Since its conception as a Game Boy Advance exclusive back in 2003, the WarioWare videogame series has become synonymous with promoting the unique technological advantages of new Nintendo hardware. This, in a nutshell, is also what the Wii U exclusive Game & Wario attempts to accomplish albeit with a more sturdy approach. It’s still a mini-game compilation, but one in which each lasts a few minutes rather than seconds. A worthwhile family entertainment product then, and yet you can’t help but wonder what Nintendo could’ve accomplished has they stuck to that proven WarioWare formula.
Game & Wariois presented in a very similar fashion to the WarioWare series. A short story about Wario looking for a quick and easy way to make loads of money results in him deciding develop videogames for a brand new console. Coming up with ideas however, requires a little more inspiration. Each of the mini-games included in Game & Wario is of course one of these creations, or one of Wario’s friends’, and just as different courses were traditionally unlocked one-by-one in WarioWare titles, so too are different mini-games in Game & Wario.
The selection starts off very gently, with Arrow being an evolution of an early Wii U tech demo in which the player uses the touchscreen on the Wii U GamePad to fire arrows at enemies on their television screen. This is complicated by the addition of special arrow types and a boss encounter, among other minor changes to the formula, but is a generally welcoming introduction to the style of videogame that Game & Wario is aiming for. Of course, mini-game compilations aren’t quite as unique as they once were, but Game & Wario is easily one of the most well presented titles the genre has offered in years.
Photo encourages the player to use the Wii U GamePad is if it were a camera zooming in on a specific part of the animated scene playing out on the television screen, while Ski challenges you to steer your on-screen avatar down a short, simple course using the motion-control capability of the GamePad. These first three mini-games are the perfect microcosm of the gameplay that Game & Wario offers: there’s little here that you won’t have seen before, but it’s all delivered with that typical Nintendo finesse.
There is an option to return to the classic WarioWare formula under one of these banners, which is perhaps more depressing than it is heart-warming as it is without a shadow of a doubt the best gameplay option Game & Wario presents. Furthermore, the ‘toys’ seen in the WarioWare series return by way of the ‘collection.’ Acquiring tokens in the main gameplay mode will allow you to use the Capsule Machine on the hope of winning new items for the collection, and most of these items are an enjoyable distraction on their own right.
As stated above, the presentation of Game & Wario is immaculate. Nintendo in high-definition may not mean much to some gamers, but to those who have matured with the company throughout the years the expectation of bright, high quality visual design is one of the key reasons to invest in Wii U. Game & Wario doesn’t disappoint in this regard, with family friendly comedy matched perfectly to the bite-sized gameplay. All of the familiar characters from the WarioWare series return and the madcap stylisation of each as you begin each mini-game for the first time will undoubtedly raise a smile from gamers who have become fans of the series over the last decade.
The casual audience Nintendo capitalised on with the Nintendo DS and Wii arguably begun with the experimentation seen in the likes of WarioWare and Animal Crossing. However, that audience doesn’t seem quite as willing to adopt the Wii U as they may have been with previous consoles, and as such more titles like Game & Wario are needed. It may not be the unique and groundbreaking experience that WarioWare has presented in the past, but nevertheless Game & Wario is enjoyable videogame.