Clever mechanics give you the power to get out of some very sticky situations.

User Rating: 8.9 | Wario no Mori NES
This game captures the wild puzzle element that causes your eye to become a shape-color recognition demon. You sit, transfixed, as your throbbing brain sorts this pile of monsters and bombs, identifying possible configurations. The sensation isn't novel, but this game introduces a level of sophistication that creates a truly varied experience as you achieve higher levels, not only a faster pace.

Your job, as in pretty much any puzzle game involving falling pieces, is to configure those pieces such that they disappear. In Wario's Woods, however, you have no control over the pieces as they fall. Rather, you control Toad, the size of a piece himself, as he lifts, drops, and kicks the pieces in front of him. He can run up pillars of pieces, Prince of Persia style, and grab out any piece within the column as he climbs. Controlling Toad becomes intuitive quickly as all you need is to press left or right and he will climb and drop as necessary.

Aside from a twist of Toad, the game is basically a puzzle game as you know it. Monsters fall in different colors, as well as bombs of corresponding colors. Align three or more of anything the same color, including at least one bomb, and BOOM! This soon becomes easy enough, as you can align them horizontally, vertically, and diagonally. Now it becomes tricky: aside from upping the rate of falling pieces, the speed at which they fall, and the size of the pile you start with, the monsters stop blowing up so easily. Some monsters, when blown up once, change color, so that you need to line them up again with a bomb of their new hue. Other monsters need a double dose of bombs within a certain period of time, so that you need to have another bomb handy when you set them off. Yet others will only deign to boom when you form them in a diagonal line with a bomb. These proved to be the trickiest yet for me, as the others all required the same tactics, just greater perception and speed.

The game becomes really fun when you're in an especially tight squeeze, just enough room for Toad to slip around in those remaining gaps; and more often than not, you find some combination of critters and ordinance to give you some breathing room. These moments are made more fun by the fact that you've just saved your fungal pal's life, rather than simply keeping the screen from getting too crowded.

The music and sounds are perfectly nostalgic of the NES era. Though I didn't know before I read it here, that Wario's Woods was the last game released for the NES, I felt that it captured the Nintendo flavor rather well. The beady eyes on the friendly hills in the background let you know that this game coexisted with the SNES, like your grampa wearing your sunglasses.

In all, I'm glad Toad took this perilous jaunt in Wario's Woods, and I'm glad it's on my Wii (kindly refrain from snickering). I look forward to delving into the two player competitive play soon. The novelty of "plugging in" your second controller for an NES game by pushing a button on your second Wiimote hasn't worn off on me yet. It seems like more than reliving the past. This isn't just nostalgia for its own sake; this is a good game, and you can enjoy it in a way that fits into modern gaming.