The mini-game bonanza Game & Wario, developed by Nintendo SPD/Intelligent System and published by Nintendo, serves up a fair taste of the bizarre mixed with the exciting. The Wario Ware series has had its share of ups and downs, often being considered a novel and fun series as well as confusing with some of its more off-the-wall style humor.
Game & Wario, while not having as many mini-games as some of its predecessors, ultimately makes up for that fact by utilizing the Wii U’s unique control scheme and the versatility of the bonus screen given by the Gamepad.
Enter Wario, greedy businessman who sees everything as an opportunity. Enter the Wii U, a fancy new video game console that is sure to dominate the market. This has been the essential premise for all of the Wario Ware series and Game & Wario stays true to the course.
Wario sees a new video game console (which bares strong resemblances to the Wii U) and decides to cash in by inventing some games of his own for said device. A number of Wario’s business partners/friends also make a bid to cash in with their own games. The story for Game & Wario is fairly tongue and cheek and gives a fair amount of laughs while also doing a great job of setting up the various mini-games. While ultimately story isn’t required for a mini-game collection, Game & Wario takes advantage of this by providing a funny context for each mini-game. The game is full of stories such as 9 and 18 volt’s story of trying to play videogames after lights out, or even just Jimmy T’s tale of skiing with some attractive women…oh, and a bear.
Game & Wario really shows off the Wii U’s capabilities by taking advantage of the Gamepad to give different perspectives to the mini-games as well as making the Gamepad more interactive. In Wario’s Pirate mini-game, players must use the Gamepad as a magic pirate shield to block incoming arrows that are being fired from boats on the TV screen. This sort of gameplay makes the mini-games live beyond just the television screen.
All mini-games handle smoothly and overall provide a great deal of fun and variety. Some (such as the pirate mini-game) require players to be more physically active, while others (such as the skiing mini-game) allow players to sit a bit more passively during gameplay. Game & Wario takes full advantage of the ability to move easily with the Wii U’s various controllers and brings gameplay to a more physical level, which creates higher levels of engagement amongst players. Some of the mini-games tend to be far more challenging than others, which can lead to a great deal of frustration as games must be beat at least once in order to unlock the next for single player.
The cartoon styles of Game & Wario while endearing seem to be a tad lazy on some aspects, especially given some of the newfound graphical capabilities of the Wii U. The series has always prided itself on having a simple and easily recognized look (one that is cartoonish and often resembles painting in some regards), but the novelty has worn off in many regards while some of the mini-games use this simple quality nicely. 9/18 volt’s game in particular utilizes more artistic-styled graphics on the Gamepad, versus the cartoon quality of the TV. Others often seem static (such as the quilted look to Kat & Ana’s puzzle game).
The music and sound effects of Game & Wario work and more importantly, work well to enhance the overall experience. The sounds are fun and unique and the simple music adds to the atmosphere of the various mini-games. All in all, the sound is good but not great. However the noises made by the game’s main cast are always a funny treat.
While the multiplayer of Game & Wario is incredibly fun, the fact that it does not include single-player games is a tad disappointing. However, it is incredibly easy to just take turns with the Gamepad. For a series that prides itself on multiplayer, the lack of variety hurts. The one thing the multiplayer does have going it for it is the fact that the games are all different, which increases the number of mini-games Game & Wario has to offer overall.
Multiplayer modes make great use of the Gamepad to give players different perspectives as they compete with one another, whether they are using the Gamepad or television as their screen for the mini-games.
Game & Wario is a lot of fun. While noticeably smaller than some of the other games in the series (at least in terms of the actual number of games), the new format of longer and more complicated mini-games is a nice change of pace.
Multiplayer leaves something to be desired as the “pass-the-controller” style multiplayer that can be pulled from single player comes off as lazy. However, the additional games in multiplayer definitely stand as a testament to how much more fun games with friends truly can be.
Game & Wario is certainly a game for players of all skill levels and interests as it provides a great and fun outlet for gatherings of all ages. If a gamer is looking for something that really shows off Nintendo’s use of the Gamepad, this is certainly a big, fat yellow example.