That greedy, low-down, lovable knucklehead Wario is back, and he's got a bunch of new weird minigames designed to assail your sanity in the form of WarioWare: Twisted! for the Game Boy Advance. Though this game is out in North America as the third portable installment in the franchise, it was released prior to the Nintendo DS WarioWare game, Touched!. But regardless of the order of release, WarioWare: Twisted! is a great game that any Nintendo portable owner can enjoy.
The hook in Twisted! lies in its specialized hardware. The cartridge has a compasslike sensor inside that detects when it's turned. Every game--with the exception of one series that uses only the A button--is played by turning the GBA to make things happen onscreen. The feedback you get, both onscreen and from the cart's built-in rumble feature, feels incredibly natural and really makes the whole thing work.
So the aim of the game is to spin your GBA around and around to make the various minigames go. The variety of minigames is, once again, completely astounding, and though it's true that you're just sort of spinning the handheld around for almost every game, the games are different enough to prevent you from feeling like you're doing the same thing again and again. Some games, like the one where you need to push a toothpick through a set of teeth to remove some stuck food, require a lot of precision, while other games require much more drastic movement. One entire section of games deals with gravity and has you rotating things to change where the center of gravity is. And, of course, there are a series of games based on old Nintendo classics, reworked around the spin sensor. So you'll sink a putt in Golf by rotating the system to line up your shot. And you'll even get to play condensed versions of Super Mario Bros. levels using rotation to make Mario run. All in all, there's a good variety, which makes the game modes that throw all of the game's different styles together pretty exciting.
As you play through the story mode to unlock new tiers of games, you'll also be collecting lots of little side items, which go to a souvenirs menu in the game. Some of these items are simple little doohickeys that you can mess around with, while others are expanded versions of some of the minigames you'll find in the main game. There are a lot of different and interesting items to collect, giving this game some legs. If you get hooked on it--which is likely, given the game's addictive, opiate-like nature--you'll happily spend several more hours bettering your high scores and striving to unlock every last shred of action the game has to offer.
Graphically, the game isn't exactly a technical masterpiece, but it more than makes up for that by being one of the most charming-looking games around. Each minigame has its own look, varying from polygonal art to hand-drawn characters. The graphical theme is that there is no theme, and this helps add to the game's crazy feel. The sound effects and music are also great, and as you'd expect, the music heightens in pitch and speed as you get further and further in, adding to the frantic nature of the overall game.
While it would have been nice to see some multiplayer modes or other, more-drastic changes implemented, WarioWare: Twisted! is just about everything you could want out of a WarioWare sequel. The spin sensor feels less like a gimmick and more like a tightly integrated feature that makes the entire game feel inventive and unique. Owners of any of Nintendo's GBA-compatible handheld systems are sure to have a great time with WarioWare: Twisted!.