After WarioWare took off, it seemed like that was all everybody's favourite antihero was up to, save for a Wii instalment of the Wario Land series. In truth, there was also an attempt at a Wario platformer on the DS, though it is quite easy to see why not many seem to remember this outing.
Developed by Suzak, the company responsible for the last two F-Zero games on GBA (The latter of which was never released outside Japan), Wario: Master of Disguise is a bit of an oddball. At first glance the game is somewhat similar to Wario Land 3, in that Wario gradually obtains new abilities, though it's not quite the same.
While watching TV one day, Wario sees a show about a thief who has a variety of disguises with different abilities. Out of jealousy he creates a device allowing him to enter the world inside the TV, in order to steal his powers for his own use. Naturally after doing this he stumbles upon something valuable, and decides to get as much treasure as he can.
Soon after starting, Wario will gain his first disguise, Cosmic Wario. Donning a spacesuit, this will allow him to fall slightly slower, as well as fire beams with a laser gun. As you might have gleaned from the game's title, these disguises are the primary gameplay mechanic in this adventure. Each has different abilities and allows Wario to reach areas he could not before, with certain collectible items adding additional abilities to each one. This is of course in stark contrast to the Wario Land games, where you're only able to transform by getting hit by specific enemies in specific locations. Fittingly, this game also opts for a health-based system rather than making Wario invincible, like he was in Wario Land 2 and 3.
This is where you'll hit upon the game's first big problem - its over-reliance on the touch screen. Aside from walking and jumping, every single thing in the game is done by interacting with the touch screen. To top it off, jumping isn't even on one of the face buttons, it's done by pressing up on the D-Pad. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and there's plenty of other games that have done this in the past, but if you're used to the traditional method of pressing another button to jump, this can take some getting used to.
Switching to different disguises, as well as using most of the disguise abilities, is all done with the stylus. Disguising Wario by drawing specific shapes in particular was a massive source of frustration when the game was originally released, as you had to be extremely accurate in order to get the game to recognize what you wanted to change to, which only got more frustrating as you gained additional disguises. Mercifully, this Wii U VC release seems to be the later European version of the game rather than the North American one, which was tweaked to be slightly better at understanding your intended drawings.
Treasure chests full of precious booty are no stranger to the Wario games, but they too form part of the frustration in Master of Disguise, as every single one (and there's quite a few) cannot be opened until you first complete an extremely simplistic minigame. These feel almost like tech demos that were just thrown in to have some more content, and as there's only a few different ones you'll be repeating them over and over and over, with them getting very slightly (almost unnoticeably) harder each time.
That said, the game does have some redeeming parts. Some of the later stages can be pretty interesting to explore, and most of the boss fights are quite fun. You can also revisit earlier levels with new abilities to get to places you couldn't before, and there's a few bonus episodes after beating the game, giving it some nice replay value.
Unfortunately, the few good things just aren't enough to drag the game out of mediocrity. Most of the levels are extremely tedious, boring affairs where you'll have more trouble fighting the touch screen than you'll have fighting the actual enemies. Couple this with the endlessly repeating minigames, an extremely strange, in-likeable cast of characters, a general lack of humour, and mostly uninspired, charmless graphics and you've got one of Wario's least entertaining adventures on your hands.
While the concept of being able to transform at any time sounds good on paper, the execution leaves a lot to be desired, due to Master of Disguise's excessive over-reliance on the touch screen. If you're willing to slog through the game you can catch occasional glimpses of brilliance, but unfortunately they're just too few and far between for us to really recommend this to anyone - unless you're absolutely dying to play every single Wario game out there.
Meh, I enjoyed it
So that was the title.
I forgot about the title, but I had fun with the game. The premise was the best part about the game though, and that says a lot.
I liked this game. Sure, the touchscreen control scheme was a bit annoying but it's a very charming Wario game. I loved the characters and the funny dialogs.
That last level's music was amazing, if memory serves. I thoroughly enjoyed the game, I just hated drawing the wrong costumes. That happened a lot.
I really want a Wario land U
From what I remember, the game wasn't that bad. I remember liking the museum level and having to solve the sphinx's riddles. I say the game deserves at least a 6/10. Granted, it's been years since I played it last. My opinion could be entirely different. Like most DS games on the Virtual Console, I imagine the whole split-screen thing is obnoxious on Wii U, though.
I was going to pick this up, as I love Wario Land 1-4, but maybe I'll avoid it.
Oh, and I think you mean an 'unlikable' cast, no unlikeable
I agree. I tried playing this game, but ended up giving up on it pretty quickly. You couldn't walk five feet without another incredibly boring dialogue session popping up. I'm the kind of guy who has to read every bit of text in a game, but this game had me mashing the A button just to try to get to some kind of action.
Geez, 'mediocre' must be the word of the month at nintendo life. Senran kagura is a 'mediocre button masher', Brave Tank Hero is described in the review conclusion as being - 'mediocrity' and now Wario's the 'master of mediocrity'. Surely theres a few similar words nlife could use to spice things up a bit. Also if they're all mediocre games why does SK get a 6 and the other two games get 4?
I'mma gunna ween!
Well I like the music in this game. And I feel you're a bit harsh on the characters.
But given that the gameplay is apparently not particularly good, the above positives hardly make the title worth it. May as well as just listen to some of the songs on Youtube or something rather than slog through the rest of it.
Played this not long ago for the first time after getting it for $3 out of town on a car trip while my wife drove. Was in the first level for a slow paced 15 minutes and my battery died so I lost everything I did. Not sure if I want to go back.
This is a poor review seeing the music isn't even mentioned! This game has an amazing soundtrack
I remember when I was younger and not really into videogames, I saw a bajiollion adverts for this. Of course, my childhood mind decided that many adverts meant that tgis game was brilliant. Good that this review sorts it out, then. That said, what happened to all of the Nintendo adverts that used to be on TV? (Though then again I don't watch TV anymore, less so kids' TV.)
@Mogster A quick trip to Google had this to say:
"Both forms appear throughout the English-speaking world, however. In current British news publications, likable appears about once for every six instances of likeable. In American publications, where the word in either spelling is less common than it is elsewhere, it is spelled likeable about a third of the time."
The web page is called "Likeable vs. Likable".
Yeah, I remember this one. Probably the only Wario game that was "bad" or not "amazing".
Just by reading the comments I can conclude that this wasn't a very good review and should just listen to the comment section.
Anyways are WarioLand games serious Platformers, are they worth my time? WarioLand is definently one of the most odd and unheard of Nintendo Franchises.
@Hero-of-WiiU Wario Land 4 on the GBA was excellent in my opinion. These games are unlike any other platformers out there and are definitely worth a look.
I agree, terrible review.
Yeah, bad review, this is a fun game - bought the cart last year and played it on the on the 3DS.
And the Warioland games are great fun too!
I'm a 3ds ambassador and received wario land 4. I never thought much of these games until I got bored one night and decided to try it out. I was surprised, I mean, really surprised how brilliant the game turned out to be. I would easily put up their with one of the best 2-d platformers Nintendo ever produced. Wario land 4 had to have been a rarity when it came out in 2001 - back when there was a gold rush for polygons and 3-d graphics. As a life long Nintendo fan I'm always pleased and surprised at discovering these gems I either overlooked or never knew about the first time around. So, a 4/10 for a wario platformer? Haven't played it, but do the touch controls really bring it down that much? Or, because it was outsourced it lost the Nintendo touch? I'll admit the gba f-zero is pretty awesome (another ambassador game I discovered) and, I would say, better than the original.
Yeah, I also think 4 is to harsh. Sure its the worst Warioland, but its not THAT bad. I would probably give it a 5,5. I still did have some fun with it.
"Mercifully, this Wii U VC release seems to be the later European version of the game rather than the North American one, which was tweaked to be slightly better at understanding your intended drawings"
Hmm, I didn't know that. The American version must be VERY frustrating then!
"This is a poor review seeing the music isn't even mentioned! This game has an amazing soundtrack"
Yeah, there's some good music in it!
I actually think this game is really fun. You're being pretty unfair towards it, other than the tedious mini games there isn't all too much bad to say about it. The levels are fun to explore, the disguises are interesting, and the game has great music. It's no Wario Land but it's worth more than a 4. ._.
This game had a lot of potential but what really killed it for me was the lackluster controls. I wish Nintendo would just make a new standard platformer like SML3 & Warioland VB.
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