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Ware is the real Wario?

Jul 11, 2013

By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada

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Game & WarioEclectic cast of characters? Check. Wacky games that take advantage of Nintendo's latest hardware? Check. Easy-to-learn multiplayer modes, laugh-out-loud moments, and nose-picking minigame? Check, check, and check. Despite Nintendo's recently-released Game & Wario title possessing these series staples, it feels much different from Wario games of years past, and unfortunately, things haven't changed for the better.

Unlike the numerous "Wario Ware" games that have graced past Nintendo systems, Game & Wario opts for a slightly - and we do mean slightly - more cohesive home console experience. Instead of running through countless wacky "microgames," players are presented with 16 modes that, for the most part, make excellent use of the Wii U GamePad.

Some are strictly single player, while others are multiplayer-specific, but while your mileage may vary, it's very likely most people will only find a few games worth returning to.

Game & Wario Almost every one of the single player games starts off wholly intriguing. "Shutter" has you using the GamePad as a camera as you take pictures of potential crime suspects on a city street, while "Ski" tasks you with holding the GamePad sideways and tilting it left and right to get a disco-loving character to successfully ski down a hill.

And for the first few attempts, these games are indeed fun. Many offer multiple levels and difficulties to keep things a little more fresh. But simply put, few of them are liable to hold your attention for hours on end.

For instance, being graded on how capable you are of drawing simple lines and circles in "Design" is an absolute hoot for twenty minutes or so, and then it's not, and you only have a few games left to play. And when those get boring, you're left with a collection of stuff that really shows why the Wii U GamePad is so nifty, but that still won't hold most peoples' attention for very long.

The multiplayer modes are a little more enjoyable - especially if you're with several people who have all had their fair share of soda pops - but even they're unlikely to make you forget about the far superior multiplayer games included in NintendoLand, which is clearly a direct competitor to Game & Wario.

Game & Wario "Sketch" is a glorified video game version of Pictionary, and it's arguably the best game included in the collection of 16. The majority of people already know how to play it, and best of all, there's no need to scrounge up a half dozen or so writing instruments and a stack of unused pieces of paper (who has even *one* piece of blank paper in their home these days?).

There's also "Fruit," which plays like a moving version of "Where's Waldo?", with up to four observers trying to pick out what onscreen character the player holding the GamePad is controlling.

"Islands," meanwhile pits as many as four competitors against each other as they take turns flinging a collection of "fronks" at a moving target for maximum points. The game has a Mario Kart feel to it, in that random stuff is constantly happening that players have no control over. This makes particularly frustrating for the people who are playing well, but who lose points because of something like a seagull coming out of nowhere and dropping a fronk off the board and into the water for no good reason.

Game & Wario And don't get me started on "Disco." It's kind of like Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution (where you use your fingers instead of your feet), with feedback and touchscreen issues that make it a complete mess.

One thing going for Game & Wario's multiplayer modes is that, unlike Nintendoland, everything can be done using a single Wii U GamePad, which is a huge boon when you don't want to bother looking for numerous Wii Remotes - and even more AA batteries.

The humour and downright wackiness that's synonymous with the Wario character and the games he stars in are here as well. Some may not even notice the complete absurdity of the realistic Handre de Jager-esque illustrations that precede each game, but they're absolutely hilarious.

Beyond that, we dare you not to be totally weirded out by the creepiest mom ever in "Gamer" - which is the one mode that brings back the microgames from past Wario Ware titles. It's addictive, and has a neat little twist, but it's also missing the homages to past Nintendo games that past microgames have so wonderfully embraced.

Game & Wario Unlike Nintendoland, Game & Wario at least attempts some sort of online functionality, but it feels tacked on at best. Miiverse Sketch has you choosing a random word or phrase (such as "long cat" or "many babies"), and giving you 30 seconds to draw it. Sketches are then automatically uploaded to the Miiverse.

Like so many aspects of Game & Wario, Miiverse Sketch may hold your attention for a few moments, but it won't be long - about the length of one microgame it often seems - before you'll want to move onto something else.

There are a few gems in Game & Wario, but try as it might, developer Intelligent Systems just wasn't able to craft enough games to justify choosing this collection over Nintendoland. There are some interesting ideas on display, but at the end of the day, we'd prefer having good old Wario Ware back, nose-picking, gas, and all.


Game & Wario
Format: Nintendo Wii U
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Intelligent Systems
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Official Site:

Rating: 5.5 / 10

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G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see