Wario Ware: Touched! is a game that starts out fun, and stays that way for a very long time.

User Rating: 8.7 | WarioWare: Touched! DS
Wario Ware: Touched! is an incredibly bizarre and incredibly fun experience, a sort of game that rarely comes along, yet is often remembered for years after it's release. After falling into a manhole, Wario, the star of the show, meets the Sewer Guru. After receiving (read: stealing) a Nintendo DS from the old man, Wario comes to the conclusion that by developing his unique brand of "micro-games" for the dual-screened system, he can make twice the money. And to Wario, money is all that’s important in the world.

Your goal in this game is to play each of the micro-games that are thrust onto your screen, completing them within the time limit and then moving onto the next. The catch to all this is that each game lasts around five seconds, and they constantly speed themselves up. There are boss stages ever dozen games or so, each of which is longer and more complicated than a normal micro-game. It should be noted that on your first trip through a stage, the game does end after you complete the first boss game. This appears to be nothing more than a method of helping you, the player, adapt to the various micro-games that each stage offers. On subsequent play-throughs, there is no end whatsoever to any of the stages. Your goal then is only to play through them to achieve as high a score as possible so that you can brag about doing so to your friends.

What's really unique about this game is that absolutely everything that you, the player, do in this game is controlled by the system's touch screen. Aside from the one set of microgames that are controlled by blowing into the system's microphone, everything revolves around manipulating the touch screen. Each game is controlled by mechanics like poking, rubbing, or drawing lines on the screen with the DS stylus. Some of these games involve things like slicing through fruits and vegetables, others require you to disarm a ticking time bomb. Some of the more bizarre games involve things like making a black hole absorb various objects in outer space, or invading the insides of a person's nostrils to retrieve buried treasure.

This all works relatively well, as the touch screen is generally very responsive and there usually aren't any problems at all with hit detection. However, eventually it becomes clear that some of the games are a bit easier than the should be, as they give an incredible amount of room for error. This is especially true of the games that require you to draw lines on the screen, as they tend to feel like nothing more than connect-the-dots exercises. Still, this usually tends to disappear as the game speeds up, since you actually need a little more room for error to make up for lost time. Some might be turned off by the fact that this game uses the touch screen almost exclusively, but in all honesty it's something new for a handheld game, and the execution is about as good as one could expect from a game like this.

As mentioned, there are some games that require you to use the system's microphone to control them. Most of these are contained to their own stage, although there are a few that show up elsewhere. In these, you must do things like move a sailboat or keep an old man suspended in the air. Controlling a game with your breath is unusual, at the very least. Blowing on a screen for a long period of time can eventually wear you out and look incredibly strange in public to boot, so many people might want to limit the amount of time that they spend playing these games. They're still fun though, even though some might be annoyed with this new method of game playing.

Graphically, the game looks absolutely gorgeous. Everything has a bright, colorful look to it. While most of the games hold onto a cartoony look, at times you'll find a few where comical photos of actual people are used. Also included is a collection of games based on old NES titles that attempt to mimic the graphics of the original games as closely as possible, while taking a few liberties with them at times. This all contributes quite well to the game's crazy atmosphere, as you'll never be quite sure what you'll see next. While everything has a cohesive look to it, the game's art style can change at a moment's notice for different games. It's this kind of thing that can make you, the player, want to play through everything just to see all the different odd surprises that the game has in store.

The game's audio is incredibly strong as well. Each stage has it's own unique soundtrack. Some of the individual micro-games also have their own unique songs. What's most surprising is that some of the songs have lyrics to them that play along as you play the game. Altogether, the game's sound has the same strange and far-reaching qualities to it that the graphics and gameplay itself have, and does more than it's fare share to help the presentation look as good as possible.

There is a lot to be seen in Wario Ware: Touched! Aside from the regular collection of micro-games, there are also a few challenge stages which draw from the regular collection of games to put you in new situations. There are also several unlockables "souvenirs" which are basically different toys that make use of the system's touch screen and microphone in different ways. Still, even with all the extra odds and ends, playing through the game's stages over and over to gain higher and higher scores is what's best about it, and thankfully the fun of doing so lasts for an incredibly long time.

Overall, Wario Ware: Touched! is one of the best games available for the Nintendo DS. It has nearly limitless replay value to it, and can last almost anyone for months. It might disappoint some people that playing through all of the micro-games once and reaching the end of the game's story doesn't take very long, but the true fun in this game comes from playing through everything over and over again. It's a game that shouldn't be missed, because it manages to start out fun and stay that way for a very long time.