Touting an impressive 200+ microgames, WarioWare: Get It Together! Is the latest fantastic foray into the realm of weird and wacky conversation starters. Strap in with some mates to enjoy the head rush and elevated heart rate-inducing pace. Or play alone, I won’t judge you – the snack-sized action remains easy to snarf regardless.
It’s hard to describe a WarioWare title to people who have not played one before. Painting a picture of fast-paced, microgame action to people conjures images of Mario Party in their head, and they couldn’t be more wrong. WarioWare is an entirely different beast, rubbing shoulders with similar titans of small-scale niche gaming action such as Rhythm Heaven. It feels more like eating a family-sized bag of chips by yourself, without the subsequent guilt and shame – the bite-sized morsels of action are just so easy to put away.
Dog seems a little TOO chilled out
The first distinction is that microgames both are, and are NOT minigames. Personally my distinction between the two is that a microgame is usually completed in a single action, with an emphasis on rapid completion. Minigames take a little longer, and usually involve CPU Luigi rolling his ball straight out of the arena once the game starts – like a dumbass.
The real hook of WW: GIT and its unique breed of microgames is that they now require you to make use of an avatar to complete them. Past WarioWare titles were generally ‘direct input’ affairs – especially during the DS/3DS days – and you utilised your stylus or button inputs to immediately complete a simple task, usually with a verb prompt such as SCRUB or WIPE or LICK.
Now you find yourself steering a character on screen to complete the madcap tasks before you – which took some getting used to. At first, it was jarring because my attention on screen was split between character and target, but after hundreds of microgames I have come to realise that character-based gameplay is actually the title’s strength. The genius is that every character you unlock has their own unique control style that defines how they move and attack – effectively meaning that any single microgame now has over a dozen unique ways to be played. Sure, not all of them are winners – and there is a unique line of thought to be put towards what character might excel at what particular microgame, but really that’s walking an edge too close to creating tier lists and min-maxing a fucking WarioWare game. Personally I revelled in setting it to random and letting chaos permeate my experience.
And chaos it is – like every other WarioWare title, the entirety of the game’s visuals feel like they have been fished out of the mind of a madman. Visual styles drastically change from menu to menu and microgame to microgame, as photo-realistic cats mingle alongside cartoon cowboys and hyper-detailed muscular Wario busts (I like Wario busts and I cannot lie). The wild and frenzied energy on screen is infectious, with the soundtrack amping up its tempo as the game speed increases round to round. Audio is rich and varied, with every microgame having its own unique soundscape for objectives and interactions. One particular game screen has its backing track performed by the character starring in its microgames, complete with karaoke-style blunders if you fail a minigame. It’s a technicolour journey into maximum ridiculosity, guaranteed to present something appealing to anyone who enjoys video games.
It’s a technicolour journey into maximum ridiculosity
Underneath all the bluster and aesthetic, the actual gameplay mechanics are absurdly basic. Move thing here, touch a thing – the entirety of the game’s mechanics are centralised around a directional input and a single button press. It would be easy to write the entire experience off as blisteringly basic, but in truth the bluster and aesthetic is what makes it fantastic. You aren’t simply ‘moving a thing to a place’, you are tastefully placing a leaf onto the groin of a nude robot before the fierce wind causes him to lose his towel. You aren’t simply selecting one target from a range of options, you are fingering the wild west varmint that is displayed on a wanted poster. The absurd art and complex layers of preposterousness create an atmosphere that sucks you in. Each one of these experiences lasts mere seconds, but continue to linger for days afterwards. Like, why does the robot have genital junk? I am too afraid to fail the microgame and find out. My mind isn’t ready.
Even once you finish the game’s story, the main menu explodes into options for further enjoyment. You can obviously browse and play microgames at your leisure, either alone or with mates – or explore further into some more bespoke options that utilise the wide character roster as a far crazier vehicle for mayhem, ranging from air hockey to even a full-scale character deathmatch option. Or if you’d rather just reflect on the wide variety of dudes and dudettes within the game, you can even hand out presents to your crew – unlocking unique visual cosmetic options to add some shine to your faves. The added bonus to glamming up your crew buds is that you will also unlock special character art to view in game as well.
Wario is a good fit for modern game development
WarioWare: Get It Together! is another eclectic mix of fever dream microgames that are delightfully simple to play and addictive to the core. A highlight at any friendly gathering, with a bar for entry so low that you’d struggle to find an individual who didn’t derive some semblance of fun from it. While some of the crew characters feel like a wash, there is far more good than bad – so I encourage you to get it together.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch // Review code supplied by publisher
- Intelligent Systems
- Intelligent Systems, Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development
- Nintendo Switch
- September 10, 2021