WarioWare Gold (3DS) Review
The WarioWare franchise is one of my favourites, offering fast-paced and frenetic action that forces players to do the most ridiculous of things in the heat of the moment. Smooth Moves is probably my all-time favourite, because of how fun it was with friends, but I never had a huge chance to reach that level of familiarity with the first three or so games on the Game Boy Advance and DS. WarioWare Gold is the first game in five years, and while it’s not a huge amount of truly new content, it represents one of the most comprehensive WarioWare packages that Nintendo has ever put out.
WarioWare Gold sees Wario planning a video game tournament but in typical Wario fashion, he wants it to be rigged to ensure that he is the one who wins the prize money. As you’d expect, Wario enlists the help of his WarioWare friends to help him win the tourney, meaning that the bizarre cast like Mona, 9-Volt and the snooty witch Ashley all make their return to the franchise. Much like in previous games, each of the characters has their own playlists that you’ll be able to approach in the Story Mode, but I’ll touch on that later. The most surprising thing about Gold is just how high the production values are for a game of this calibre. The characters themselves are all fully voiced this time around, giving them a greater sense of personality than previously seen in WarioWare games. It’s bizarre but it makes me wish Nintendo licensed these characters out to an animation studio or something, it’s just that good.
WarioWare Gold is comprised of over 300 microgames pulled from the series’ fifteen-year history while adding in a few original ones too. Microgames are a pretty fantastic suit for the 3DS especially. You’ll play a playlist of them but each one only lasts three to five seconds and has you completing a specific task – whether it’s moving two lovers closer together, picking a nose or squeezing ketchup onto a hamburger long distance. They’re weird little tasks that are over so quickly it’s hard to imagine anyone getting tired of them. My personal favourites are the ones where you play a few seconds of a remixed NES or Virtual Boy game – like shooting down an enemy in Metroid.
The microgames are split into four parts – button mashing, motion controls, touch-based controls and voice or microphone-based controls. While I was not quite confident enough to blow or yell at my 3DS in public, most of the game types work well to make use of almost every function of the 3DS hardware. A lot of the fun of WarioWare games is how, in the heat of the moment, they can get you to do some pretty insane and goofy things and switching between these four control schemes in the span of a few minutes is especially fun.
In Story Mode, which will take most people about two or three hours to complete, each of Wario’s supporting characters is given a playlist with a control type and theme. Following completion of a few of these, you’ll face off against a boss character who has a slightly longer game to complete. These are pretty fun moments though the nature of the game means they’re over pretty quickly, as such I’d probably have liked to have seen more.
Most players will easily unlock all the microgames in about six or so hours, but veterans to the series will agree with me when I say that a lot of the appeal of WarioWare is to master each microgame with great proficiency to get the highest scores possible. Some players might question the value of Gold given that it’s comprised of content from previous games, and while that is true there is some things that need to be qualified here. Most of them have been updated with new visuals to give them a consistent look and feel, and finally, almost all the games these microgames first debuted in were fantastic, so having them all in one place is even better.
After you’re done with the main story, finishing microgames earns you coins which can be used in a capsule machine to unlock various things, though their value to most players is questionable. You’ll unlock alarm clock functionality that won’t turn off until you complete a few microgames, you’ll also be able to unlock character cards and even some extra games too. Mewtroid 2: Return of Sameow is an unlockable game where you gun down enemies as they approach a helpless cat, for example. These games are fun diversions, but I don’t really enjoy them as much as the more score-oriented, faster-paced microgame playlists but they’re nice for a laugh but get old quickly.
Visually speaking, you can’t really stuff up the visuals of a WarioWare game but Gold is easily the best looking game in the franchise yet. The characters look fantastic, they animate well and the worlds they live in are bizarre but at the same time authentic. Adding voice work to the mix just elevates that to another level, as every major character here has been cast with great talent. Sure, there’s a little bit of a jarring moment when you hear these characters speak for the first time, but there wasn’t a voice for a character that I felt didn’t fit them for the entirety of Gold’s slightly ambitious story.
WarioWare Gold serves as both an excellent tribute to the series’ fifteen years of absurdist humour as well as the perfect entry point for new fans. Comprising of some of the best microgames the series has had to offer, WarioWare Gold represents the best way to experience the zany eclecticism that is WarioWare. It’s just a little bit of a shame that if you’re not into chasing scores, it’s all over all too quickly.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
+ Huge Selection of Microgames
+ Hilarious Voice Work
+ Fantastic Use Of The 3DS
- Replay Value Is Questionable