Although some will disagree, I think it is great that there are Nintendo 3DS titles still coming, and first-party ones at that. It is a platform that still has something left to give. Sure, the Nintendo Switch should be home to all of the big hitters, but there is no reason why the 3DS should be left to perish considering people out there are still purchasing systems to this day.
I always remember the day that I read about the first WarioWare game on the Game Boy Advance, reading that each game within would only be around five seconds long and thinking, “What, that’s just silly!” and without any thought, I disregarded it before I had even seen it. In my defence, I was young and I think it is safe to say that I was wrong. It is also safe to say that although WarioWare is silly, it’s silly in the best way imaginable.
For those that have never played a WarioWare title before (firstly, shame on you) then there really is no better place to start than with WarioWare Gold, as it is a ‘best of’ title with a smattering of new content. You play small mini-games known as microgames, that last for around five or so seconds and you beat them by doing a very simple task such as pressing the A Button at the right moment. To keep it from becoming overly simple and easy though, they’re thrown at you at random and you have very little thinking time. You always get told what to do as it starts up but it’s how quick your brain processes that information in correlation to the scenario you are given, that determines how well you will do. For example, the top screen might say ‘Jump’, you look down to the bottom screen and you see a character, and a skipping rope swinging around towards it. It’s obvious what you need to do in this instance, but it’s always easier said than done. That is what WarioWare is all about.
When you start the main game, you are given three rows, each corresponding with a different input for the microgames. The top row’s microgames all use just the D-Pad and the A Button, the second uses tilt controls and the third uses touch screen inputs. Each of the categories contains five levels and all you have to do is beat the boss level on each of them, without losing four lives to progress. The boss level usually appears after around 15-17 games in so it isn’t too long or challenging beating each one. Once you’ve beat each of these initial 15 levels, more levels will unlock, but not many. I saw the end credits within two hours of starting the game, but don’t let that fool you, as WarioWare has never just been about getting to the credits.
You see, the core appeal to the WarioWare titles is that they are infinitely replayable. Going back to previous levels and getting past the first boss stage doesn’t end the game this time around like it did when you first went on the stage, it just carries on and on until you lose all four lives. There haven’t been many games that continually drag me back in as soon as I die, but WarioWare has always been one for me, and it’s no different here, all because I’m desperate to keep getting an improved score. The further you progress in a level, the faster it becomes and the less time you have to complete each microgame. It gets to a point where it seems impossible to get any further, but believe me, it is possible, you just need to have good reflexes. The boss stages are usually a bit of a reprieve, as not many of them are all that difficult and beating them results in you gaining back a life, imperative if you want to go for the high score.
Seemingly, every single microgame you play will be wacky, weird and random, and that’s what I truly love about the series. One minute you’re unrolling toilet paper and the next you will be copying the moves of a dancing cat. You will be constantly beating microgames and looking in disbelief at what you have just witnessed. As they always have been throughout the series, my favourite microgames featured in WarioWare Gold are ones based on Nintendo games or products. Here, they can range from pulling the Master Sword out in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, to avoiding bananas in Super Mario Kart, to defeating an enemy in Fire Emblem Awakening. It has to be said that the weak microgames are the ones that involve the microphone, they simply just don’t work and you can often fail because the system doesn’t pick up any sound (or blowing) which can be quite annoying, especially if it means you fail completely.
Considering this is meant to be a best of title that showcases everything that the series has given us down the years, there are a few omissions which mean it isn’t a complete history of the series. WarioWare: Smooth Moves, which is my personal favourite, isn’t really featured other than a few microgames here and there that involve tilting. You can understand why, however, as the 3DS simply cannot imitate some of the motion-controlled microgames that featured in Smooth Moves. Another omission is WarioWare Snapped, a lesser-known title that was only released on the Nintendo DSiWare, which doesn’t get any love either, even though it would have worked as the 3DS has a camera built-in. But alas, it was a bit naff anyway.
Challenges are unlocked once you see the end credits, another reason why you shouldn’t worry about seeing them after a couple of hours. Challenges transform the way you play WarioWare in the different variations it presents to you. One such example is a split-screen challenge in which the microgames come at you none stop, with no rest in-between each of them. The top screen will have a microgame that you have to complete, and the moment it’s finished another appears on the bottom screen and it just keeps going like that until you lose all of your lives. It’s a very simple, but effective way of playing the same microgames in a whole new way so that the game still feels fresh. There are many of these different challenges that keep you entertained if you want more. One challenge gives you only one life while another starts off super hard and only gets harder from there. Many fans of Game and Wario will be pleased to know that GAMER (under the name, Sneaky Gamer here) comes across too, in which you have to play microgames on the bottom screen, while keeping an eye on the top screen and making sure you don’t get spotted playing games, as you’re supposed to be asleep. It was one of the better games in Game and Wario so it’s great that a bigger audience now gets to experience it too.
Missions are another great way to further enhance the lifespan of the game and there are absolutely tons of them to unlock. They can range from getting past a certain score in a stage to finishing one of the challenges in a certain amount of time. Players that want to unlock every single one of them will add so many more hours to their playtime. There are also tons to unlock too, and its done by using coins that you have earned in game, on a capsule machine that then unlocks a random item in the toy room. I’m never a massive fan of a random unlock, but it at least makes you want to keep earning coins and buying more capsules. It can be annoying though, as some of the items in the toy room are genuinely good and its very conceivable that you might not get some of the best ones until last, which is a bit of a shame considering how much fun they can be.
WarioWare Gold is a culmination of all the wacky and wonderful Wario titles we have had over the last 15 years. Although it is missing, for obvious reasons, some content from the other games, you are getting the definitive version of WarioWare. A lack of local download play is a blow, and even though it features fully voiced cutscenes this time around, you will still grow bored and skip them altogether. If you are new to the series, this is an amazing place to start. If you have played the others to death then there is still enough here to warrant you getting hooked all over again. It is utter madness from start to finish.
Version Tested: Nintendo 3DS
Review copy provided by Nintendo