This microgame collection includes dozens of games, but its focus is on empowering you to create your own.
- Loads of varied microgames
- Creation tools are powerful but accessible
- Assembly Dojo game design challenges are great
- Additional microgames are made available for free on a regular basis.
- Unwieldy online features.
If you've ever had the desire to develop your own game, or you're someone who can't play an existing game without thinking about ways it could be improved, WarioWare DIY might be just the creative outlet that you've been looking for. That's because in addition to the dozens of included microgames that you can play back-to-back at a frenetic pace just as you would those in any other WarioWare collection, this sizable offering includes powerful but accessible tools for creating and sharing your own. It's true that these games are limited in scope and will be played for seconds rather than for hours, but getting them to play exactly as you want them to can still be an enjoyable challenge, and hey, even the world's best game designers had to start somewhere.
Many of WarioWare DIY's included microgames need to be unlocked before you can play or reverse engineer them, and you need to spend time exploring all of the game's features in order to get all 90 of the games. The menu system can take a little figuring out, but it makes a lot of sense once you spend some time with it. The main menu takes the form of a small town where any of five different buildings can be tapped to access submenus. The DIY Studio is home to the Super MakerMatic 21 machine used to develop microgames, record soundtracks, and pen four-panel comics--all of which can be enjoyed up the street in the DIY Shop. The Distribution Center is where you go to share your creations with other players (or with the WiiWare game WarioWare DIY Showcase), the Options Garage is exactly what its name suggests, and the WarioWare Inc. building is your one-stop shop for tutorials and freelance work. It's also where some of the game's most interesting challenges are waiting to be unlocked.
The first time you visit WarioWare Inc., there are only two options available to you: You can work as a freelance artist creating sprites for games that are otherwise finished, or you can take lessons in game development. Freelance work is fun because it familiarizes you with the simplistic graphics tools and also affords you a very quick way to see some of your creations in action. At the start of each freelance project you're presented with templates that clearly show what Wario is after, but you're also told that you're free to completely ignore the templates if you prefer. You might be asked to trace pictures of rabbits with and without crossed eyes to appear in a whack-a-mole-style game but instead opt to fill their roles with zombies whose heads cave in satisfyingly when you hit them, for example. The "DIY 101" lessons are much more time-consuming but do a great (if occasionally long-winded) job of introducing you to the concepts of AI (action items), triggers, switches, win conditions, and the like as you're taken step-by-step through the creation of three microgames. Finish those, and you gain access to the Assembly Dojo, where you're presented with 32 work-in-progress games and asked to finish them with only minimal guidance. One, for example, requires that you create an AI for a car that causes it to move when tapped, but only if the onscreen traffic light is green. Completing these occasionally challenging projects is extremely satisfying, and if you can make it through all of them, there's no doubting that you're ready to create your own microgames from scratch.
Starting out with a completely blank canvas is pretty daunting, but if you have a realistically achievable game idea in mind, you shouldn't have too much trouble realizing it. In part, that's because you're forced to approach the creation of each game in a regimented way. You start out with a background image, you create and animate objects (with placeholder or clip art if you prefer), you create behavioral AI and triggers for those objects, and then you figure out where the stylus comes into play and what's required of the player to win. Even creating the AI and triggers for objects, which is the most complex part of WarioWare DIY game creation, doesn't take long to figure out, because the way it's presented is so user-friendly. Every menu is stylus-driven, and you're rarely presented with more than six options at any one time. The only tricky part is figuring out how to use these options in tandem with one another so that a simple tap of the stylus in-game can simultaneously cause an object to switch to a different animation, play a sound effect, and alter its movement, for example. Impressively, you can instantly test your game at any time during the creation process, which is not only extremely useful, but just might give you a new level of appreciation for the work that professional game designers do--especially if you "ship" a game and then realize that there's a problem with it.