WarioWare Inc. is a unique alternative to other party games, but doesn’t quite have the longevity to become a party mainstay like Smash Bros. or Mario Party.
Last May, Nintendo released WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ for the Game Boy Advance. The game was a breath of fresh air amongst the GBA’s extensive library of remakes. Now, Nintendo has decided to bring the WarioWare experience home and has thrown in a variety of multiplayer modes to make for some serious insanity.
For anyone unfamiliar with the GBA WarioWare game, it was basically a game built around a bunch of minigames (or microgames as they’re called). The games were divided into certain genres: sports, Nintendo, strange, etc. Each genre had its own representative character who acted as a sort of host. After choosing which character’s games they wanted to play, players then would play a set number of games before they got to a “boss game”. The catch was that players were given just five seconds to figure out what they were supposed to do in each game and then do it. Also, the more games they played, the faster the game would move. To further increase the pace and to help players out a little bit, each game used just the D-pad and/or A button.
There was a huge variety of games too. One game would have players simply counting the number of frogs that hopped across the screen while another would make them deftly insert a finger into a nose. The Nintendo genre was especially cool because it would let players take a five second trip down memory lane. There’s a game where players were thrust into the end of Metroid to shoot missiles at Mother Brain and another had players jump on a goomba in the original Super Mario Bros. With over 200 microgames that had this much charm and creativity, it was an intensely fun experience.
For Wario’s GameCube venture, Nintendo has opted to more or less leave the single player experience alone and, instead, focused solely on adding multiplayer modes. The solo game has been tweaked slightly, with a few new modes that will please WarioWare veterans. Unfortunately, the big N also decided to remove a few of the unlockable minigames that were present on the GBA.
Really though, this game was built for the multiplayer experience alone (it is called Mega PARTY Game$ for a reason). Luckily, the various multiplayer modes are all quite entertaining. There’s also a stout variety of game modes that players can pick from.
The multiplayer modes that the developers came up with are so creative that they perfectly complement the off-the-wall microgames. Most of the multiplayer games are competitive, pitting up to four players against each other. In one mode (aptly named “Outta My Way”), one player tries to play a microgame while the other players move their characters to block his/her view. Another game has players inflating a balloon by rapidly tapping the A button while one player tries to complete a microgame; whichever player is playing when the balloon pops loses. The craziest game takes place in a doctor’s office in which players go to the doctor one at a time and the doctor gives them a specific task they have to complete while they play a microgame. For instance, a player could be forced to maintain a sad face (almost impossible with three friends staring at you) or shake their head while they play. After each player finishes the other players get to judge how well they performed their task by pressing the A button to clap for them. Whichever player follows the directions closest through every round wins. There are several other modes, including one featuring e-Reader cards which players win by playing games and can steal from each other, a puzzle-style game and a cooperative game where one player plays and the others illuminate the screen for him. Every mode is entertaining and worth trying at least once.
Since the game is based around the microgames from the GBA game, which were quite simplistic even for the GBA, there is really nothing in here that pushes the GameCube’s graphics hardware at all. Though none of these games are technologically impressive, there are some that are noteworthy from an artistic perspective. The large sprites that players get to control sometimes in the multiplayer games are all well done and all the microgames have been ported perfectly, but there’s definitely nothing in here that you will want to use to show off the power of the GameCube.
The audio in the game is primarily the same as the GBA game too. Most of the voice samples and even some of the music is exactly the same as what was present in last year’s game. It sounds better coming out of the TV speakers or home entertainment system than out of the Game Boy’s tiny speaker, but many of the voices are still quite garbled and hard to understand. Overall, there is really nothing too impressive in this game from an audio standpoint, though a few of the background songs are somewhat catchy.
The graphics and audio might not be breaking new technological ground, but this is one of those games that can’t really be judged by technology alone. Instead, it relies on charm and just plain fun, and in the end it succeeds. Anyone who hasn’t played the Game Boy game will love the single player experience, though WarioWare vets will grow tired of it quickly. Fortunately, the focus on multiplayer fun is not in vain. The developers have successfully implemented creative, entertaining games that fit in wonderfully within the WarioWare universe. If you’ve got open-minded friends, this game will definitely provide some laughs and with a $30USD price tag it makes it a definite pick up for anyone that hasn’t played the GBA game. Unfortunately, once the novelty wears off, the game loses much of its appeal. Anyone that is already clocked serious time into the previous game and people that don’t have friends willing to play something different should just give this game a rental some weekend.