(GBC / Game Boy Color)

Wario Land II (GBC / Game Boy Color)

Game Review

Wario Land II Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

Greed is good

After the success of the first Wario Land, Nintendo decided to take another shot at putting its beloved new anti-hero in the spotlight. To differentiate it from Mario even further, it removed the "Super Mario Land" prefix and also made a massive gameplay change for Wario Land II. But is it one for the better?

Defeated at the end of the previous game, Captain Syrup returns to exact revenge. She steals most of the treasure from Wario's castle as he sleeps, and makes a complete mess of the place as well. Of course, Wario isn't going to stand for that, so he immediately sets out to get all his hard-earned cash back.

This time there's a massive difference that's noticeable right off the bat. Wario must've been working out, because in this instalment he's completely invincible. That's right — you can't die! Of course, if Wario Land II was highly similar to the first one, this change would make things absurdly easy, so there's been some fine-tuning. While Wario still moves and acts in almost the same manner, levels are now mostly puzzle-based rather than action-based.

It's usually possible to make it to the end of a particular stage with little cranial effort, but if you want to satisfy Wario and get all the gold and treasures you can, plus get the best ending, you have to explore every nook and cranny. Stuff is hidden in the most unexpected places, though it's never impossible to find, as there's always a hint something is nearby if you look carefully.

Of course, while Wario is a brawny guy who can smash his way through most obstacles with ease, Wario Land II's puzzles generally require a little more than just muscle. Transformations are also new, and they've since become a staple of Wario platformers. While some enemies only knock you away after successfully hitting you, which causes you to lose coins, there are several more uncommon creatures, as well as some objects, that don't directly harm you. Instead they give you a peculiar new form, each with its own ability. Depending on the level and/or room, some transformations are handy at one point but completely screw you over at others, so you've always got to look around and see if you can figure out what to do before you get yourself into any unfortunate situations.

Some examples of classic transformations introduced here are Zombie Wario, who can fall through thin platforms if he jumps onto them; Flat Wario, who moves slowly on the ground but can cover great horizontal distance if he jumps off a ledge, plus can move over small holes; and Fire Wario, who upon being lit will run around almost uncontrollably before bursting into flames and can burn through certain blocks. All of them either have a timer or can be cured in some way through a nearby object, so you're never permanently stuck in a particular form. While these transformations replace the helmets from the first Wario Land, such as the awesome Jet Cap, there's a much bigger line up of forms to make up for it.

Avid treasure hunters might remember that several levels in the original Wario Land had hidden rooms that featured large treasure chests, which, after beating the game, would give you bonus cash, and in turn would earn you a better ending. Wario Land II expands a little on both of these things. Although you might think it's a straight path from the beginning to the end of the game, in reality there are five levels that contain secret exits which lead to an alternate set of levels. All of them have a unique boss and all but one of them also has its own different ending (the last one simply loops its way back to the main path).

Now every single level has a secret room to find, where you can play a minigame to win a treasure, plus another not-so-well hidden area that lets you play a different minigame to obtain a treasure map piece. Collecting all treasures, as well as all pieces of the map, unlocks a super secret final stage and the true ending, as well as a Wario Land-styled remake of a certain classic Game & Watch game.

As the very last Nintendo-developed Game Boy game, Wario Land II features some impressive graphics and music for the system. The game was also remade for the Game Boy Color not long afterwards, naturally adding a colour palette and thus making it even prettier. Thankfully, this is the version we've received on the eShop.


Big fans of the first game might lament Wario Land II's sudden significant change in gameplay, but if you give it a try, you'll find that it's actually quite good. All the unique new gameplay features help flesh the series out and turn it into a wildly different, yet still equally entertaining game, which should be checked out by both those who liked and disliked its predecessor.

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User Comments (50)



BenAV said:

Nice review Marcel.
I don't buy many VC games but I used to have this on GBC when I was younger and I recall it being really fun so I bought it earlier.
Looking forward to playing it again when I have the time.



MeWario said:

My favourite game ever on Gameboy Colour! (tied with Pokemon Gold) I literally played this a million times, and after downloading it I can say it's still great. 10/10 much better than the first Warioland. Great review!



47drift said:

Wario Land III is my absolute favorite, but these are all great. Just gotta keep patient until that one releases...



Fabian said:

Finally it´s on the VC I can´t wait to play this and Flip the Core but first I need a new Eshop Card.Thankfully I don´t have to wait for Wario Land 3 because I have the Cardridge.Now Nintendo needs to bring Mario Bros Deluxe to the Eshop.And I hope NA don´t has to wait as long as they have to for Super Mario Land 3:Wario Land.



RR529 said:

I'll finally be able to play the first game next week (live in N.A.), and if I like it, I'll get this when it's released.

One question. I hated that you had to run back to the beginning of the level under a time limit in Wario Land 4 (also an ambassador), and that really put me off the game. Are these earlier games like that, or are they more like mario in which each level has a start and and end point (albiet with different gameplay, more exploration, and alternate paths)?



3dbrains said:

Good review. I was tempted by this game yesterday but held back. I am on the eshop as I type this... PURCHASE... Sleep mode download...
ahhh got my Nintendo fix



Gridatttack said:

I remember playing this on my ds. I couldn't pass the level with the chicken
I remember it being a good platform. If this gets on the US, I will considerably download it.



RupeeClock said:

Wario Land 2 is always an absolute classic, in my repeated playthroughs, I always start my game by...doing nothing!

That's the best way to beat any first level, eh?



Bass_X0 said:

Yeah, I didn't like being forced to the next level without an option to go back and try find a different path. Fortunately I let Wario sleep and went the short route to an ending which then lets you access the map screen.

Also, remember to touch the bottom screen on the monsters bonus game just as they show up to give you time to see where the monster is. You only have to spend 50 coins this way with no chance of getting it wrong.



chewytapeworm said:

Popped this on my watch list yesterday, as I won't be purchasing it until I beat the first one, which I've been neglecting recently. Fired it up again yesterday though, I forgot how good it was! Sounds like the second installment is far more casual than the first, but that certainly won't be deterring me!



Expa0 said:

I still find Wario Land 4 way better :/. In fact I think Wario Land 4 is overall one of the best 2d-platformers of all time.



RetrogamerFan said:

"...Captain Syrup returns to exact revenge. She steals most of the treasure from Wario's castle as he sleeps..."

Guess i need to put in some more time with Wario Land/SML3 before i start on the next one, all i got at the end of WL/SML3 was a bird house, which made me laugh



ejamer said:

If you miss something (either a treasure or a puzzle piece) during a level, can you go back to get it later or are you stuck with the bad ending? I seem to remember that you can't revisit old levels in this game... but that doesn't seem to make sense.



JonWahlgren said:

By far my favorite Wario Land. Even though I have the cart I might pick this one up when it hits the US. The "no death" thing was such an awesome idea and put to great use.



Drake said:

@ejamer Once you beat the game you'll unlock a level select screen where you can see exactly which levels you're missing stuff in.



Otto-Soq said:

Just finished Super Mario Land 2, and wanted to buy SML 3...but after reading this review, i first start downloading this one today!



WreckItRyan said:

This is still one of my favorite games of all time! So much fun, so many good memories, everyone should get this game!



NintyMan said:

With the first one coming out next week for us in North America, hopefully it won't take long for Wario land II to hop over as well. Wario Land 4 really impressed me, so I'm eager to try this one out and eventually Wario Land 3 before deciding which of the bunch will be my favorite.



TheConsiglio said:

Gonna get this and First Wario Land when it comes out. I only wish to get treasure you didn't have to play a Minigame Nothing restore points couldn't fix right?



FonistofCruxis said:

@RR529 The only other Wario land where you have to race back to the start is The shake dimension on Wii.
Good review, I'll definitely get this at some point.



Olaf-symbiote said:

I love this game. For me, it's definitely the best GBC game, and one of the best games ever. While the first Wario Land was pretty fun, the sequel is even better and more creative! Even if the aspect of not dying might be a turn-off for some first, I recommend everyone to give it a try, as the immortality system and the more exploration and puzzle-based levels really grow on you after a while, and you start seeing the game for the masterpiece it is.

... Not just ONE of the best games, the best game EVER! 11/10! My childhood is this game (along with SMB DX and Pokémon).



UnseatingKDawg said:

Well, I guess North America will have to wait another half-year or so for this one. Good thing the first one becomes available next week.



Metalskull said:

I had the original GB version back in school im so happy i can play this game again in color



Otto-Soq said:

Downloaded the game today, and i am hooked to it. Very fun game with atmospheric old school graphics.



MeWario said:

@Olaf-symbiote We must have had the exact same childhood! Haha played this game to death (collected 9999 coins several times =P) it's amazing how much I remember about it playing through it again.



MeloMan said:

Y'know, After SML3:WarioLand, I didn't touch another Wario game ever... never had anything against him, I just... didn't crave his games for some reason. If 2, 3, 4 and maybe more are destined to come, then I will go ahead and give things a shot starting at 2.



XXITheWorld said:

Am I the only one who thinks that Wario Land 2 was infinitely better than Wario Land 3?

It seems everyone is like "Yeah WL3 was the best"



WaveGhoul said:

@XXITheWorldYou're not alone, Wl2 was a very good sequal but 3 was a massive dissapointment. It felt like one giant frustrating never ending boring chore. It's the only WL game i didn't enjoy, thankfully the franchise redeemed itself with WL4.

Shake it! > 1 > 4 > 2 > Doing Wario's dirty dishes >>>>>>>>>> 3



MeWario said:

@WaveBoy For me it goes: 2 > 3 > 4 > Shake it > 1 haha nearly the opposite of you =P (though I think 2, 3 and 4 are close!)



warioswoods said:

I won't rank or order Wario Land games because they're all too good to be subjected to even that minor potential insult. If it's a genuine Wario Land (ie., not Master of Disguise etc), just buy it immediately.



BulbasaurusRex said:

In a game with an invincible protagonist, the game hinges on the enjoyability of the basic gameplay, otherwise you get a boring snoozer like Kirby's Epic Yarn rather than the simple fun of the Lego games.

Here, according to this review, we merely have light, straight-forward puzzles only required to beat the levels, while exploration is only used to get additional optional loot and exits (which then means having to replay a bunch of the same levels a bunch of times), and each of those 3 examples suits sounds frustrating to control. Therefore, I will pass on this one.



MeWario said:

@Geonjaha Of coarse it's subjective, it just seems he has similar taste to me and I wanted him to know I wasn't a fan of Kirby's Epic Yarn and yet love this game. It would just be a shame if he didn't give this game a go =)



Katzii said:


Because you've never gotten ANY good games first in North America during the entirety of videogaming history...



H_Hunter said:

Never played any wario game before..
I want this game and 4 and warioware microgames. I guess I just have to wait



UnseatingKDawg said:

@Brick: I know, right? I have a bad feeling after this "8-bit Summer" event is over, we're gonna be right back where we were; Japan and Europe getting all the good games a good 3-5 months before America. (Just so anyone knows, I don't hate Japan or Europe for getting these games earlier. I just wish Nintendo would release them to everyone at the same time. Sorry if anyone takes my comments the wrong way.)



Hokori said:

I hope it doesn't take too long after Wario land one for 2 to come out



Nekketsu3D said:

along with Super Mario Land 3, is what I hope for a long time.Come improve your quality Nintendo ESHOP U.S.



TheDreamingHawk said:

Coming here by the end of the year. Yay!

And in my opinion, even without playing 2,3 or Shake, I can bet that it will be 1000000000000000X better than the terrible game known as Wario Land 4.



alvieao said:

The sequel to Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 is finally here in America! After playing the game some moments ago, I must say Wario Land II is one fantastic platformer. Wario Land II was the last first-party Game Boy title and also one of the first Game Boy Color titles, as proven by its amazing graphics and music. No longer tied to Super Mario Land, Wario is now invincible and is immune to death. There's no power-up helmets either, but Wario can assume new forms and abilities caused by enemies to make progress and discover secret areas. In fact, every stage has hidden treasures to collect by winning minigames. Once again, there's multiple endings but Wario Land II has branching paths where you'll find secret exits by replaying previous stages. Simply put, Wario Land II is an awesome masterpiece that's worth playing on the 3DS Virtual Console. Thank you Nintendo! I hope to see Wario Land 3 on the US eShop somewhere along the road...



pukka-pie said:

Really disappointed with this one, at a stretch i'd give it a 7 but a 5 would be much more suitable. For a Nintendo game it is almost bereft of imagination, sure there are some interesting mechanics but overall this is just plain dull. I found myself thinking "what in gods name do I do?!" all too often as well.

Not an enjoyable experience at all.



Artwark said:

For a game made back then, its the most innovative thing I've ever played in a game. Its a great game so if you're a Wario fan, try it out!

Can't wait to try out Wario Land 3.

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