WarioWare Touched! Import Hands-On

We check out Wario's touchy-feely DS adventure.

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WarioWare Touched! is the recently released minigame extravaganza from Nintendo starring everyone's favorite antihero, Wario. The original game in the series was one of Nintendo's pleasant surprises when it debuted on the Game Boy Advance two years ago. The WarioWare formula of throwing all manner of fast-paced and simple minigames at players has proven to be a hit with gamers over the course of its appearances on the GBA and GameCube. WarioWario DS marks the series' debut on Nintendo's fledgling DS handheld. Although the game features the same winning formula, WarioWare Touched! adds an entirely new DS-specific wrinkle to the action by relying on the stylus and microphone. We recently tried the game out and were pretty pleased by what we found.

Like its predecessors, WarioWare Touched! offers an eclectic collection of minigames revolving around the colorful cast of characters you encounter as Wario. The game uses a loosely structured story to tie everything together, but you'll inevitably wind up playing a new set of minigames that lead to a boss battle. Once you clear one set of minigames, you'll be able to move on to another. The single-player game offers a basic story mode for you to go through to unlock other minigames. In addition, you'll find a place to go through the minigames you've already unlocked, as well as to try out some unlockable surprises.

Control in the game is handled almost exclusively using the DS's stylus and touch screen, although you'll also have to blow into the DS microphone for some minigames. The D pad on the DS will let you pause the game if you need, although it should be noted that this depends on how you've configured the controls. Also, given the DS's unique nature, right- and left-handed stylus-control options are on hand to let southpaws have a fighting chance when dealing with the madness.

While you'll see a number of familiar faces from the previous WarioWare games (as well as some newcomers to the action who fit in nicely with the eclectic cast), don't plan on seeing many of the same minigames. The few games that make a reappearance from the previous WarioWare games have been tweaked to use the stylus. The majority of the new minigames are fairly clever challenges that require you to use the DS's touch screen. You'll be rubbing the screen to reveal a coin, cutting fruit as it flies across the screen, drawing lines from one point to another, and so on. In addition, as we mentioned above, you'll find a subset of minigames that will require you to blow into the DS's microphone to make something happen onscreen.

From a presentation standpoint, WarioWare Touched! is true to the series' quirky look. The graphics in the game make use of the same quirky art style seen in the previous entries in the series. While you won't find anything that pushes the DS's hardware to its graphical limits, the visuals suit the onscreen action perfectly. More importantly, in the minigames that require some onscreen reaction based on your touch, the visuals respond admirably. The audio in the game is well done and, like the visuals, makes hefty use of familiar and technically modest sound effects. In addition, you'll hear new effects and loopy tunes that fit right in.

Based on what we've played so far, WarioWare Touched! is another solid entry in the appealing franchise. The new control options are smartly implemented, and the visuals and audio offer solid support to the games. Fans of the series should have no trouble warming up to the game, and newcomers to the series should still be able to appreciate its goofy charm. If you're looking to import the game, since it isn't due in the US until next year, bear in mind that all the text is in Japanese. While the minigames are pretty self-explanatory, it might be tough to follow the game's story. Still, if you're looking to import, you should be OK. For those waiting on a US release, plan on seeing WarioWare Touched! hit the States this February. Look for more on the game in the coming months.

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