reviews\ Jun 3, 2010 at 8:00 pm

WarioWare DIY Review


Game development is sort of like filmmaking with a much harsher learning curve. While anyone can grab a cheap camera and attempt to bring a story to life, it takes so much more effort to design a game. That’s not to say that filmmaking is easy, but it is definitely more user-friendly.

Occasionally, professional game developers try to remove the barriers to game design by developing a game with homemade creations in mind. This could be something as simple as a level editor, or something as complex as the RPG Maker series, which allows consumers to design their own role-playing games.

If those concepts sound intriguing, then Nintendo might have developed the perfect game for you: WarioWare: D.I.Y. This do-it-yourself adventure is packed with pre-made mini-games to play through, but players will quickly discover that those games are merely icing on the cake. The cake, as it turns out, is something you have to mix, bake, and frost yourself. And when you do, the results are quite amazing.

No Programming Required

During the training stages in WarioWare: D.I.Y., players will frequently encounter a common term used by game developers: AI (artificial intelligence). Unlike the AI they work with, which must be written from scratch using A+ mathematical skills, this game doesn’t require you to know much about the details of real-world programming.

Instead, WarioWare: D.I.Y. uses a deep (but easy to comprehend) system that involves a series of pre-programmed selections. With those selections, players can develop a five-second mini-game that features their own personal drawings, a few frames of animation, sound effects assigned to specific elements, an original score (which can be pieced together using instruments, quirky audio effects, or sounds from classic NES games), and basic touch screen interactivity.

If the five-second timeframe sounds crazy, then look no further than WarioWare’s other offerings: this is not a series that’s built on length. It’s a short-and-sweet, ultra-quirky franchise with challenges that will earn smiles from series veterans and baffle the minds of newcomers.

“Wait, so you’re telling me I have to tap the hand on screen to make it pick this guy’s giant nose?”

Yes, that’s exactly what WarioWare is telling you. But in WarioWare: D.I.Y., you don’t have to settle for silly and potentially snotty mini-games because you can make your own.

The Creation Process

After running through the first batch of pre-made mini-games offered in WarioWare: D.I.Y., I was a bit concerned about the process of making my own mini-games. It’s not that I didn’t want to, but having played with other creation tools, I was afraid it’d be an arduous process that was only fun when the game was complete.

That’s what makes WarioWare: D.I.Y. so different from the rest. The game provides a simplified Photoshop-style tool that lets you draw whatever you want. There are dozens of colors and background tiles (including one that paints a flame and another that paints Mario-inspired bricks). Three pen sizes are available, allowing players to draw (almost) as precisely as possible. To add even more detail, the image that you’re working on can be enlarged up to 16 times.

In addition to having a very well designed paint and drawing tool, the game contains a music creator that is really fun to use. Five audio tracks (four standard tracks plus one set aside for rhythm) are available. The drum set alone is pretty extensive: you can choose to use a standard percussion set, or use electric drums, toy drums (which is essentially an amusing set of sound effects), beat-box drums, Asian drums that provide an exotic jingle, or choose from 14 sounds made from pots and pans. My favorite is the 8-bit drums, which includes the fireball and death sound effects from the old Mario games.

The other instrument types are just as varied: piano, organ, harpsichord, melodica, flute, wood flute, trumpet, saxophone, acoustic and electric guitar, bass, banjo, violin, marimba, vibraphone, timpani, and more sound effects-based instruments than could ever be listed here.

Not For Every Wario Fan

The only downside to WarioWare: D.I.Y. is that it’s not technically a true WarioWare sequel. Since players are expected to have fun creating their own games, the pre-made content amounts to half (or less) of what it should be. WarioWare games are never long, and they rarely have the kind of replay value of, say, a Mario game. But if you were hoping this would be a true successor to WarioWare: Smooth Moves for Wii, you might be disappointed.

If, however, you’ve always wanted to make your own WarioWare mini-games – or have had the desire to create any game at all – WarioWare: D.I.Y. is an impressive package that won’t let you down.


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