Nintendo's methodic approach to sharing content harms one of the most fantastic tools for user generated content ever

User Rating: 8 | WarioWare D.I.Y. DS
Deep down within the heart of every single gamer out there is the compressed understated urge to use many years of experience in playing games for their own benefit, creating games of their own and giving birth to the concepts that they came up with during their spare time used to mindlessly divagate and dream. That desire, though, ends up being thrown to the wayside somewhere in between the dreaming and its materialization. Fortunately, for those who are still willing to let their creative side take over and face the challenging, yet satisfying, task of building a game, Nintendo has stepped up to the plate and delivered a tool that while limited is certainly going to allow gamers to give shape to their personal concepts and take care of their own software company – as long as the games stay within the twelve-second range, of course.

On WarioWare Do It Yourself your life as a game developer starts when Wario himself approaches you to take the job on his company, as apparently a big part of his previous staff has walked out on him – that is what you get when you have an insatiable hunger that can only be contained by big amounts of smelly garlic. Accepting such a job with no previous experience may seem like big trouble, but your kind new boss sets up a group of very well-designed tutorials, on which players will have their hands held while creating new games, to get things started.

It is true that those tutorials last a good amount of time, but the information they provide is extremely valuable for those looking into making their own micro-games, and Nintendo's decision to add humorous dialogue between a confused Wario and a smart instructor adds a good level of charm to what could have easily turned into an annoying set of lessons that dragged for over an hour. It is worth noting, though, that skilled players could possibly make do with only the first tutorial in order to grasp only the basic concepts of the game, as a good ability to tinker with the tools provided could possibly allow some people to learn techniques by messing around with the very intuitive interface that the game features.

The designing process is divided into four distinct pillars, that when joined make up the insanely fun micro-games the series has been known for since its original installment: Scenario, Music, Objects and AI. The scenario serves as the background immovable image of your game and it is drawn via an interface that resembles your average picture-editing software with some geometrical shapes, lines, color palettes, textures, copying and zooming features. If even after all the coloring process your scenario seems a little bit empty Nintendo came up with a stamp mechanic where pre-made drawings like bushes, clouds, and even Goombas and other Nintendo inspired sprites can be placed at a specific position with just a tapping of the screen and some dragging around: an absolute relief for those with little to no artistic skills.

The second part of your game will be the music. In a blatant reference to Mario Paint's composing feature the game comes packed with a very nice music editing application. Not only does it offer a very big set of instruments to be used, from classical ones like violins to nonexistent alien sounds, but it also allows musically gifted gamers to mutually arrange up to five instruments in distinct channels in order to create a short, but possibly complex musical masterpiece. Once again, though, Nintendo comes through for those with limited abilities by adding both a Maestro tool that automatically creates a song based on your mood request, and the option to import music from pre-made games or records that you will receive on your store with each passing new day.

The final two, and probably the most important, parts of your game are both the Objects and the AI. Objects are the moving characters with which you will be able to interact with, and each micro-game can have up to fifteen different objects. The objects will be drawn with the same tool as the scenarios which means that the Stamp feature will also be available here, allowing you to create your characters within a few minutes. Differently from the scenario, though, characters can be animated in order to create the illusion of movement to those experiencing your software. However, without their AI the objects won't be of much use, that is why each and every object must be programmed in order to interact with user commands. The word programming may bring to mind complex algorithms and extreme computer science knowledge, but none of those will be needed on Do It Yourself as all the programming is done through some self-explanatory menus that are quite easy to comprehend.

It would be awfully deceiving to state that the game's only creative boundary is your own imagination, as the AI commands and the amount of objects will certainly shoot down some more complicated ideas. As a consequence, it is wise to keep in mind that the series thrives on extremely simple games that can be solved within the blink of an eye, proving that as far as gaming goes depth is not directly proportional to how much fun one can have with a game. In fact, in order to prove that the game's creation tool is extremely effective all of the game's more than 90 pre-made micro-games – coming from famous recurring characters such as 9-volt and Ashley – can be visualized and altered with the creation tool itself, letting players see how the game's own developers were able to achieve a certain cool effect by using the very same tool that is available to you – with all of its limitations included. Instead of giving you an inferior application, the game goes out of its way to prove extremely nice micro-games can be made as those within the game itself were produced with the same tool you are using. The nicest of all features in the game is possibly the fact that players can import anything they want from the micro-games that are already packed within the cartridge to use them in their own creations.

Wario Ware Do It Yourself is not only a great tool for user generated content – as players can also create their own records and comic books – but it is also an outstanding WarioWare game on its own, as it features plenty of fun mini-games the series has always been known for. Unfortunately, the game's one and only major flaw goes against its very purpose, which is creating and letting others experience your creations. After all, hours of hard work put into making a micro-game can only become plentifully satisfactory when you know your work was enjoyed and recognized by your peers. Nintendo, though, transforms sharing into a massive ordeal as instead of allowing players to upload their micro-games to a shared server moderated by Nintendo's staff where games could be rated and organized by genre, it is only possible to send your games to those with whom you share the twelve-digit Friend Code. So, chances are your creations will only reach a very small audience. To make matters worse it is only possible to upload two games at a time to your online warehouse, a very limited amount of space considering that you can pack nearly 100 user-created games into the cartridge.

At least there is one bright side to the game's online features. Nintendo uploads a selection of four new games on a weekly basis, which means that although the spreading of other user's own content is very limited the game will still be getting some occasional breaths of fresh air from the company. Some of those games are even produced by very popular game developers such as Masashiro Sakurai. However, those qualities just do not make up to the game's other online weaknesses.

In a nutshell, WarioWare Do It Yourself is a major example of how Nintendo is constantly able to come up with innovative ideas that are very well executed. Unfortunately, it also showcases how the company's methodic approach to online distribution severely limits some of those creative ideas. In the end, while bringing the technically poor, yet delightful, feeling of the WarioWare series in all its glory, the game also offers a lot of value because it will never get old, as long as players are able to come up with new concepts and ideas for micro-games. It is just a little bit disappointing to realize that a fantastic game could have easily been one of the best titles of all time if its online mode didn't go against the title's own philosophy.

Actual Score: 8.3