Wario Ware Inc. Mega Microgames GBA Review

Just when you thought Nintendo couldn’t do things any more strangely, they bring out this collection of bizarre minigames and wow the gaming community once again. Let me rephrase – they wow the gaming community that’s willing to invest time in something very different. Lets face it, games like this aren’t going to attract everyone…but WarioWare certainly knows how to rewards its fans with some of the most addctive gameplay ever to grace the GBA. Yes, and that includes Tetris.

Graphics

Unsurprisingly, like the majority of Nintys hand held offerings, the graphics of the game are rendered in bright, bold colours, which are largely 2d and comic-book in styling. Some of the minigames show photo-realistic images, but for the large part they are being manipulated by crazy cartoon hands going up their noses or some similar madness, this isn’t really important; I mean, who needs graphics when your whole point is to be completely insane? Actually, Ninty have one a nice job with these none-the-less; everything moves fluidly, unless its meant not to – like in the parodies of retro games, movement is erratic with about two frames of animation because its supposed to be a take-off.

Gameplay

Things really couldn’t be simpler; you play against several other people, one after the other, and your task is thus; win a series of mini-games, without losing too many, and you will defeat your enemy and send them off to the ice-cream parlour. It’s that easy. So, how is it fun? Well, it really is; there are more than 200 games to discover, each lasting roughly five seconds; the variety offered therefore is mindboggling. There are a number of games that Ninty fans will no doubt recognise, such as a level in which a retro Mario has to jump into a goomba, and a Zelda clip in which your aim is to run into a cave…not to mention a guest appearance by ROB, the Family Robot. For the uninitiated, there are plenty of arcadesque games which involve avoiding cars on the highway, piloting a biplane and picking a womans nose…all in the line of duty. Your only clue as to what to do in each minigame is a message flashed up on the screen a moment before the timer starts – this can be anything from “Stomp!” to “Pick!”, which adds to the manic tension of the game as your brain feverishly tries to process what the heck its supposed to do. Think something like “Bishi Bashi Special”, and you will get the general gist of this package. Because they are so short, there is really no chance of getting tired of any of the games, although as you progress they do get substantially harder; this is done all the more cunningly with the repetition of earlier games, but with a slight twist to catch you out. Probably the best example of this is a level in which Wario must jump over a vehicle heading towards him; in earlier levels, the vehicle simply makes a beeline in his direction, but in later levels it will strategically stop about a centimetre away before moving on again, hitting you just as your character touches the ground after a mis-timed jump. Lovely stuff that pokes fun at you for being so gullible.

There is also a multiplayer option to prolong the games appeal; these can be played on the same gameboy, with wonderfully simple gameplay. This adds to the overall enjoyability of the game, not to mention its lastability.

So, the flaws…although the game doesn’t really have many, it does have one major one which is the length of the game. Completing it, in the sense that you gather all of the characters, get to the top of the progress board and defeat Wario, will really only take a matter of hours. There is greater longevity in the fact that you can replay each level after unlocking it, and there are a large number of minigames to be found on each level – meaning that you can play it over and over again to unlock all of the minigames for free play. This collection is really the only compelling part of the replay value; there is also a mode in which you try and get a high-score, and subsequently try to beat it, on various minigames, but playing the same five-seconds of footage over and over quickly becomes tedious. So, are you willing to spend £30 on a game in which you will see all it has to offer within a week?

Other than that, there is little else to say about this game…the lack of thinking time may aggravate some people on their first play, but that is really what gets the buzz going and stops this game from becoming a dire bore to play. Its great fun and highly addictive, but its really only a rush; once that feelings gone there’s really very little to keep you coming back for more. A shame, as what it does offer is very nice.

Sound

Nice tunes that are repeated over and over and over, some with lyrics that are nice…don’t quite drive you mad, but some more variety would have been nice. There are also plenty of blips and sound effects as you stomp on creatures/shake hands with a dog. This ties in with the overall retro feeling of the games however, so perhaps some people will appreciate it for that… There are a few tinny voice samples that I couldn’t make out very well, but nothing truly dire. The music speeds up as you work your way onto harder levels, which adds to the pace and tension of the game.

Lifespan

Like I said already – there isn’t really one. There’s minigames to collect and highscores to obtain, but really, how many people can be bothered with that? However, you can unlock full versions of Dr Mario and Sheriff, which add something to the gameplay – at least Dr Mario will kill a few hours with its Tetris-Like addictive gameplay – but it’s a shame that these retro games are all that would keep someone hooked on this new offering. Probably something that you would come back to and play for a few minutes every now and then, but probably not enough to keep you going like Mario and Luigi, or Super Mario Advance. Things are slightly less bleak if you have a friend that will play the game with you, as the two-player options are good fun.

Overall

A wonderful little gem which is unparalleled for its addictive pick-up-and-play gameplay, but just doesn’t have the lastability to compete with other titles; if you pick this up, make sure you have something else to play in between your bursts of WarioWare goodness. Don’t get me wrong, this is a fantastic game to play, and you will want to see it through to the end…just the end will probably be nigh in a couple of days at the most. It’s the kind of thing that would probably be handy for brief trips, or during load times in games after you have completed the main game. Everyone should give it a go – whether you will still be looking at it with the same enthusiasm in a couple of weeks is another question.

9 out of 10
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