If Cubers are looking for a solid, fun platformer to compliment Mario Sunshine, then you will find hope in Mario’s arch nemesis.
Somewhat similar to Mario Sunshine, Wario World plays out in a 3D environment that is almost 2D. The player can move back and forth in space but just not as deeply. This can be called a quasi 3D platformer. For the most part, levels travel in a left to right, up and down fashion. This unique 3D style of game play isn’t used much in games today, but works well in Wario World.
Wario’s best known character trait is his greed. Usually in a Nintendo game, the player must save a princess (Zelda, Peach) from the clutches of evil (Ganon, Bowser). However, Wario is trying to regain his lost treasure. The story is as follows: Wario was sitting in his castle admiring his massive amount of treasure, when one black jewel comes alive and turns all of his gold and gems into monsters. In order to satisfy his own greed, Wario sets off to reclaim his treasure.
The player first takes control of Wario in a courtyard. This area plays the same role as the castle did in Mario 64. The courtyard links all the levels of the game together. Once the player walks through a gate, a main level can begin. Each one of these spaces behind the gate contains two levels and one boss stage.
In each level, Wario must collect several red jewels to open the exit. The player will find these jewels in mini game type levels hidden throughout each stage. Wario will enter these levels usually by butt-slamming a break away door. In each one of these secret areas, the player will either solve a small puzzle or rely on quick reflexes. These are very similar to the areas in Mario Sunshine when Mario didn’t have his water pack.
Besides collecting red jewels, players will also find other treasure by hitting a switch. For example, if you hit a red switch, then a treasure will pop up on the red platform. While these treasures are not necessary to collect, it is in the player’s best interest to gather them as they unlock games in Wario’s latest GBA title. These games can be downloaded to the GBA via the GC to GBA link cable. This continues the philosophy, the more you collect, the more you can unlock. Simple coins can also be collected to purchase continues and health items.
At the end of every level, a boss battle will take place. One might think that encountering a boss at the end of every level would become repetitive and tiring, but this is not the case. Each boss battle is different enough to keep the player entertained.
Since Wario World is a platformer, you can expect a lot of jumping, climbing, and clinging to ledges. One new platforming tool used in this game is the appearance of a ‘sticky ball’. These simple round balls serve as an object to grab onto. When jumped upon, Wario will grab this ball with his entire body, gripping it with his arms and legs as if giving it a really big hug. Wario can then crawl around this ball in any direction he chooses. These sticky balls are scattered throughout each level and are a welcome new edition to Wario’s platforming aspect as they offer a new way to travel from place to place.
Wario is built for fighting. He makes sure he uses his body to keep his title of being ‘number one’. Wario has a number of ways of attacking his enemies. Besides from his regular punch attack, Wario can shoulder thrust enemies and butt stomp them. To take a lot of enemies out at once, Wario has a few options. First, he can pick up an enemy and swing him around just like how Mario did to Bowser in Mario 64. The swinging motion knocks everyone out of his way. Next, he can pile drive anyone, even bosses that are way bigger than him. Upon impact, a shock wave will spread on the ground sending enemies flying. Because of these new moves, Wario can take on tons of enemies at the same time. Many times in the game, the player will fight dozens of enemies on screen at once, and without any slow down. The game runs smoothly at all times.
A bad part about fighting common enemies, is that they are all the same, just with a different outer appearance. They just change cosmetically to fit the theme of each level. For example, snow monsters will appear in cold levels and fire monsters will be in hot, fiery stages, but are the same enemy. Different types of enemies should have been added.
Wario World has extremely responsive play control. These very crisp and clean controls allow the player to perform every move flawlessly. The control scheme is simple too. The A button jumps and B punches. When in the air, R butt-stomps. When not in the air, R shoulder rushes. L is used to suck up coins quickly and effortlessly. Strangely, X and Y are not used. Once Wario grabs an enemy, the control stick just simply needs to be rotated to send them spinning. Wario can perform the pile driver by jumping with an enemy in his hands, then tap R.
The C-Stick is used to control the camera, but it can only move in very small increments. Because of the game’s almost 2-D layout, the camera doesn’t really need to change. However, there are times when you will wish you had a wider view. This mostly occurs during the mini game type levels when the player is trying to obtain a red jewel. Strangely, these levels are actually built around the static camera. The developers knew that the camera could only point from one direction, so they made the puzzles revolve around this idea. For example, Wario navigates his way through to the middle of a 3-D cube from only one viewpoint. They knew that it would be difficult to find the small openings on the opposite side of the camera. For the most part, these puzzles work with the camera, but there are times you will wish you could see from a different side.
Wario World has a general cartoony feel. The graphics themselves are average by today’s standards, but they don’t really need to be fancy. The graphics, 3-D models, textures, and lighting all work well together. Despite basic graphics, there are several intense lighting effects throughout the game. Wario will generate a barrage of sparks whenever he performs one of his strong fighting moves. Bosses give off some cool effects from time to time as well. In one level later in the game, the player is taken through a maze of mirrors. This stage makes great puzzles by the use of reflection.
The music is basic for a Wario game but the sound bytes will make you smile. Wario displays his obnoxious, greedy self by saying funny one-liners throughout the game. If you pause the game, he will sing a song that consists of nothing more than laughing at you. This is very annoying to listen to for more than a minute, but that is the purpose. The voice of Wario is what makes this game funny.
Wario World is a solid platformer that is simple but has enough variation to make it fun. A few different enemies would have been nice, but the massive bosses make up for this. WW is a fun game, but players might feel gypped if they lay down $50.00 for it. The game can be beaten in about 5-7 hours. More levels would have been welcomed, but the quest to find all the treasure will keep players playing as it will unlock Wario Ware games on their GBAs. These quick downloads to the GBA give a good taste of the GBA game, but a purchase of this game is recommended as you get so much more and you can save your data. Wario World can be seen as a younger brother to Mario Sunshine as it’s a fun, responsive platformer, but the quest ends entirely too early.