Review: Paper Plane (DSiWare)

An upgraded version of the classic WarioWare minigame, but is it enough to warrant a purchase on its own?

When the original WarioWare, Inc. was released for Game Boy Advance, it brought with it a fresh new genre all its own. The concept of 'microgames' – a continual bombardment of shortened games that must be completed in a few seconds – has always been a trademark of the franchise. However, WarioWare also introduced to us a cluster of unlockable minigames – games that were geared towards more than a few seconds of play – that offered a refreshing change of pace from the frantic button-mashing of the microgame troupe. One of those games was Paper Plane.

Once again, we are able to relive the fun of this classic game of gliding paper aircraft: this time as a standalone title. You're probably saying, "I already have the old WarioWare, so I don't need to download this!" Hold up for just a second; they've added a few new ways to play that just might interest you enough to buy a copy. In addition to the traditional 'Endless' mode, two new modes have been included – Time Trial and Race – which both add a selection of predefined courses, instead of the constantly-generated path in Endless.

No matter which mode you play, the basic goal remains the same; namely, steer your plane through a winding maze inside a tall tower. The plane slowly drops down, and you must guide it between the walls that seem to plague the structure's interior; clip your plane against a wall and it tears into confetti, marking the end of your escapade. In Endless mode, the tower never ends; you just keep slowly gliding down until you crash, with your goal being to go down as many levels as you can before this happens. Sure, that's simple enough, but the physics of the aircraft must be influenced just right: if the plane points toward the left or right of the screen, it'll drop slowly, due to the added pressure against the bottom of the craft; and if the point starts to tip downwards, the plane will begin to pick up some speed – If you're not careful, you could nose-dive straight into a wall!

Okay, so what's different about the new modes then? In Time Trial mode, your goal is to race as fast as you can down a pre-built course, with a goal at the very bottom. There are eight different courses to choose from (three of which require unlocking), and though they appear to be similar, they each have a different theme: ranging from thicker walls, to multiple tunnels, and even to pitch darkness! The rules remain the same as Endless mode when it comes to crashing; if you manage to collide with an obstacle, then the trial automatically ends in failure!

One of the more creative of the new modes is VS, where you and a friend each control a plane in a race to the goal. Both players use the same DSi to play: Player 1 (blue) uses the D-Pad and top screen, while Player 2 (red) uses the buttons and bottom screen. The rules are simple: whoever crosses the goal first wins. However, there is a difference when somebody crashes in this mode: instead of dropping out of the race, their craft will respawn a couple of seconds after it was ripped to shreds – only causing a minor time penalty. The VS Mode does get awkward with two people holding one DSi, but it's good fun and also great practice for Time Trial, so there is value in playing it.

Conclusion

Well, by now you should have made up your mind on this game: if you have Paper Plane already and don't need the extra modes to enjoy it, then by all means, don't buy it; but if you have it and would like to try the extra modes (or you don't have it and are curious), then this is one of the more compelling DSiWare titles out right now in the 200 points price range. It is rich with pick-up-and-play gameplay – a highly valued feature is any genre. We played it, we enjoyed it; maybe you will too.