The biggest mistake you could possibly make with WarioWare Touched! is overlooking it due to the simplistic visuals. Until you play the game it isn't apparent that this simplicity is what keeps WarioWare so entertaining. If there ever was a DS game that can appeal to all ages, this surely is it.
I must admit that the subset of the population who overlooked WarioWare for its simplicity included myself. Only until recently have I decided to listen to the countless praise of WW and brought my own copy. I got hooked from the first micro-game, kept playing till my eyes would stay open no longer, and still there is no sign of me getting bored any time soon. I, reluctantly, tore myself away from it to do this review, hoping to portray to you how simply awesome it is.
WarioWare Touched is all about the simple and short bursts of fun in the form of 'micro-games'. There are a couple hundred of these micro-games for you to play through again and again. These are thrown at the player in quick succession and require fast reactions in order to succeed. After completing a specific amount of micro-games the boss level appears, this is usually a harder and longer game.
First things first let me explain what exactly micro-games are for those of you who have not played any other WarioWare game. As the name implies these are a series small games that generally last less than 5 seconds each, requiring some form of interaction with the DS touchscreen or microphone. These range from; pressing a virtual button to pick a nose, flattening out hills, petting animals, blowing people away from superstars, strumming a guitar, connecting a battery, waving to someone, threading a needle, spinning a plate, connecting a GameCube, slicing objects ... I could go on and on listing all of these highly addictive games but it would take too long. There are also the boss stages, these are the longer micro-games that tie in elements from some of the other games in order to create a tricky challenge with more chances for one to fail.
As I mentioned, the micro-games are played through various interactions with the DS system. Some will require you to blow/talk into the DS in a specifically timed manner, others will require you to rub the screen frantically to find objects, or you could find yourself drawing simple lines, and a few of the games just require you to tap a specific point once. They are all easy to complete, providing you have a comfortable amount of time... which you don't. But if you ever have to leave you DS in the middle of a level, fear not as you are allowed to pause at any point... a vital feature. If you fail a game in any way you lose a life, lose all your lives and its game over, back to square one.
Herein lies depth to WarioWare, the games are simple but executed in a way which requires you to keep your wits about and your skills sharp. Before the start of each stage an expression pops up on the screen, these expressions give vital indications as to how to play the micro-game that is less than a second away. For example, if “Find" appears on the screen you know you are going to rub the screen to find something, if “Rotate" appears you know you will be making circles with the stylus, “Shoot" will mean you are going to be tapping specific targets, and so on and so forth. Even with these indications you will find that there are variables in each game which can change how it plays compared to last time.
As you progress through each of the levels micro-games you will find that they will start speeding up, leaving less time to gage what exactly the requirements are for you to succeed. There is also no set order to the games, this means there is no chance for you to get better by learning what comes next. Keep going on in the later levels and you will see how truly hard some of them will become, but they always start out slow to break you in. It's good that Nintendo have created this steady difficulty slope for the gamers, because this allows one to train up to to become a micro-game champion at a nice pace. The difficulty is not just increased via speed, initially all the games wil be themed according to the method by which they are played (Spinning, Rubbing, Speaking, et al). Eventually the game types start to merge into one and then you really do have no clue as to what is around the corner.
The levels themselves are represented by the characters of the game, with each having their own mix of micro-game madness. The characters all wander about on the main screen once they have been unlocked, give them a poke with the stylus and you are ready to have a crack at their level. There are stories that accompany most of the characters, they don't last for long but mostly do provide doses of humor. As well as this there also is music associated with each of the characters... surprisingly its one of those few arcade games where sound doesn't drive me insane . It actually helps to add to the tension, as when the games increase in speed so does the music.
When you first access a new characters games you will just need to defeat the first occurrence of the boss. Successfully completing this stage allows for you to come back and play a mode where there is no limit to the games and they get faster and faster until, eventually, you loose all your lives. There are also modes later that start out with very fast micro-games for those who are truly hardcore. If it is a specific game you want to play there the option to choose any micro-game unlocked in album mode, this allows one to play harder and harder versions of the single game.
If you thought Touched just contained the micro-games, shame on you! WarioWare also has unlockable 'toys' that you can pick up through playing the game. Some of these you will tinker with once and then leave (the cooker timer), some you will play again and again (Wario paint, the Parrot) and some of them will give you amusement at how bizarre they are (the wobbly custard tart). They won't keep you occupied for long periods of time like the micro-games do, but they do provide light relief from any frustration that the main game might cause.
WarioWare Touched demonstrates to full effect how simplicity can still lead to stunning gameplay. Whether its a few hours or just a few minutes, you will find that this game will provide countless fun. Put aside any of your reservations of this game made on the graphics, this is one of the best titles for the DS and most gamers of all ages will be satisfied playing it.