Review: Game & Wario plays it a little too safe
Oh Wario. You overly angry, overweight, whacky guy. You once had a series of platformers, which were quite amazing. You also had a plethora of hilarious microgame titles brimming with personality. So what exactly happened to your sense of creativity these days?
Game & Wario features the crazy antics of Mario's polar opposite in a collection of 12 minigames (16 counting the four multiplayer games). Much like WarioWare: Smooth Moves, which attempted to showcase all the different ways you could possibly use a Wii Remote, Game & Wario does the same thing for the Wii U GamePad. The result is entertaining and charming, but also quite underwhelming.
The problem is not all of the 12 minigames are equally as entertaining. Scraping the bottom of the barrel are mindless diversions like Kung Fu, which has you jumping from platform to platform; Patchwork, which tasks you with putting together pieces of a puzzle to create a picture; and Ski, which just has you tilt to control Jimmy T down a snowy hill.
The better games of the bunch come in the form of Arrow, for which you hold the GamePad sideways and shoot arrows at oncoming enemies, and Ashley, where the object is to guide the flying witch across a horizontal stage to collect blue dots. But even those aren't really anything special, and they certainly don't push the boundaries of the Wii U GamePad.
If I had to pick an absolute favorite, I wouldn't be in the minority here by admitting that it's Gamer. Much like my younger days, when I would play Super Mario Land and Burai Fighter long into the night with a lamp on to see a non-backlit Game Boy screen, Gamer tasks you with playing various microgames on the GamePad while keeping your eye on the TV to see whether your terrifying mother is about to bust you. It's definitely one of the more inventive games, standing high above the rest as far as quality and entertainment value goes.
So, out of the 12 minigames, at least 5 will definitely be worth your time, while the rest are forgettable.
The multiplayer games are actually really great, and it's sad more time wasn't spent making another extra 8 to match the amount of single-player ones. Not only are they inventive, they all require a single GamePad and no extra Wiimote. Genius!
Disco pits two players against one another in a Simon Says musical game of sorts, Fruit will have a single player trying to blend into the crowd and trying to steal fruit while the others try to guess who they were, and Islands has players launch Fronks on various boards to score points.
The best game, which also happens to be the least original, is essentially Pictionary. Players can team up and take turns sketching pictures on the GamePad, while the others try and guess what they are drawing before the time runs out. Trust me when I say that hilarity ensues.
Game & Wario wants to keep you playing by incentivizing you to beat high scores in each minigame to earn coins. These coins can then be spent in the Cluck-a-Pop machine, which pops out a random capsule with a goodie inside. Whether it's a small, nonsensical game in and of itself or a hint to do better at some of the other minigames, they're fun incentives to work toward.
The main problem is that you'll get through most of these games in about two hours or so. Sure, most of the minigames have multiple stages or difficulty levels, but it certainly doesn't help the fact that you'll be seeing the game's credits in such a short amount of time.
Game & Wario tries to sell itself as the game that highlights cool uses of the GamePad, but sadly, it ends up being a case of too little too late, especially since Nintendo Land already did all of this during the console's launch. Still, Game & Wario will surely entertain with its over-the-top humor. Wario's antics are fun to watch, and the minigames, while not all top-notch or very original, are entertaining. Just expect the experience to be a very short-lived one.