BY NINTENDO, 2003
25 WORDS OR LESS:
Help build Wario’s software empire by playtesting seconds-long games made by him and his likewise goofy cohorts.
It all starts out so innocently: our favorite nega-plumber Wario is just spending a lazy day in front of the television when the clicker lands on the local news. The on-site reporter tells the audience of a hot new Game Boy game that the masses just can’t resist. Called Pyoro, the game apparently stars the goofy cousin of Pengo. For some reason it’s hugely popular, which slowly gets Wario thinking…
Games! Of course! What better way for that fat bastard to increase his already bulging fortune? Wario wastes no time in setting up his new game company, and calls up some of his friends to help design his products. There’s the suave Jimmy, Nintendo freak 9-Volt, cute gelato server Mona, gassy mad scientist Crygor and others. The newly-founded company then gets down to business, leaving you the player to try out their bizarre titles. And so begins WarioWare.
Their games have a twist, however: they all last less than ten seconds on average. Each character hits you with a barrage of these fleeting "microgames" and it’s your job to get through every one and make it to the end. There’s even somewhat longer "boss" stages. The concept seems odd, but you quickly understand once you begin to play. You probably won’t understand the games themselves, though, as virtually each one is wholly screwy in some sort of way.
To describe all 200+ of them here would be both overkill and likely cause a stroke, so in true WarioWare fashion, here is but a sample of what you’ll have to face: jumping over wheeled hot dogs, brushing teeth, frying an egg, picking a nose, trapping an alien, slicing enemy ninjas in a cyberpipe, parking a car, trying to shake hands with a dog, tallying frogs on a lillypad, blowing up Mother Brain and failing at shot-put. Some of those may sound normal, but the ways they’re approached are quite Japanese in nature and in the end, lead to a boggled mind. But if you’re familiar with other games that run along the same path, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about; just sit back and let the laughs roll in.
Once you begin making progress, bonus games start appearing. These are minigames (mini? micro?) based one of the other microgames and will please you if you’re in the mood for something that actually lasts, even though they’re just as simplistic as the rest of the game. Half of the extra games are for 2 players, using just one GBA. Player 1 uses the L button to control and player 2 uses R. Cute diversions like Hurdles and the infamous (to us anyway) Chicken Race will strengthen the bond of you and your friend. It could happen.
The visual style of the game is what makes it in the end. The sheer wackiness assaulting you is like revisiting the Game Boy Camera: those who remember its bizarre editing suite will no doubt feel at home with things like digitized people used as makeshift Arkanoid paddles and frequent parodies of Nintendo’s own games. Surrealism rules with an iron fist in this game.
WarioWare still manages to run into questionable terrority, though. The main part of the game — getting past the characters and their microgames — can be cleared in far less than a day. Most of the fun, then, comes from replaying the stages, uncovering the remainder of the microgames and unlocking the "full" bonus games from the menus. Outside of that, the 2-player games can also add a degree or two to the overall package. Keep all this in mind if you’re considering a purchase and you’re one of those people that marathon the new GBA games you buy.
It would seem that WarioWare is the perfect "burst game": besides perfectly filling those little gaps of boredom, one can play it through the first time they get it, let a month or two go by, then start it all up again ad nauseam. All things considered, it’s a highly original and highly fucked up little cartridge, with content both unexpected and yet oddly expected of a company such as Nintendo. Not to mention it’s a refreshing load off from the 800 Wario Land games. —Ray Barnholt
WarioWare official site