Wario is back, and he’s looking to make a quick buck. The result is WarioWare Gold—a collection of over 300 microgames comprising new offerings and fan favourites from across the WarioWare series. Do you have what it takes to beat Wario at his own game?
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
Developer: Intelligent Systems, Nintendo EPD
Genre: Action, rhythm
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Story Mode: Wario’s grand tournament
Despite his standard life of thievery and greed, Wario finds himself short on cold hard cash. Quickly realizing how lucrative the video game industry is, he hatches a plan to host a massive tournament. Subsequently Wario calls on his friends to design new games that he can organize a competition around, netting huge entry fees in the process.
Your job is to compete in the tournament, earning cash prizes along the way. Ultimately your victory is necessary to ensure not only your well-earned reward, but also to stop Wario’s nefarious scheme to take the money and run.
Each stage of the tournament is bookended by animated cutscenes. These movies are generally on point with amusing dialogue and slapstick comedy that progress the story and a decent pace.
Overall WarioWare Gold’s story mode can be completed in just a few hours. This is about the perfect amount of time to enjoy the narrative without the story dragging on or the gameplay becoming repetitive. Players need not worry if this seems too short however—there is plenty to enjoy with WarioWare Gold once the story is complete. I’ll have more on that shortly.
Mash, twist, touch, and blow
Each individual challenge in WarioWare Gold lasts just a few short seconds—hence the term “microgames”. Microgames will come at you in consecutive bursts with increasingly less time in between. Each completed microgame will net you a point, with failed attempts costing you a life. Events center around earning as many points for completed microgames as you can before losing four lives.
There are three different “league” styles that comprise most events—”Mash”, “Twist” and “Touch”. Mash League utilizes the control pad, while Twist League requires you to turn the 3DS left or right. Finally, Touch League makes use of the stylus and touch pad.
There is also a fourth style called “blow” which involves blowing air into the 3DS’ microphone, and is often interspersed with the other 3 in later events. Competing across any of the league styles will net you gold coins which can be spent on unlocking in-game rewards.
Upon completing the main story in WarioWare Gold, a new challenge mode will open up. While the story is enjoyable, this is truthfully where the real fun begins. Here you will find new ways to enjoy all the microgames featured in WarioWare Gold, and earn more coins while you do.
Challenge mode takes the typical rules of events we became accustomed to in story mode and alters them in fun and interesting ways. One challenge may test how many microgames you can complete with only one life. Another sees Wario trying to block your ability to play by providing distractions on screen.
One of the most enjoyable challenge mode stages is “WarioWatch”, where players begin with a set amount of time on the clock. There are no lives in this mode, but time runs down as you complete microgames. Completing them quickly nets you a time bonus, so you can actually extend your time beyond the initial countdown. Players can see how many microgames they are successfully able to complete before time runs out!
Gotta collect them all
WarioWare Gold has a plethora of fun content to unlock as you take on the various end game challenges. Completing microgame events and mission will earn you gold coins. Spend these at the toy dispenser to unlock new prizes.
The rewards you can earn aren’t just your standard fare of soundtrack files and movie clips, although those are there too. Some of the rewards in WarioWare Gold are extremely creative, interactive, and unique. There are entire mini-games hidden within the souvenir rewards you will unlock.
One feature allows you to take video clips that you have unlocked and record your own audio track. This can be a lot of fun as many of the animated scenes feature zany action. Creative players will have a blast coming up with their own audio overlays for these videos.
Another unlocks a full version of the bowling minigame, where you can bowl a full 10 frame game. There is a 2 player mode here as well so you can challenge a friend. You can even interact with your Amiibo and watch as Wario sketches your favourite character.
There are so many fun secrets buried in the unlockable elements of WarioWare Gold, and I don’t want to spoil them all here. Suffice it to say however that these elements add a ton of value to the game, and really give players a reason to keep coming back and unlocking more rewards.
Perfect on the go
The bit-size nature of microgames in WarioWare Gold makes it one of my favourite games to play on my commute in recent memory. It’s so easy to jump in an out of an event and try to top my high score and earn a few reward coins. There’s never any concern as to where I leave off when my stop arrives, and even short play sessions leave a feeling of satisfaction.
The only hiccup with taking WarioWare Gold on the go can be the requirements of the more “physical” league styles. If you are travelling on a busy bus or train, be prepared to try not to jostle your neighbor when tilting the 3DS. You may also get a strange look or to when people notice you gently blowing into your console.
If WarioWare Gold proves anything, it’s that the nearly 8 year old Nintendo 3DS console is still alive and kicking. The game suits the consoles portability and dual screen functionality in perfect harmony.
The games are fun and engaging, and the speed-focused format makes it easy to pop in and out and still feel like progress has been made. The story mode is brief but well-paced, and there is so much additional fun built into the end-game unlockables and hidden surprises that you’ll surely find yourself trying to discover and earn them all.
+ Addicting quick bursts of gameplay
+ Tons of unlockables and hidden content
+ An amusing story that doesn’t out-stay its welcome
+ Perfectly designed for the 3DS console
– Hopefully you won’t feel silly twisting and blowing on your console when on the go
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.25/5