastes, but a clever idea anyway that’s pretty well done. There is a regular mode and a single stroke mode where you have five seconds to draw the lines and shapes without lifting the stylus. Plus there is a two player mode, but I haven’t tried it yet.
She’s a witch girl who is pretty much Wednesday Addams, and she has a little devil friend named Red, who can shapeshift into anything Ashley needs. While Ashley is interested in anything macabre and scary, Red is very cowardly. One day while flipping through a picture book, Ashley spots a scary scene in the book and would like to be there. She casts a spell so she can be in that page inside the book, but at the last moment, the wind turns the page and Ashley is sent into a candy filled world of sweets instead! While this pleases Red, Ashley is VERY MAD about being in the candy world, so Red turns into a broom so that Ashley can fly out of there. The game is named after her and you tilt the Wii remote up and down to move Ashley through side scrolling levels. Collect little purple dots for points, but avoid getting hit by flying candies and cookies and whatnot. If you get hit too many times, you’ll have to rub the touch screen to calm Ashley down so she won’t get too mad. Ashley will automatically zap nearby obstacles, so it’s like a shooter, too. The game kind of reminds me of an iPad game I reviewed a while back called Panic Flight, although I’m sure there are other iPad games that are more similar to this one. There are three stages to tackle in all, and if you reach a target score, you’ll be Ashley’s “Best Buddy.” Um…great?
Dribble and Spitz are a cat and dog taxi driving duo. I think they’re also one of brother Jeff’s favorite WarioWare characters. Anyway, their game is like a mix of Crazy Taxi and a…FPS? Yup. On the TV screen, you view a full map of an area, and on the Wii U controller, you see things in a first person perspective. You must drive around the map, collect customers, and take them to their destination. Just like Crazy Taxi. But here’s the catch. All the passengers are being abducted by UFOs! So when you get close to one, press a button to pull out a bazooka, and tilt and move the Wii U controller around to aim and fire! Then collect your customer. At the end of the level, you’ll have to destroy the mothership, too! There are also a lot of hidden secrets in each stage, and there are three stages in all. This is actually one of the more challenging games; it took me a try or two to beat the first level.
For the ‘finale’ game, Wario is back and is now a pirate. You’re on a boat with Wario’s ships surrounding you to the left, right, front, and above (yes a flying ship in the sky). Use the Wii U controller like a shield to block Wario’s plunger arrows on each side and above you, and then shake off the plunger arrows when they’re done. But here’s the thing, you have to do this all in time with the beat. Yes, Pirates is a rhythm game. Wario will say the directions and you must time your movements to the beat. Kind of like Space Channel 5. Five stages in all for this one.
So after all the games are done, Wario and his friends party down at the bowling alley. It’s a fairly standard bowling game, but you use the Wii U controller to flick the ball down the lane, then as it rolls, tilt the controller to make it spin. To ‘beat’ this game and unlock the last item on the single player menu, you must complete ten frames of specially arranged pins. And you can only miss five times. It’s especially hard because these aren’t regulation sized pins; they’re shaped like different WarioWare characters! It took me quite a few tries to beat the first mode. But I’m glad I did because after that you unlock a more standard bowling mode with ten frames and pins. And you can play with another person, too. It is pretty fun, and reminds me of the neat bowling mini-games in the GameCube Super Monkey Ball games. The first two GameCube Monkey Ball games were really fun, it’s sad they lost a bit of quality later on. I wonder if they should do a Wii U Monkey Ball game. If the mini-games were fun again, it might be good.
In typical WarioWare fashion, the last thing you unlock is a version or variation of Pyoro. It’s also a DSiWare title called Bird and Beans. It’s a simple game where you move a bird left and right on the bottom of the screen and use his stretchy tongue to catch falling seed bean things. If they hit the ground they’ll destroy that part of the floor, leaving you less space to maneuver. Get hit on the head with one and it’s Game Over. On the TV, you view the game with fancy graphics, but on the Wii U controller, you can see it like it was a Game & Watch title!
The last four games are considered multiplayer titles, but you won’t need Wii remotes to play. Most of these involve just passing around the Wii U controller, so it’s a more passive experience.
Sketch & Miiverse Sketch
These are actually two different games, but the idea is the same. Orbulon the alien hosts this one, which is pretty much Pictionary or Win, Lose, or Draw. Strangely, even though this is the least creative game in the bunch, it’s actually the most fun. In the regular Sketch game, one player draws pictures of words on the Wii U controller, and the other players try and guess them. The game picks words for you, although I wish you could pick your own. And even though I’ve never played it, I’m assuming that Miiverse Sketch is a lot like Draw Something. You can suggest words for other people to draw, or draw words that others have suggested. Your posts and words will be viewable to everyone to see, and it’s a neat way to use Miiverse. I could see Nintendo making a whole game out of this mini-game! Maybe get the Pictionary license or something. I remember as a kid in the 80s when Pictionary and Win, Lose, or Draw first came out (there was even a TV show). When I’d visit family in Alabama and play with my cousins, there were a couple of years where all we did was play Win, Lose, or Draw. Even when we had to play outside! We’d just take the big old easel and paper out with us! So maybe that’s why I like the Sketch game so much. I can’t wait to see what Nintendo cooks up with the Wii U version of Art Academy. I can’t believe more people aren’t excited about that!
Dr. Crygor’s cute, bespectacled granddaughter Penny hosts this one. One player uses the Wii U controller to move a thief around to steal fruit, and the other players must watch the TV and try to spot the thief. The fruit stealer can use cover and try to blend in with the crowd. At the end of the round, the other players pick from a lineup of people and try to guess the thief. If they can’t, the thief wins!
Mike is a karaoke robot built by Dr. Crygor, and his game is a two-player music challenge. Both players hold one side of the Wii remote and tap rhythm beats for the other player to copy. If they miss, the other player wins the round. I didn’t think this game worked very well because since the Wii U controller only senses one touch, it was hard to tap beats. I think this game would work better on an iPad since you can have more than one finger or stylus on the screen at once.
You know those little square critters that show up in every WarioWare game? Well they’re called Fronks and they have their own game now. It’s kind of a mix between Shuffleboard and Monkey Target from the Monkey Ball games. Similar to Arrow, you pull back and fling a group of Fronks onto a target on the TV screen and try to make them land on the highest point values possible. Then you hand off the Wii U remote for the next player to fling their color Fronks onto the target. Watch out, because you can knock other Fronks off the platform. And in some stages, if the target is weighted down too much on one side, it’ll tip and Fronks will fall off! There are other obstacles and things that can turn the tides of the game, and some of it isn’t quite fair. But overall it’s somewhat entertaining anyway.
Odds and Ends
And that’s all the games on Game & Wario! But before we go, I’d like to conclude with a few odds and ends. One last mode in the game is called Cluck A Pop. As you play the single player games, you can earn coins which you can use with the Cluck A Pop like a capsule toy machine. A lot of the unlockables are crazy things you can do with the Wii U controller, and reminds me of the little toys you could unlock in past WarioWare titles, like Touched and Twisted. Only thing is I wish getting coins were easier. You get one coin each day you play, and can get coins when you achieve a milestone in the game like passing stages and whatnot, but that’s it. There are hundreds of things to unlock, and I wanna get them all!
One of the funniest things about Game & Wario isn’t even in the game at all! To promote the game, Nintendo made a mock Web site that spoofs kickstarter crowdfunding programs and called it CrowdFarter.com. If you want a laugh, go there after reading my article. It’s a hoot!
And that’s all I have to say about Game & Wario. Sadly, while I do enjoy the game, it’s definitely one of the weakest in the WarioWare series. And I hate saying that because I want this game and the Wii U to succeed. It just doesn’t have the magic like the original game had, or the more recent WarioWare D.I.Y. title (which was my GOTY for 2010). Maybe if the game were ten or twenty bucks cheaper, but it’s a Nintendo published title so you know it won’t go down in price any time soon. The Wii U could really use some more good games. In the comments section, tell me your favorite WarioWare characters. Mine are 9-Volt, 18-Volt, Mona, and Kat & Ana. Well, that’s all for now. Next long-winded blog will be my Game of the Year SO FAR Awards Show! Later!