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First Impressions: Game & Wario

Posted by Mike Mason

No Ware out

Wario's first Wii U appearance isn't quite what we've come to expect from the garlic-munching gold grabber. Instead of a platformer or a new entry in the micro game-fuelled WarioWare series, Game & Wario is a collection of more fleshed out mini games that shows off what Nintendo's new home console can do with a single GamePad.

Game & Wario is almost an antithesis to Nintendo Land. Whereas the latter promotes the idea of multiplayer controlled with GamePad and several Wii Remotes, the four games we saw in Wario's new gig come at asymmetric gameplay from a different angle that only requires one GamePad. We're not sure if this will stretch throughout the entire package, which will consist of ten or so games, but each of the games in the demo build had only one person touching a controller at once.

The weird and wonderful cast of WarioWare make the leap over to Game & Wario, so don't worry about missing out on your Jimmy fix. The blue afro'd one turns up in Ski, a fast yet straightforward skid down a mountain that takes place primarily on the GamePad screen with a top-down viewpoint. The GamePad is held vertically and tilted to steer, the aim being to race to the bottom as quickly as possible, speeding up by sliding over ice patches and launching over ramps. The television displays the same race but from different angles, which is either an effort to confuse the player or just something for others to watch.

The GamePad is clutched in the same manner in Arrow. Hordes of mechanical Warios trot over a hill towards you on the television, striving to steal the strawberries that line the bottom of the GamePad. The touch screen plays host to a horrible-looking bow made from Wario's moustache; noses are your arrows. Moving the controller moves a cursor, and a pull back and release of the bowstring sends the nasal missile at whatever you have in your sights. When the crowds thicken it's better to aim at mines on the ground instead to blow up a cluster simultaneously, but you can also 'tickle' the nose arrow for a more powerful shot. Clear the swarm and there's a gigantic metal Wario to unscrew – literally, by firing into the nuts and bolts that hold it together. It seemed like a lot of effort for four strawberries.

Shutter has you donning the journalistic boots of Mona. She's sent to a street to take photographs of five criminals, with profiles of the targets lining the bottom of the television screen for easy reference. The GamePad is your camera and displays a zoomed in view of whatever you aim at on the TV. Once you have one of the criminals in the GamePad's viewfinder, you have to zoom in and time the shot so that you catch as much of them in the frame as possible as they're facing the camera head-on. The better the position, the more points you get, up to a maximum of 100 per target.

Searching the television for the right people then holding the controller up to the screen and tracking it along to the appropriate point was almost always accurate and very cool. Shutter works well as a multiplayer game where spectators can watch the main screen for villains and direct the player towards them so that they never have to remove concentration from the GamePad. More than anything, it makes us ache for a new Pokémon Snap game badly.

Best of all is Thief, which is one of the most sublime demonstrations of the appeal of Wii U to date. Up to five people can play; one assumes the role of the thief, using only the GamePad, while four other players watch the television and don't even get to touch the controller until the very end. Both screens display a bustling city filled with dozens of wandering strange characters. The twist is that one of them is a thief, selected and played by the GamePad user.

The thief's role is to blend in with the non-playable characters and steal the apples that appear on the screen; two or three turn up at a time in different sections of the map. The spectators – agents, as they're referred to – have to keep their eyes peeled and try to work out who the thief is, basing their deductions on movement patterns and which characters are near the apples when they disappear. Every so often the television will highlight which area of the screen the thief's in. Once four apples have been snatched, the game ends and the GamePad is passed to each of the agents so that they can guess who the thief is. Agents can either work together to identify the criminal or compete among themselves and formulate their own opinions secretly. If somebody guesses correctly, they win; if nobody does, the thief gets away with a big tasty bag of vitamin C.

The complications come when you realise that the NPCs and the controlled character all move near-identically, all exploiting the same manholes that teleport them to other areas of the screen, each winding around the streets towards and around apples, ducking behind passing traffic that obscures the view. For both thief and agent it can become brilliantly stressful – the robber has to be sure that they don't make any revealing movements and take the fruit at just the right time, whereas the area hints might completely blow apart a spectator's theory with just a single apple left to go, leaving them in a panic as they try to keep track of the entire screen at once to form a final estimate. This is exactly the sort of thing that will sell Wii U if promoted properly – it's something that couldn't be done anywhere else.

We're excited to see what the rest of Game & Wario holds in store. The games shown in the demo were simplistic, easy to understand and – most importantly – excellently showed off just some of the possibilities with Wii U. Our one concern is how much it's going to cost, as ten mini games doesn't seem like a fair swap for full retail price. Positioned at the right price point, this could be essential.

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User Comments (43)

Lalivero

#1

Lalivero said:

Knew it looked somewhat familiar(as in Warioware). This actually looks really fun, for what it does have.

Linky_97

#2

Linky_97 said:

Only 10 mini games!!!??? I hope it will be a download only! Just like WarioWare Snapped!

Rawk_Hawk

#4

Rawk_Hawk said:

Wario games are great! I can't wait to see how this turns, but I'm guessing it will be zany as ever.

DestinyMan

#5

DestinyMan said:

This is definitely going to be my first or second Wii U game for sure. If there really is only ten minigames, I hope the rest of them are very replayable and are just as innovative as these minigames mentioned. I'm curious to see what roles Kat and Ana will play.

It's nice that Nintendo and Intelligent Systems were willing to try something different with a Game & Watch and WarioWare hybrid. The thing about Game & Watch is that it's supposed to be a collection of simple minigames that you keep playing until you finally fail. Hopefully you can keep going and going in these Game & Wario games until you fail.

My hope is that this game will have a story to it, rather than be like Mega Party Games and Snapped in which there was little to no story. How did Wario get the idea to blend Game & Watch with WarioWare?

eviLaTtenDant

#6

eviLaTtenDant said:

Yeah, the price will most likely be a big factor for this game. As @Link_Belmont(#2) said it could make sense to only release it as a download to keep costs as low as possible.

LavaTwilight

#7

LavaTwilight said:

Worst Nintendo Character EVER (imo)! I cannot stand him and although these minigames actually look great - Shutter was one I was looking forward to (from Wii U promotion video last year) and the Thief looks really fun - I still think I'm going to avoid this game entirely. Sorry Nintendo but you have my vote in almost any other game just not Wario, and sorry to Wario fans too.

rjejr

#11

rjejr said:

I'm glad this is more normal minigames and not the Warioware micro stuff. I rented Wario for a party and we played it for all of 40 minutes. It is the least played game on my Nintendo Channel Records list and I'm sure it will remain there for all time. This sounds much more like a Rabbids game.

Oh, this description for Arrow - 'tickle' the nose arrow for a more powerful shot. - coupled with this - by firing into the nuts and bolts - makes my mind go into the gutter, but not in a good way, more like a moneyshot stunt double way.

Torchwood

#12

Torchwood said:

The Wii U launch window is striking me as similar to the Wii launch window in terms if first party stuff...

warioswoods

#13

warioswoods said:

Thief sounds amazingly fun. That's exactly the kind of unique multiplayer idea the Wii U has me excited about.

aaronsullivan

#15

aaronsullivan said:

Thanks for that description of Thief because I'd seen it demoed elsewhere but didn't quite understand. Sounds great. I also like the looks of that arrow game.

I'd like to see you guys report on the murmurs of calibration issues that I've seen mentioned when "aiming" in some games.

Pokemon Snap needs a sequel SO badly and this is the perfect console for it, with HD and an "actual" camera controller. :)

Hope Game and Wario goes disc-free somehow. Mini-game compilations are best when you don't have to dig out a disc to play. Download or install, I don't care.

RevolverLink

#16

RevolverLink said:

@LavaTwilight - I'm sorry, I must've misread what you said there. Everyone knows that Wario is the best Nintendo character. :p

Anyway, I think I'd rather just have a new WarioWare, but if the 10 mini-games are deep enough and fun enough, I could see myself getting this (although definitely not at full retail price).

tinman

#18

tinman said:

Looks like complete rubbish to me. Maybe Nintendo should spend some more time making anything b u t minigame collections.

Mason

#19

Mason said:

@aaronsullivan I didn't really have any problems with calibration or anything — not on this game, at least. Felt accurate to me whether aiming with the back of the GamePad facing away from the TV (normal style) or turned vertically.

@rjejr Something to help those thoughts along even more: at the end of each game you're rewarded with a capsule out of a bonus machine. The capsules pop out of a chicken's behind, of which there's a zoomed in view on the GamePad. The Wario vulgarity is here alright! Not sure what bonuses you get just yet, it was just promo art teasing the full game in the demo.

SailorWario

#20

SailorWario said:

Ooooh looks pretty cool to me even though there's just ten games, The graphics remind me of Parappa the Rapper! :3

JohnDoe123

#21

JohnDoe123 said:

I know the games have their differences, but couldn't this be have been combined with Nintendoland for more content?

DestinyMan

#22

DestinyMan said:

@Mason: Where did you see that?! That sounds like how you unlocked extra content in WarioWare Twisted only that was a regular twist machine with Pyoro.

If there's unlockable content in this game along with the ten minigames, then it should have a bit more replayability.

MarkyVigoroth

#27

MarkyVigoroth said:

They Changed This; Now This Whomps.
(I am not keen on Minigame Collections...
...though I may buy this anyways to have a complete collection of WarioWare only.)

Dauntless

#30

Dauntless said:

It isn't a good sign when Nintendo is focusing on mini-games again. Think about it. MS and Sony focused on releasing large scale AAA titles like Gears, Halo, Uncharted, Killzone etc. so that is what the industry copies on those platforms. Nintendo focuses on Mini Party Games like Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, Wii Play, Wii Play Motion, Fling Smash, Wii Party etc. so that is why the Nintendo platform is a mini game bin. Nintendo needs to do large scale AAA quality titles to set an example for the rest of the industry. If cheap mini games make Nintendo rich then that is what the industry will try to copy on that platform.

Kage_88

#31

Kage_88 said:

@Dauntless - You clearly have no idea what you're talking about. First of all, most (if not all) of the Wii U games Nintendo has shown at E3 will be available at or near launch - games like NintendoLand and Game & Wario are designed as introductions to the Wii U GamePad. You are comparing these titles to Gears, Halo, Uncharted and Killzone - titles that weren't released until well into their respective console's lifespan? I like how you completely ignore other Wii U games like Pikmin 3, NSMBU, and SSB U.

I also like how you ignore the AAA games Nintendo released on the Wii, like Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, Metroid Prime Trilogy, Other M and SSB Brawl (to name a few).

Dauntless

#32

Dauntless said:

@Kage_88. Of course I ignored Pikmin. There hasn't been a new Pikmin in over 8 years. The last 2 on the Wii were ports. Metriod Prime Trilogy was also a gamecube port plus a rerelease of an existing Wii game. Twilight Princess can be a port too. The Wii was a step back for Nintendo in a lot of ways. You illustrated a point very well though. Without Nintendo's original main franchises and MARIO they have nothing. I think they really need to expand with new stuff for the adult audience that can compete with the other big exclusives. If Nintendo wants to be the top dog they need to cater to everyone. Not just fanboys and mini game kids.

sinalefa

#33

sinalefa said:

Warioware games are always a fun affair. I played the hell out of Smooth Moves and it is a hit whenever I have visits or go to a friend's house.

Indeed it will be interesting to see a different take with longer microgames. I hope there is bonus content, as with Warioware games where you have to play a lot to see all microgames.

wariowarewolf

#34

wariowarewolf said:

No WarioWare U? NNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I LOOOVE WARIOWAAARE I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDDD IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!1!

LEGEND_MARIOID

#38

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Warioware series is one of my favourites. The Wii and the DS showed off how you really could have fun with the systems. Looks like this one will do the same. So many Wii U games I want.

Henmii

#39

Henmii said:

So instead of a proper Warioware with lots of mini-games, it's just another Wii play, this time placed in the Warioware universe. So, this has gone down on my "wanted list" quite a bit!

Mason

#40

Mason said:

@NintyFan The capsule machine turned up after each mini game. You could shake the GamePad to jig the capsules about in the machine, then pushed a button to release one. No clue yet what the extras will be, though.

Gilius

#42

Gilius said:

Looks like the Wii U is becoming another DS system. Tv is your screen and the Wii U itself is the touch screen. Well, I just hope they'll make some type of WarioWare for 3DS. :T

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