Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone


Nintendo's strange and bizarre WarioWare takes players on a frenetic ride through hundreds of inspired mini-games. It's almost impossible to explain the game's appeal with words, but its incredibly addictive and fun. Each mini-game lasts for just seconds, leaving little time to react, and things get even faster the more games you play. Its simplistic graphics actually work to WarioWare's advantage, giving it a satirical edge that lampoons even Nintendo's own classic titles. While the micro-games aren't deep, the sheer number and simplicity makes the game a piece of delectable thumb-candy for GBA gamers.

The first thing you need to know is that this is definitely not your normal videogame. In Wario Ware, Inc. Mega Microames - the greedy Wario character has started his own videogame company to cash in on the growing craze. He's started WarioWare, Inc. which specializes in sadistically fast games that give the player very little reaction time. You are one of his play testers and have to beat all his games in order to earn rewards and secrets. WarioWare's games are all incredibly simple to play, most requiring only a push of a button or the d-pad. However, It's not as easy as it sounds, because there are more than 200 of these included in the game back. Making things even crazier, beating a few games only makes the game throw them at you faster, and reacting almost instantly to each game gives you little time to think. Each of the mini-games lasts for five seconds and players must complete the required task before the time bomb at the bottom of the screen explodes. WarioWare has hired a couple of different developers who specialize in a specific type of game, such as sports, sci-fi, action and even classic Nintendo titles. Selecting one of these characters leads you to their mini-games, which are thrown at the player in random order, which makes it hard to anticipate what's coming next. This keeps you on edge, though you can somewhat get the hang of it after a few rounds. Unlike the Japanese games, which gave the player no idea what they're doing, the US version includes simple instructions that give you a hint. If you beat a game, you move on to the next one, but failing to complete a task means you lose a life, and you only have a couple of these. Stringing together a couple of these wins increases the speed of the mini-games. The pace gets faster and faster and faster until things gets incredibly manic. After you have beaten a string of these games, you'll come to a boss game which isn't timed, but is usually much harder than the rest of the mini-games.

Another cool aspect of the game is the Grid, which allows you to select and play any mini-game as many times as you want, and some can be quite addictive on their own. WarioWare offers plenty of variety and takes you through many different types of games. While some of the mini-games are somewhat normal quick takes on traditional games such as shooting, racing and jumping, others are surreal and strange and involve everything from brushing teeth, frying eggs and, picking someone's nose. Other mini-games have you skipping rope, running through mazes, collecting clothing, to catching falling items. Some of these are absolutely bizarre, especially the real-life levels which involve digitized images of cats and spiders. There are also karate chopping tests, flying mini-games, and mini-games where you have to do mundane tasks such as threading a needle, cooking an egg, or catch flying toast. One developer specializes in sports challenges such as catching baseballs, riding a motorcycle, blocking soccer goals, and running a hurdles competition. There are also loads of puzzle mini-games where you have to type in words, shoot the missing item and move a puzzle piece to the same shaped block. The simple controls and near-zero reaction times makes the puzzles and brain games particularly hard to beat, but you can make some progress if you really concentrate.

The coolest part of the game should appeal to fans of classic Nintendo games as mini-game versions of many of the company's NES 8-bit titles including Balloon Fight, Urban Champion, Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, Metroid, Dr. Mario, Duck Hunt and Zelda make special cameos in WarioWare. Other classic titles include a fly-swatting game, the Super Scope title and even the classic SNES racer F-Zero. In addition, there are a couple of Game & Watch mini-games thrown in for good measure. This is a really cool idea and Nintendo deserves credit for poking fun at themselves, though the essential fun of these classic games still shines through, if only briefly. These games have definitely held up quite well and their appearance here gives WarioWare a nice grounding of solid gameplay. In addition to these mini-games, there are also a couple of full-games that you can select from the menu - one is a simple jumping game that gets faster, while the other is a funny racing-type game where you have to kick the racers without making them fall off the edge. So what's the point of all these mini-games? Aside from the sheer manic joy that comes in playing them, you can unlock full games (including the complete Dr. Mario game) after you've beaten enough of the mini-games, which further adds to the pack's replay value. This makes for quite an addictive solo experience, but there are also several simple two player games included in the game as well, which further adds to the maniac fun. The coolest thing about these is that you don't need a link cable, or a second GBA system in order to play with a friend, which is a nice feature for kids.

WarioWare's simplistic, almost primitive graphics might be seen as a detriment in some ways, but these whacked-out visuals actually work to the game's advantage. The often hilarious visuals are filled with sight gags that add to the fun and give WarioWare a surreal, comic edge. It takes the look and blocky nature of 8-bit graphics and turns them on their head and successfully satirizes early video games. The music is also appropriately wacky and only adds to the humorous fun. Of course, the plot makes no sense, and some of the mini-games seem bizarre, but fans of Japanese pop-culture (J-pop) will be in heaven, as the game wears it's weirdness with shameless pride. It could have been disastrous, but the coolest and most addictive thing about WarioWare is that it throws so much at you so fast, you can't help but keep playing until you can't keep up. The speed gets insane very quickly, but this only adds to the fun. WarioWare never gets dull because it allows you to play through loads of different genres and since the games don't last long. There's so much variety that it's nearly impossible to get bored. This keeps the replay value extremely high and the challenge is skill-based, relying more on hair-trigger reflexes than anything else. WarioWare is a perfect title for the GBA with a huge number of short, simple games that should keep you happily in its clutches for many addictive hours.

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