Game & Wario Review

The trademark Wario weirdness is still there, but Game & Wario is too uneven and frustrating to wholly recommend.

by

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Ten years ago, WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! for the Game Boy Advance garnered attention and acclaim for its skewering of the minigame trend. The game featured "microgames" lasting only a scant few seconds, punctuated by utterly bizarre imagery and even a bit of retro flair. It was a resounding critical and commercial success, and future installments took advantage of unique features of Nintendo's platforms while still maintaining the series' frenetic pacing. However, Game & Wario, the Wii U follow-up to the franchise, takes things in a different direction, and winds up becoming the uneven minigame mess that the original WarioWare poked fun at so long ago.

Game & Wario is a collection of 16 minigames that make use of both the Wii U's unique GamePad controller and the TV screen. Each game is themed around one of the weird residents of Diamond City, so longtime WarioWare players can expect to see familiar faces as well as some recurring series imagery. (Some of the backgrounds contain funny in-jokes for fans, so keep your eyes peeled.) Twelve games are single-player focused, while the remaining four are multiplayer affairs. Rounding out the package is an additional Miiverse-enabled application.

While the multiplayer and Miiverse applications are available from the outset, the single-player games have to be unlocked by completing the previous game to a satisfactory degree. The games can then be replayed on various additional difficulties for score challenges and to earn extra credits to spend on unlocking extras at the Cluck-a-Pop machine. The problem is that many of the collection's best games aren't unlocked until you've cleared some of the worst of the bunch. For many of these games, once you've cleared them, you'll never feel compelled to touch them again.

The issue that many of the collection's most frustrating games have is that they ask that you use the big, bulky Wii U GamePad as a precision aiming device. Unlike the Wii Remote, the size and shape of the controller makes it difficult to focus precisely, particularly if you're asked to hold it one-handed. The very first game, Arrow (which feels much too similar to Takamaru's Ninja Castle in Nintendo Land), proves frustrating off the bat as your shots miss targets the game indicated were in your line of fire. Camera is a bit more forgiving, but it's essentially a hidden-object game that requires you to have very steady controller-holding hands in order to take clear photos of people and things in the environment.

Other games focus more on the tilt sensitivity of the GamePad with mixed results. Skiing and Bowling are basic implementations of the sports they represent with tilt controls to move or aim. Kung Fu feels like a 3D version of Doodle Jump: you use the tilt function to control where a constantly bouncing character lands. Ashley takes the titular witch on an adventure that initially looks like an interesting parody of cute Japanese arcade shooters, but turns out to simply be a slow-paced tilt-to-move collection and obstacle-avoidance game.

When the tilt sensitivity acts up in these games, it's tough to discern if the problem is you, the controller calibration, or just poor design. But there's poor design present, too--ironically, in a game called Design, where you're asked to draw shapes to very precise measurements. If you don't know exactly what a 25-degree angle or a circle with a 2.5-inch circumference looks like off the top of your head, you'll be tempted to dig out your old geometry class supplies just so you can proceed. Other minigames are just retreads: Bird, one of the final games, is the classic Pyoro bean-eating game that has appeared in almost every WarioWare title in some form. Aside from the visuals, it has barely changed from the original, which you can still buy on the DSiWare eShop.

But among these average and even outright annoying minigames are some true gems. Patchwork is a charming, relaxing puzzle game where you fit shapes into outlines to create pixel images. Gamer puts classic WarioWare-style microgames on the GamePad with an added challenge: you're playing past your bedtime, so you have to look and listen for signs of your seemingly demonic mom checking to see if you're asleep, and hide at appropriate times. The brilliant Taxi is the offspring of Crazy Taxi and a first-person shooter, with some Minecraft-inspired aesthetics thrown in. In this game, you're fighting off alien invaders with a cab-mounted bazooka on the GamePad screen, then picking up passengers and dropping them off at their destinations before a tense battle with the extraterrestrial mothership. It's a creative, fun concept that you can't help but think would be awesome if it were fleshed out as a full game.

Most of these games feel like dull, low-effort products, however, and multiplayer is similarly uneven. Islands has you launching small colonies of Fronk creatures at a target, and suffers from the same precision problems as games like Arrow, but it's still enjoyable in that you can attempt to muck things up for other players by knocking their creatures off the board. Disco is a simple two-player pattern-mimicking game where you try to copy another player's set of controller commands set to funky music. Fruit is a game where one player tries to blend into a crowd and steal fruit while avoiding detection by other players; it's a very cool concept, but too slow-paced for a party atmosphere. Finally, Sketch is the classic Pictionary concept with a bit of wacky Wario imagery tossed in for good measure.

The final bit of the package is a Miiverse-enabled sketch-sharing program and an extension of the Sketch minigame. You can suggest and download "words" to draw quick 60-second sketches of. You can then upload these sketches for the original word suggester to admire and (possibly) giggle at. You can also check trending words to see many images that people have drawn of popular subjects. It's a cute diversion, but hardly a game seller. (You might also encounter connection errors when uploading and downloading.)

Overall, Game & Wario doesn't have the consistency or the creativity expected from the series. Seeing Wario's once-awesome microgame galleries turned into a bog-standard minigame-fest is disappointing in its own right, too. WarioWare farted in the face of conventional game design, and further installments made creative use of new control schemes without losing the pacing and craziness the original established. Game & Wario, in contrast, feels like the aged former punk rocker who has got an office job now but still wants to convince the kids that he's hip and with-it. There's still some spark of that rebellious Wario genius, but for the most part, the game seems to give up and settle for stable mediocrity.

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The Good
Has a lot of bizarre humor
A handful of really good minigames
Nice Miiverse application
The Bad
Quality of minigames is highly uneven
It's annoying to suffer through bad games to get to good ones
Minigames that demand precise aiming are cumbersome
Too few games and, by extension, too few good games
5
Mediocre
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37 comments
gregrout
gregrout

I bought this game and I have to say I'm having a lot of fun playing it with my kids. One of the games not mentioned is one where one person uses the gamepad and sneaks around stealing apples, while the other players act as agents watching a parade of random Miis, trying to pick out the thief. We got quite a kick out of that mini-game.   

raziel2kain
raziel2kain

what would happen to nintendo if many of their first party games turns to be mediocre?

Magoto2007
Magoto2007

FfROM THE SAME CREATORS OF "SKYWARD SWORD'S CONTROLLERS ARE INNACURATE"

guard12
guard12

Warioware was one of my favorite GBA games. Tis a shame too see this one get such a bad review :\

Megaemman
Megaemman

Bought thinking it was fun but I am returning it be cause its boring and doesn't even come close to the wario ware games , they just have 16 games in all and four multiplayer games . They only two games that come close we're,pirates and the arrow game all the others were lame reproductions of iOS/android games you could play already. It is not even remotely close to smooth moves ....it feels more like a demo than am actual game .

theblackfrog
theblackfrog

some ppl say they having a blast with it.....dont know. there should be a demo to judge on your own

Mugzippit
Mugzippit

This game was meant to be what Nintendoland ended up being, the release on launch that demonstrates multiple ideas of what the gamepad could be used for. It kinda became redundant now but it is being sold for a lot less then what Nintendoland was upon release.

Metronoid
Metronoid

I will get it when my mini 500gb hd arrives. I just love the Wario Ware games ! 

blackadder88
blackadder88

Wario was one best  gameboy game  ,, i had 1 2 3 4 .. 

Coldpain
Coldpain

Wow, what a shocker! I'm not a huge fan of the series but you would think the hardware would've been able to knock this one out of the park! I guess technically it did, and just happened to smack someone's girlfriend in the face...

theblackfrog
theblackfrog

i hope nintendo dont rush just to get some stuff on wii u!?!

alastor529
alastor529

Remember how AWESOME smooth moves was?

anfunny
anfunny

I was a huge fan of the original (100%'d 3x). So much potential in these games. So sad.

thermalmotion
thermalmotion

I think smooth moves was the worst game I ever played. I get a headache just thinking about it.

komuchen
komuchen

Why no Warioland, Nintendo? :(

Helios_Sun
Helios_Sun

I own a Wii u and this game looks shit lol

xolivierx
xolivierx

They should call it Wario's Smooth Shovelware.

GrandMaster555
GrandMaster555

I've got a Wii U starving for games and I doubt I will get this one.

Naylord
Naylord

"WarioWare farted in the face of conventional game design, and further installments made creative use of new control schemes without losing the pacing and craziness the original established." Best line from any review I've ever read

baxwam
baxwam

I agree with this review. 

comb5
comb5

I was really hoping for a legitimate Warioware game. Pretty disappointing.

uglypinkmoose
uglypinkmoose

Loved Warioware.... I suppose I'll stick with that 

da_chub
da_chub

I liked warioware wii and ds for like 2 hours. That's what I expect from this. But I'll still be trying it at some point.

anfunny
anfunny

@thermalmotion Touch was far worse.

XboxGuy1537
XboxGuy1537

@BPoole96 It's a lot better than people think. The new Miiverse thing is really cool, and there are a lot of cool online aspects to it. The tablet acts as a webcam as well, so it's really convenient.

fatee
fatee

@xolivierx @XboxGuy1537 @BPoole96 If you ever break or just plain ol' wear old your tablet controllers - that's $140 to replace. Ouch. 
I don't know about you guys, but I've replaced my controller for my PC and PS3 twice each now, just from wear.

Game & Wario

  • Wii U
Game & Wario features a collection of games that use only the Wii U GamePad controller.
ESRB
Everyone
All Platforms
Cartoon Violence, Crude Humor
Check out even more info at the Game & Wario Wiki on Giantbomb.com
Average Score See all 26 Player Reviews
5.7
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