A gentle nudge from a high school buddy sent me to the original WarioWare on the GameBoy Advance. I remember the day I bought it pretty clearly; from picking it up in the mall to trying it out at a table at Red Lobster with my mother. It started a love affair with the series which, judging by the excitement felt around the impending release of its latest title, still lingers to this day. Also, now I have a craving for Red Lobster.
Throughout the years, I’ve played just about every WarioWare game, from the GameCube port of the first game, to the bizarrely compelling WarioWare Twisted, and I even made my own microgames in WarioWare D.I.Y. Unfortunately, the series has been somewhat hit and miss. The most recent, Game & Wario was kind of enh. It was a different take on the series, and it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t up to the standards.
WarioWare Gold is a return to the series regular formula. The idea is that it’s sort of a compilation of the best microgames from the best titles in the series.
GOLD. GOLD! GOLD!!
The core concept behind the WarioWare series is that you’re given a series of extremely brief games to play (microgames), and you have to figure out how to complete their simple goals in a short time span. Typically, it’s 5 seconds, but some run longer. These microgames come at you faster and faster until you fail 4 times, lose all your lives, and the game ends.
WarioWare Gold is exactly that formula. Initially everything is split into control type; mash (d-pad and a button), touch, and twist. Through those control types, you then progress through a variety of characters who each bring with them a unique brand of games. 9-Volt and his posse all provide games based on old Nintendo games, while someone like Dr. Crygor give bizarre games based more on real life, such as trying to get into a bathroom stall. Eventually, as you progress, you unlock mixed sets that require you to tackle all the above control styles.
THIS’LL REALLY SPRUCE UP MY APARTMENT
The WarioWare series has always been outlandish in its humour, but with Gold, it’s bizarre for another reason: It has full voice acting.
Any series linked to Mario franchise usually omits full voice acting, instead opting for cartoonish sound bites, rarely going beyond the sentence “Let’s go!” WarioWare gold features a full script, fully voiced. It’s weird.
Charles Martinet has voiced a wide cast throughout the Mario series, but is rarely given a chance to really show his acting chops. Even while Mario Sunshine had fully voice acted scenes for Peach and Bowser, Mario stayed silent. Here, Wario gives the full spiel. He explains the premise, gives instructions on how to play, and gives comments between microgames. It’s… Actually probably the best voice acting in the game, the rest is on the level of Saturday morning cartoon.
The story, as it goes, is that Wario is broke. In order to afford food, he decides to host a video game competition, planning on getting rich off the entry fees. He recruits his “friends” to make games for him, and the idea is that you’ve entered the contest in hopes of winning.
I mean, sort of. Each character’s chapter opens up with a completely unrelated story about that character, and there’s no clear way that it links into the game competition. Uh, okay, that’s fine. The intros are typically pretty amusing, so it’s acceptable that the narrative is unfocused. That’s basically how it has been throughout the series anyway, so it makes sense that Gold is equally unfocused.
MASH IT. TOUCH IT. TWIST IT.
Advertised proudly on the back of the box, WarioWare Gold features somewhere over 300 games, around 100 more than its predecessors. Many of them are essentially remastered games from the previous entries in the franchise, however a lot of them are entirely new creations. Even the ones that are carried over often contain changes that make them feel pretty fresh.
The game’s trademark bizarre humour is still intact, as well, featuring all the toast catching, snot sniffing microgames that made the original formula so entertaining. Some of the weird edge has come off with the loss of the Game Boy Advance’s technical limitations, but it isn’t any less entertaining. There are still plenty of “what the hell did I just play?” moments.
One minor deficiency that it does have in relation to the previous games is specifically with the twist controls. WarioWare: Twisted was a Game Boy Advance title with a sensor built into the cartridge. It was incredibly accurate, but more importantly, it made a little tick every few degrees of movement to give you physical feedback for your twists. It was a great feature that made the motion controls extremely satisfying. The 3DS doesn’t have the hardware to do that, so while the twisting is still pretty accurate, there is no physical ticking. On many of the games, there’s an audible tick that makes the attempt to emulate the old cartridge’s hardware, but it’s not quite the same.
Even with 300 microgames, WarioWare Gold still encounters the same issues with longevity that its predecessors did. When your gameplay involves progressing through objectives at breakneck speed, it can’t be that surprising when the whole game can be completed in less than two hours.
Of course, as a veteran of these games, I can’t exactly attest to its challenge. I remember a day when making progress in the Warioware series was met with occasional resistance, but those days are long gone. As a result, I just breezed through the game.
Did I have fun? Heck yes! I absolutely loved every moment of WarioWare Gold. It’s everything I could hope for from a WarioWare game. However, I can’t recommend it without a few caveats. It’s a solid title for the series, but it has it also comes with the same drawbacks, especially when it comes to depth and length. It’s over too quickly and there’s not a whole lot of compelling content to return to. There are toys to play with and challenges to dive into that will keep the gameplay loop going as long as you remain interested. How long that will be will vary greatly from person to person, but at least it’s always a great title to return to.
This game was reviewed using a cartridge version on a New 3DS XL. It was paid for by the author.