Wario: Cheeky villain. Game designer.
A brand new, groundbreaking game console has released and is now the talk of Diamond City thanks to its unique TV and controller-with-a-game-screen combo. Now where have I seen something like this before? It’s almost as if Nintendo is poking fun at themselves, and not taking yourself too seriously is always a good thing. After seeing a commercial promoting this new console, Wario gets the devilish idea to create what will be the “best video game ever!”
Game & Wario
certainly isn’t that, and it’s not a system seller either. But it is the first game since the Wii U's launch to effectively use the GamePad in unique and hilarious ways which makes not only the game, but the console itself more appealing. After being let down by the Nintendo games at E3 for not using the GamePad enough
, Game & Wario
is exactly what I wanted. It’s bizarre, it’s funny, and best of all it’s fun for the entire family.
The game is comprised to three modes: single player across twelve games, multiplayer up to five players across four games, and a Miiverse Sketch mode that wasn’t live at the time of this writing. Even though it wasn’t live, it works similar to my favorite of four multiplayer games called Sketch. Sketch is essentially GamePad Pictionary in which one person holding the GamePad is given a word and you must draw it to life on the TV. Other players must then guess what it is you’re trying to draw. It’s as simple as that. The Miiverse version just does that on a wider scale, and has a voting system to launch the best drawings into the Miiverse spotlight.
Sketch, like many of the mini-games, is a great example of why Game & Wario
justifies the GamePad existing at all. How else would you see the word you need to draw while keeping it hidden from others? Better yet, this, and all multiplayer games are played using only the GamePad; no Wiimotes at all. That’s a first for Wii U, as even Nintendo Land
used Wiimotes for additional players.
In Game & Wario
, multiplayer is always either pass the GamePad type play, or in one unique game, each of two players hold one side of the GamePad and tap rhythm game-style dance beats back and forth at each other. I can’t say that this Disco dance game is all that great, but it gets points from me for trying to do something different while keeping the focus on Wii U's unique controller.
Many games in single player mode, like Disco, are a miss. But the gems in between are pure genius. Take Gamer for example (which seems to be a favorite among the entire GR staff
, I’ve heard). The 9-year-old Ninevolt is ticked because his mother beat his high score on his handheld game system, so he takes it to bed with him to play some more. Warioware
-style micro-games are played on the GamePad screen acting as the handheld system. Meanwhile, you must still watch the TV screen and be ready to press ZL+ZR to hide under Ninevolt’s covers if his mother comes in the room to make sure he’s sleeping. There are two ways to lose here: getting caught by Mom, or losing the micro-games. It adds a layer of strategy and difficulty by not being able to truly focus on the TV nor the GamePad—that simply can’t be found anywhere else but on Wii U.
Another interesting game was Design. The gameplay here isn’t deep or involved—in fact, it couldn't get any more straightforward. All you do is draw lines and shapes and angles on the GamePad’s screen with the stylus. But it puts your Geometry skills to the ultimate test because it actually measures the length, degree of angles, diameter of circles, and more with accuracy to see how close you were to the goals it set for you. I went into this fairly cocky considering my Carpentry experience (measure twice, cut once), but it still provided quite the challenge.
Other games have you snapping pictures of wanted suspects using the GamePad as a viewfinder, swiping to bowl a strike or to shoot nose-arrows at Wario bots, completing puzzles, and even dancing. Again, not many of these are all that special, but they do provide variety, replay value and additional challenge if you continue to play through each one again and again. Winning at each mini-game type earns you tokens to use in the Cluck-A-Pop which drops random prizes and collectibles consisting of in-game unlockables or toys to fiddle with. One such example is a bubble blower that lets you blow into the GamePad’s mic to make bubbles appear on the TV screen. This isn’t going to sell you on Game & Wario
if the mini-games don’t, but it does add a little extra replay value and it’s fun for a kid, or the kid in you, to mess around with.
Unlike the story depicted in Game & Wario
, Wario’s latest game isn’t going to move units. It’s lacking in depth, and while some of the mini-games are stellar, the majority of them are uninspired and dull. But for those Wii U owners sick of playing on Wiimotes and hungry for a fresh, funky experience using the GamePad, Game & Wario
will hold you over until something meatier comes along. And for a value price of $39.99—cheaper than the cost of a family of three (or more) to go out to the movies—it’s worth it for the hours of original, unusual, light-hearted, and occasionally memorable content.
Code provided by publisher. Exclusive to Wii U.