WarioWare, Inc: Minigame Mania is rather unique. While similar efforts occupying other platforms provided short mini-games that you can play and compete with friends in, Nintendo turned the genre upside down by presenting challenges that need to be completed in just a few seconds, requiring your complete attention as well as fantastic reflexes.
Story-wise, the game is fairly simple. Wario sees on TV that video game sales are increasing and so, in his continual desire to always want to bag himself money, decides to set up his own company. However, doing this is no easy task and he soon enlists the help of his various friends.
When you play through the game, you select a category, with more unlocking as you go through. Each has its own special focus: Jimmy for example covering Sports, Mona has Strange, Dribble has Sci-Fi, and 9-Volt has Nintendo games. Each stage grants you four lives and has you go through defeating various micro-games, with the games speeding up as you get higher. Once you have beaten the boss game for the first time, the stage is complete.
The micro-games vary in content considerably, ranging from landing a motorbike to entering a cave, to dodging attacks, to bouncing a watermelon off a person or sniffing in the remnants of a cold into your nose. They are truly and completely random, many being absolutely and quintessentially Japanese. Though, if that’s not your thing, then 9-Volts games will certainly be right up your alley with micro-games based on classic Nintendo properties such as F-Zero, Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Duck Hunt and more. It’s clear that part of the recent NES Remix games could have taken inspiration from this.
Once each stage is complete, you can go through the levels again to secure yourself a high score. This time though, as well as the speed increasing, the difficulty of the stages increases with each stage having three levels of varying challenge. This gives the game some added variety and so doesn’t seem as empty and repetitive. There, you can see how long you can last to achieve your high score, which you can now share thanks to Miiverse. Similarly, you can also access a mode where you can replay through the individual mini-games and, again, get a specific high score relating to whichever you chose to tackle.
In addition to the core mini-games, there are some hidden unlockables for you to find. One example of this is an altered port of Dr. Mario called Dr. Wario, which Nintendo has made changes to in comparison to the original. There are also games on various, smaller micro-games.
WarioWare, Inc: Minigame Mania is also one of the few Game Boy Advance titles on Wii U’s Virtual Console to have working multiplayer. As it didn’t use the Link Cable in the past, but rather had players control half of the console each, these can be fully played on the Wii U GamePad, with players needing to use the shoulder buttons.
Graphically, the game looks nice with crisp sprite-art. It can certainly be seen to have held up well, but would really look better in a higher resolution. The Virtual Console’s screen smoothing filter doesn’t really work well with this game, seemingly destroying the aesthetics. It works well in cutscenes, but during actual gameplay, it proves to be more of a distraction.
The game’s audio also impresses, with accompanying music and sounds being subtle whilst alerting you to your progress and when it is necessary to pay attention. Each micro-game is supported by its own soundscape, all managing to blend with one another rather well.
WarioWare, Inc: Minigame Mania is not one for those looking for massive depth, and it can be “completed” in an hour or so, but if you’re a person who enjoys testing reaction time and enjoys these small game challenges, then this game is definitely worth the investment.