After nine long years without a mainline WarioWare game (sorry Game & Wario), Wario and his loveable bunch of friends are back and for the first time on the Nintendo 3DS. WarioWare Gold is the most microgame and content heavy release in series’ history, and while the overall lack of innovation and weak unlocks pin its successes back a bit, WarioWare Gold offers a familiar experience for fans and an entirely unique, fast and furious gameplay experience for newcomers.
The narrative kicks with Wario up to no good, snooping around a temple in the village of Luxeville. Wario takes notice of a glistening golden pot, and in true Wario fashion, is overcome by greed and makes off with the pot. Upon returning home to Diamond City, Wario realises he’s out of money and needs to think of a dastardly scheme in order to get stinkin’ rich. After watching a news report about a new video game and the sheer amount of hype around its release, Wario decides to take advantage of the video game industry, announcing the “Wario Bowl” games, a gaming tournament that has a steep ten thousand coin entry fee, but a beefy ten million coin first prize – which Wario believes will be his. Wario calls up his regular posse of pals to assist in the tournament, and off we go to become the Wario Bowl champion.
I wonder if Wario livestreams the Wario Bowl on Twitch or YouTube?
WarioWare Gold’s overarching narrative is entertaining from start to finish, mainly due in part to the full voice acting in cutscenes, a first for the franchise. Seeing WarioWare mainstays such as Kat and Ana, 9-Volt and Jimmy T fully voice acted is jarring initially to those who have invested time previously in the series, but it perfectly serves to breathe more life into each character, and I’m glad they went down this route. It also helps that all the characters are superbly voiced, with all voices perfectly capturing how you thought they would have sounded like. Each character has their own self-contained stories in the game’s main story mode that are equally as hilarious as the main plot. My favourites from the vignettes include Orbulon’s goal of collecting as many pigs as possible to resupply a fast food restaurant so they can make him his favourite burger, as well as Young Cricket and Master Mantis’ escapade to hone their ninja skills at an amusement park. WarioWare Gold’s story wasn’t something I’d expected to be drawn in by, but it succeeded perfectly in being an engaging and funny experience that had me laughing out loud between the overwhelming amount of microgames.
9-Volt is my homie
WarioWare Gold’s gameplay may seem completely bizarre to newcomers, but for fans of the series, it’s the exact same amount of insanity it’s always been. The main story mode consists of three different leagues of Wario’s Tournament: the Mash League, Twist League, and the Touch League. Each league utilises a different control method, mash uses the 3DS buttons, twist utilises the gyro-sensor and has you rotating the 3DS system, while touch quite obviously has you manipulating the 3DS touch screen. The Ultra League which is unlocked after completing the prior leagues mish-mashes all the aforementioned level types into a singular level, while also adding microphone games.
In order to progress to the next level, you must defeat the character by passing a certain amount of microgames with only four lives. Microgames are nonsensical 3-5 second games that have you complete a task. Some are based on Nintendo games, while others involve otherwise mundane tasks such as shaving someone’s face, sweeping the floor, or shaking somebody’s hand. While it’s hard to argue that some of those mentioned microgames are particularly alluring, it’s the insane and frenetic nature in which you are propelled into those minigames with only mere seconds to solve the issue where the WarioWare formula proves itself. Also aiding WarioWare Gold is the fact that the game has the most microgames of any title, with more than 300. Yes, many are rehashed and if you’ve been a long-time fan there isn’t a whole lot new, but the sheer amount of games to play is sure to guarantee things don’t get too stale too quickly.
Pick the nose to win big!
After the completion of story mode, challenge mode is unlocked, with more level types to enjoy that manage to put a different spin on the otherwise familiar gameplay loop. Split Screen is a game mode starring Kat and Ana, in which they both occupy a single screen on the 3DS system, with the minigames frantically alternating between the screens. There’s no time to relax in this mode, and being manically flung in to levels unaware of whether you’ll need to touch the screen or twist it leads to an intense experience. Another challenge mode that had me engaged was All Mixed Up, a mode that mashes up all the genres of microgames into one challenge. There are plenty of other challenge modes to unlock, as well as many other items in the Arcade Mode.
It wouldn’t be WarioWare game without an excessive amount of unlockables, and WarioWare Gold is a prime example of that. Arcade Mode offers you a Capsule Machine to spend your hard earned gold coins on. These capsule goodies go to the Toy Room, which has a myriad of different rewards to tinker with, with varying amounts of enjoyment. Minigames are unlockable games that break from the microgame mould, Cards are character cards that give you stats that have no purpose as well as a little information on the character, and the Studio allows you to dub over the character voices in cutscenes. Phones are character phones that when specific unlock phone codes are entered in to it, deliver a text message. These messages slowly dribble across the screen and aren’t voiced acted at all, leaving you to read something you’d rather not, with no voice to accompany it.
The contents of the Toy Room are hit and miss
Considering the game has brilliant voice-acting, the omission of character voice in these text messages is a head scratcher. Movie mode allows you to rewatch the game’s brilliant cutscenes, record mode allows you to listen to music tracks from WarioWare games of yesteryear, and the Nintendo Collection mode is a museum that allows you to read up on prior Nintendo creations – both console hardware and the toys they made before becoming a video game powerhouse. Lastly, Misc mode contains a bunch of other random things to try. You get character specific alarm clocks that can serve as a real life alarm clock, which upon waking you up, forces you to successfully complete three microgames in order to turn it off. With these alarm clocks, getting up to go to the job you hate has never been more stressful. There’s even a mode where Wario shoddily attempts to draw any amiibo you place on the 3DS, with the completed piece of artistry netting you some more gold coins. Overall, the unlocks aren’t great. The cards are irrelevant along with the phones, but I did manage to find some fun dubbing cutscenes in studio mode.
Dubbing the cutscenes with my own voice was my favourite aspect of the Toy Room
WarioWare Gold is undoubtedly the most content packed WarioWare game yet, with more than 300 microgames to play, as well as a multitude of collectibles to earn. The two-hour story mode provides a humorous narrative accompanied by quality voice acting that really brings Wario’s ditzy crew of friends to life. The gameplay is maniacally fast and reaction based, with the perfect amount of silliness to be expected from a game spearheaded by Wario. A game in which picking a nose is fun should be commended, so WarioWare gets the tick of approval in my book. It’s a shame that many of the collectibles aren’t worth collecting, and that many of the microgames have been in prior titles, but at the end of the day, WarioWare Gold provides long-time fans with an enjoyable yet familiar experience, and if for some reason you’ve never played a WarioWare title, WarioWare Gold’s sheer amount of content is sure to hold your interest for just a little bit longer.
Reviewed on Nintendo 3DS | Review code supplied by publisher