(Wii U)

Game & Wario (Wii U)

Game Review

Game & Wario Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Mike Mason

Wario party

Going back a few years, it was something of a tradition for Nintendo to launch a new platform with a WarioWare title in hot pursuit. Charming bundles of micro-games that packed as much personality and gameplay as possible into seconds-long chunks, and perfect for demonstrating the unique capabilities of new hardware, the WarioWare games have always been popular with fans due to their off-the-wall, lightning-fast approach and humour that more often than not leans towards the gross, ridiculous or plain old malevolent.

However, the trend was broken when it came to the dawn of the 3DS's first day, and while Wario makes his return on Wii U with Game & Wario, it's not from quite the same stable as other WarioWare titles – hence the change in name. Instead, Game & Wario is a collection of 16 single- and multiplayer mini-games that set out to prove the potential of the Wii U GamePad in numerous different ways. Each game is played solely with a single GamePad – there's not a Wii Remote in sight here.

Does it manage to pull it off? Well, yes and no. When Game & Wario's better games strike, they absolutely sell their concepts and take advantage of Wii U in convincing – and often hilarious – fashion. But the effect is dampened by several not-quite-so-special efforts that, by contrast, do little to show off Wii U's unique appeal and, at worst, come across as derivative and uninteresting.

Take Kung Fu, for instance. You join Young Cricket as he attempts to hop over a series of chasms towards Master Mantis, leaping up to snatch buns as he goes. With an overhead view on the GamePad and a camera planted behind Cricket on the television, you tilt the GamePad forwards, backwards, left and right to control your jumps. If you want to move a decent distance, you flick the pad far forward; if you require more accuracy, use smaller movements to bounce along. There's nothing particularly wrong with it, but it feels like it's all been done before on mobile devices.

Similarly, Ashley's sickly-sweet confectionary-based horizontal shooter displays nothing new, outside of a fun little loop-de-loop mechanic to grab precious candy. Holding the GamePad up towards the screen, you swivel the controller like a steering wheel to direct Ashley up and down, while the handheld screen displays a zoomed in view of her face. If you get hit too much you have to tap her repeatedly to calm her down before you can carry on. It doesn't exactly scream “this is only possible on Wii U!”

But then you encounter Camera. Pirate. The multiplayer games. There are six or seven distractions in Game & Wario that do a fantastic job of reminding you that the Wii U does have a great, varied feature set, that there are possibilities for experiences here that aren't so readily available elsewhere. Some of these games could be emulated on other platforms, but most likely not with the same feel.

Mona's latest photography adventure, Camera, gives you five targets, and the idea is to get as clear a snapshot of them as possible: eyes open, face on, filling the viewfinder. The TV is home to a view of the whole area, while the GamePad – your camera, naturally – offers only a small window into the action. You hold the GamePad up to the primary display and scan around for your subjects, and only when they're in shot on the controller screen can you photograph them. With a limited view on the GamePad, you've got to constantly look between the TV and controller to coordinate your efforts.

Pirate will be familiar to anybody who saw the Shield Pose demonstration a couple of E3s ago. Captain Wario's minions shoot arrows at you from four directions – centre, left, right and overhead – and you have to block them by moving the GamePad into the appropriate positions in time to the rhythm, before flicking the arrows off with a downward swipe and preparing for the next volley. It's a really fun way to show off the controller, giving the impression that the game world expands beyond the television to surround you – shifting the pad around shows off more of the seven seas than you can see on the main screen. Each round ends with an insane dance segment, in which Wario encourages you to match his moves – a series of increasingly dodgy arm stretches, squats, bounces and thrusts.

One of the stand outs arises when Wario steps back over towards the Ware side of town. Gamer features naughty 9-Volt fiddling with his handheld games console in bed, despite being ordered to sleep by his mother. You play WarioWare-style micro-games on the GamePad screen, but at the same time you have to keep one eye and ear on the television; 9-Volt's mum is on the prowl, and if she catches him awake – or you fail too many micro-games – you lose. You have to quickly hold ZL and ZR to hide beneath the bed sheets whenever you hear or see the concerned parent approaching – but ducking under when it's not necessary saps your energy, which can lead to you falling asleep instead. It's a brilliant concept that turns the micro-game idea on its head, keeps you on edge and gets genuinely stressful in later stages, particularly when things get creepier and mum starts paying tribute to The Ring by clambering out of 9-Volt's TV. If you want to play the WarioWare games alone, there's an 18-Volt alternative without any of the added pressure.

The multiplayer-focused side of the package is particularly strong. There's Islands, which is reminiscent of a board game; players pass the GamePad around and take it in turns to flick Fronks onto a target, aiming to land the critters in high scoring zones – though you can also try to knock other players' creatures off the board and hit buttons for point multipliers. In Disco, two players sit on either side of the GamePad and tap out rhythms at each other in turn, the winner being the one that can most accurately match the other's beats.

Fruit puts the GamePad player into the role of a vitamin C-loving thief as they try to blend in among crowds of AI characters and steal fruit without being spotted. Other players watch the television and try to work out who the robber is – watching who's hanging about when an apple disappears, for example. At the end of the game, when all the pieces of fruit have been taken, the GamePad is passed to the spectators one by one so that they can guess the culprit. It's surprisingly tough to work out who the criminal is, as with little effort players can imitate the CPU-controlled characters; anything they can do, the player can do. TV watchers get a little help, though: every 30 seconds the game pauses and highlights the general area that the player is currently in, and there's also a very brief indicator on the thief whenever they snatch one of the snacks up.

Artwork is essentially Pictionary: all competing players take a photo of themselves and then take turns with the GamePad, drawing against the clock while the others look to the television and try to guess what's being sketched. If a player guesses correctly, the GamePad holder taps a button and identifies the person who called out the right answer. Once everybody's had a go, the winner is the person with the highest score: typically the one who scribbled the most drawings that were guessed correctly and called out the most answers. It's followed by a hysterical slideshow of the round's 'art' – and naturally, being a Wario title, the suggestions for drawings aren't necessarily what you would find in your standard game of Pictionary.

It's just a shame that the whole package doesn't match up to these high points. Other games lie somewhere in between the great and the grotty: on their own merits they're pretty decent, but they lack magic and don't really show why anybody should rush out to buy a Wii U. Design is smart; after challenging players to draw lines and shapes of certain lengths, angles and diameters off the cuff, it uses some clever wizardry to determine how accurate the sketches are. Taxi's a fun enough driving / shooting game in which you pick up passengers and blow up UFOs; it shows an overhead map on the television and a first person view point on GamePad, but it's most likely that you'll just keep your eyes on the controller screen and ignore the rest.

Patchwork is a fine little puzzle game in which you slot pieces of fabric onto a board to make objects. It's a touch screen demo more than anything else, though, albeit one with a lot of content; there are dozens of puzzles to complete. In Arrow you hold the GamePad vertically — it houses a nose-shaped bow and arrow, used to shoot down approaching enemies on the television by aiming with motion and shooting arrows with a drag on the touch screen.

Bowling and Ski similarly use a vertically-held GamePad. The former is a fairly unremarkable take on the sport in which you swipe the ball towards pins before applying aftertouch with tilt. Ski fairs worse as the least satisfying of the bunch – with a 3D view on the TV, top down angle on a vertically-held GamePad and tilt controls, it feels like a poor man's version of Nintendo Land's Captain Falcon's Twister Race. Rounding out the collection is Bird – another take on the popular Pyoro mini-game that's appeared in many-a WarioWare, delivered in a couple of fun art styles that we'll leave you to discover for yourselves.

Each game does switch its style up as you play more; there are extra levels which completely change scenarios and become more difficult: whereas Camera starts off with static levels, by the end it's scrolling around, making those special shots even more difficult to capture. Fruit moves from a relatively straightforward city into a darkened museum, forcing players to pick out the thief by peering at silhouettes.

These alterations add quite a lot of replayability to Game & Wario, but we'd say that it's not a game you're going to play for a long time if you're going solo – despite its single controller focus and the single player games outweighing the multiplayer, this is a game to experience in a crowd. The four multiplayer titles are obviously the first port of call, but several of the single player attractions have a passive spectator appeal and so could easily be played with more people – having people help scout about in Camera, for example.

Wario has never looked quite so good as in high definition, with crisp, chunky cartoon visuals on display much of the time, mixed in with 3D interpretations of the characters, photographs and bizarrely-styled drawings. As ever, Nintendo stitches together the mish-mash of contrasting styles well, and it's peppered with funny little details; eagle-eyed readers might spot some characters from the Rhythm Heaven series slipping into Wario's territory. It fares well on the sound side as well, with a few hummable head-nodders and plenty of cheeky sound effects soundtracking the action. We also have to give a special mention to the lovely credits sequence — it's one of the most interesting we've ever seen.

As is standard in the WarioWare series, there are also tons of unlockables to grab, from the ludicrous to the completely pointless – several of the ones we've got like to play funny tricks with the GamePad's camera. They're bought from a capsule machine with tokens earned by playing the main games, and charmingly they're delivered via a chicken's bottom. Also, there's built-in Miiverse functionality based around the Artwork game; players suggest words for others to draw in a time limit, which are then uploaded to the Game & Wario community. Unfortunately we've not been able to test this, as the community isn't live on the European Miiverse yet, but if the multiplayer game is anything to go by it's going to be a fun addition.

Conclusion

Game & Wario doesn't do quite as much with Wii U as we'd hoped, with several of the games included doing little to showcase the hardware's unique functions. However, there are some games that shine and do a fantastic job of differentiating the console from the rest of the market, demonstrating ways to play that aren't possible on other systems. Despite the number of single player games indicating otherwise, Game & Wario isn't at its best when played alone — with multiple willing participants it's a hoot and, while it doesn't match up to Nintendo Land as Wii U's premier multiplayer experience, it certainly has its share of games that you're going to want to play again and again.

More Stories

Game Trailer

Damien, Mike, Andy and Rory get some alone time with Game & Wario, the latest effort from Intelligent Systems. Check out our coverage of the game - including

User Comments (84)

iphys

#2

iphys said:

Gamer is pretty much the only game I want to play. Glad I only paid $26.66 for this game, as I don't think it's going to be a keeper.

Dpullam

#3

Dpullam said:

I can imagine having some wacky fun with friends if I get this game. I'll consider it at least.

hydeks

#5

hydeks said:

About what I expected, priced right too, so can't really complain.

DestinyMan

#6

DestinyMan said:

Great review!

This game ought to tide me over, at least until the next proper WarioWare game comes to the 3DS in the hopefully-not-too-distant future. My favorite game is most likely going to be Gamer, followed by Bowling and Patchwork.

I'm going to be a regular on the Game & Wario community without a doubt. It's going to be cool seeing people's amazing drawings and funny to see people's horrible impromptu ones!

It's a smart move on Nintendo's part to reduce the price for this. I just hope that the game does fairly well. I'm looking forward to getting it this Sunday!

antipop621

#8

antipop621 said:

Didn't bother to pre-order. If I can find a copy this Sunday I'm gonna buy it to keep me busy until Pikmin comes out.

Xiao_Pai

#11

Xiao_Pai said:

Sooo glad they kept Shield Pose, lol.
Dunno whether to get this digital or not though.

That all said, what's going on with the Rhythm Heaven team? :c

bizcuthammer

#13

bizcuthammer said:

I've never played a warioware game i thought deserved better or worse than a 7/10, so i'm not surprised. This looks like a rent or borrow game for me. Definitely not a buy.

sinalefa

#16

sinalefa said:

That patchwork screenshot looks like something out of Pushmo.

I guess a 7 is not that bad, and it is available at 40 bucks, so I will pick this up. Nice to see that there are alternate, harder versions of the games.

True_Hero

#18

True_Hero said:

I read a different review that gave it about the same score (7.5), but praised Kung Fu and Bowling. Different strokes, I suppose. It does seem that Ashley is universally 'meh', though. I'm still looking forward to this. I honestly didn't expect every minigame to be a revolution.

Taya

#21

Taya said:

Game & Wario doesn't look as strong as Wario Ware games, but I think it will be worth owning.

daveh30

#22

daveh30 said:

After E3, the Nintendo Brass talked about Nintendo Land not being able to do for the Wii U what Wii Sports did for the Wii.... I wonder if this might make a better pack-in title for the holiday season to show off the systems unique features. Maybe adding this title in a bundle in addition to Nintendo Land near Christmas time might be a way to show off some of the GamePad functions and add a little value to the package while still avoiding the price cut they seem to be dead set against...

Pikachupwnage

#24

Pikachupwnage said:

When it's cheap I will buy. Waaaay too much on my to buy list to bother with this unless I get a good deal.

GearsOfWarU

#26

GearsOfWarU said:

This Thing looks like shovel ware... complete Garbage .... no thanks .... playing Super Luigi U instead : )

BossBattles

#27

BossBattles said:

Super Luigi U is great for a challenge as long as you go for all star coins/secret exits. This looks like something I'll pick up just to mess around with. My Wii U collection is pretty substantial and it hasn't even been a full year. After Aug-Dec its going to be looking pretty solid.

SkywardCrowbar

#28

SkywardCrowbar said:

@GearsOfWarU What makes it look like shovelware? This is a solid entry in a solid series of quirky mini game titles. Do you assume that all mini game titles are shovelware?

Barbie games are shovelware. First party Nintendo titles are most certainly not.

3DSAllDay

#29

3DSAllDay said:

I had a feeling that it would get a 7. Not that its a bad score but not an amazing title.

SCAR392

#30

SCAR392 said:

From what I read in the review, I was thinking a 6. Doesn't seem worth it to me. $40 is a good price, but I'm thinking I'll just wait and save my money for Pikmin 3 and W101.
I'm sure tons of people will buy it for their children, then I'll get it for $15 in 2 years :P

Xiao_Pai

#32

Xiao_Pai said:

@SkywardCrowbar because the graphics probably...lol. Kinda wished people would look up the definition of shovelware. Not to mention, look up and see who's DEVELOPING the game. Because Intelligent Systems doesn't make shovelware, never has, never will. :p

Shambo

#33

Shambo said:

now i only need warioware twisted for virtual console! have the original, but the built-in battery is dead...

while i'm on it, does anyone perchance know how to replace it, and if that's the reason my save file keeps getting deleted?
note: the rumble also doesn't happen before a while in game...

MadAdam81

#34

MadAdam81 said:

Seems worth it for the price.
I'm wondering if Wii U would be doing better if this was bundled along with Nintendo Land.

GiftedGimp

#36

GiftedGimp said:

It sounds like it suffers from common problems found in these Mini-game compilations, but don't think it's a reflection of the game, more the genre, and for the genre this looks to be one of the better ones.
If the price is right, £20-£30 then I'll pick it up, sounds like a bit of fun to play with the family.

Ras

#37

Ras said:

That criminal Jessie photographed looked suspiciously like Reggie.

Sean_Aaron

#40

Sean_Aaron said:

Seems like a decent budget release and I'm sure will make for a nice party game to keep the kids happy until Wii U Party.

GearsOfWarU

#41

GearsOfWarU said:

I love Nintendo land ... I'm probably going to get Wii Party U ... This Wario game just looks Bad ... I have absolutely 0 interest in this title . Looks like a junk bin game to me I wouldn't want on my Wii U ;-)

GearsOfWarU

#42

GearsOfWarU said:

This title got a 5/10 on Ign .... This is a bad game ... It's cheap crap!!!! Love Nintendo & My Wii U just not this ... I'd rather okay Walking Dead Survival Instincts :-P

TreesenHauser

#44

TreesenHauser said:

To me, this game looks more fun than Nintendo Land. I still plan to get this, so hopefully time will tell how I like it--and maybe I can rally up some friends to check it out with me this time.

Emblem

#45

Emblem said:

@GearsOfWarU I read the ign review after reading your comment, its a pretty bad review so I couldn't take it seriously (Didn't watch the video so that may have been better). Think I'll pick this up as it's only £26 on amazon and from the other reviews I've seen it seems decent.

UncleSporky

#46

UncleSporky said:

Can I get any details on Artwork? How many words in the list? Are there multiple word lists? Can you add to the list?

WaveBoy

#47

WaveBoy said:

IGN can`t be trusted, unless Richy Rich is doing the review. ;)
Still, Game & Wario in no way shape or forms seems as imaginitive , daring, insane or as fun as Smooth Moves. Still won`t stop me from cuising on down to BestBuy and snaging a copy. B-)

element187

#48

element187 said:

Very conflicted.. My opinion is the whole game doesn't look worth $40.
I really wish Nintendo would just break these up into individual purchases, like free to play and I can choose which mini-games I want... looks like at least half I would never play.

But man I want Gamer, Island, Camera, Artwork and Pirate... But I refuse to pay for the rest of them.... Do it Nintendo, break this up into individual games and I'm sure at least every Wii U owner will at least buy one of them.

Looks like Super Luigi U and VC/eShop games for me until Pikmin 3 (also have Sniper on its way from Gamefly)

Captain_Balko

#50

Captain_Balko said:

Getting this day one. I have a brother who I can play this with at all times so I don't have to worry about going solo (to be honest, if I had to play a Wii U game solo I'd just try to clear up my backlog, mainly Zombi U). I have always adored the Wario Ware series, and have all of them except (unfortunately) for Wario Ware Touched, which upsets me. Twisted was a notable favourite of mine. I love the crazy collectibles in Wario Ware, and I spend an absurd amount of time collecting them all (and playing with them). In Twisted, I probably spent more time playing with the minigames and random stuff that I collected than I spent on the actual microgames.

LittleIrves

#52

LittleIrves said:

I will like this game a lot more than many people, methinks.
In fact, I already do. (mysterious face.)
Be nice to Shy Dog.

miiandmario

#53

miiandmario said:

I was actually pretty hyped for this game, but most reviews have been average. I still want the game but its not a necessity.

jon_simmons

#54

jon_simmons said:

Not interested. I'm tired of mini game comps. I thought nintendoland was real boring. this looks worse

Mason

#55

Mason said:

First up, thanks for reading everybody! I'm open to answering any questions I can as always. Going through the comments so far, I've noticed these...

@Wowfunhappy - That's been corrected, thank you!

@UncleSporky Artwork details? Of course! I'm not sure how many words there are in the list; I can't recall any repeats throughout a couple of hours, though, so it's fairly substantial. There aren't multiple lists as far as I know, and I don't believe you can add to the list.

@Fusion14 I'm afraid 9-Volt is a boy!

Feel free to ask me anything else, I'll do my best to answer. :)

SkywardCrowbar

#56

SkywardCrowbar said:

@Erica_Hartmann The game was developed by Nintendo Software Planning & Development along with Intelligent Systems, and it uses a Nintendo IP in Wario, so I think it's fair enough to call it a first party game.

Perhaps I should've just said that Nintendo IP's aren't ever bad, but I was pre-occupied at the time. Sorry for any confusion.

james_squared

#57

james_squared said:

Good review. Metacritic currently has a 61/100 based on ten "Critic Reviews" so far. It still looks like fun though and I'm sure I'll pick it up soon.

Grodus

#59

Grodus said:

That's too bad, I expected more from this game. I'll still try it out, but it is no longer high on my to-do list.

sinalefa

#60

sinalefa said:

@GearsOfWarU

The IGN review also says that there are "only 12 games" when there are 16, so she could not even get something that simple straight.

Mahe

#61

Mahe said:

"Nintendo Land as Wii U's premier multiplayer experience"...

Nintendoland is at best mediocre, at worst terrible. Game & Wario would have to be very bad to be worse than Nintendoland.

zipmonStaff

#62

zipmon said:

Great review Mike!! This looks like a lot of fun, even if it's not going to kick Nintendo Land out of it's nearly-permanent place in my Wii U!

I also can't help but be totally charmed by the Ashley game; it screams Cotton and that's more than enough for me! :D

Dogpigfish

#65

Dogpigfish said:

Feels like more Nintendoland, which is really all I wanted. Taxi is terrific, but I doubt many of the reviewers got that far in the game.

Dogpigfish

#66

Dogpigfish said:

It's also interesting to see such a huge range of praises and disappointment on metacritic. Problem is players will have to play through some of the less exciting games to get to the more interesting. Taxi and Gamer are fantastic and I wouldn't see them going standalone for less than $10 a download. In fact, I would advise Nindi to take that approach to reveal done of the mastery hidden within this package.

Frapp

#67

Frapp said:

@Mahe
Each to his own. For me, Nintendo Land is one of Nintendo's very finest launch games.

MadJay1664

#70

MadJay1664 said:

Got Nintendo Land Friday now preordered this tonight and can't wait! Wii U party is on my list as well!

SkywardCrowbar

#71

SkywardCrowbar said:

I love this game. My fiancee and I have been playing it like non stop since we got it Sunday. I'd give it an 8/10. It's just lots of fun.

rmeyer

#72

rmeyer said:

It's pretty good. Played the multiplayer last night with family and had a great time.

Samurairu

#73

Samurairu said:

I find the multiplayer better in this than in Nintendo Land. It's a different game so some will like it more and some less. I like it more than I thought it would and am very glad I picked up this title. After Wii Party U and Wii Fit U, here's to hoping sports resort is next year!

GamerJunkie

#74

GamerJunkie said:

@Samurairu Seems like the people that are excited for all of these mediocre games are casual family/women/kid gamers.

Nintendo needs some games for people that want to play real games. Not demos they call games, pretend exercise and stuff to play against mom and lil brother john.

Samurairu

#75

Samurairu said:

I hear what you're saying, but there's no need to insult people by suggesting they don't like REAL games. When I took more time to play games I played mostly on the PC. I never bought an N64 or Gamecube. When I read the complainers posts in regards to the Wii U it makes me think that those people need to be more careful about what they buy and ensure it meets their expectations based on facts and not hopes, promises or dreams. The only game I'm looking forward to for somewhat serious gaming on my Wii U is X. Other than that, I want exactly the kind of stuff Nintendo is delivering and I am very happy with my Wii U.

SkywardCrowbar

#77

SkywardCrowbar said:

@GamerJunkie Please, keep your "there's no women gamers" crap out of here. Keep your misogyny to yourself.

Also, I'm not exactly a casual gamer. I've played easily over a hundred games in my life. My favorite game is Metroid Prime. Is that a casual title?

I love Game & Wario, and I'm a hardcore gamer. You're just an elitist troll.

james_squared

#78

james_squared said:

Game & Wario is lots of fun. Cool games. Lots of silliness. Some of the micro games from the hen are pretty neat. Lots of interesting imaginative ideas in this one.

KAHN

#79

KAHN said:

eh. the bad outweighs the good for me on this one. i'd give it a 6 or 5.

k8sMum

#80

k8sMum said:

@GamerJunkie

i am a grandmother who has been gaming since Pong. perhaps you need to step into the 21st century and open your eyes to the world around you.

my kids had every nintendo product other than the virtual boy. y'know why? because i was into gaming and wanted them. same for ps1, 2 and now 3. and yeah: we had the atari and sega systems too. we don't have a wii u yet because the games i want aren't there yet.

labeling people out of ignorance is not a bright thing to do.

GreatPlayer

#81

GreatPlayer said:

I never knew that Wii U has become a party game machine. When NES and SNES came out they have so many games for gaming veterans. Now it seems that they have veered towards the direction to non-gamers. Nintendo, please give us more serious games, not necessarily mature games that focus on killing or violence but interesting innovative games (NOT the rehashed super mario bros series).

Doge

#84

Doge said:

I try it whn i get the chance. nothing to get of of the way for really. to busy with pikmin :D

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