Can Wario's touch-screen-only Nintendo DS outing possibly better his classic GBA adventures? Our review tells all.
It's been thirteen years since we were first introduced to a domineering villain called Wario, who at the time was causing chaos on the Gameboy having turned Mario Land into a rather chaotic place with lots nasty inhabitants. Since that day I personally have been strangely charmed by his power-hungry evilness, but ultimately, how harmless the spiky oustachioed fellow is.
If not one of the best games ever, WarioWare was at least one of the most unique. The game involved completing a series of rapid fire-tasks which last about five seconds each without losing your four lives. Throw some speed increases into the mix and the game can become one of the most intense and addicting you've ever played. The GBA version had you balancing a stack of plates, peeling fruit by mashing the A-button, jumping on a goomba's head with Mario and many many more wacky mini-games.
Wario Ware Touched! is pretty much the same concept: fast-paced mini-games, except this time it's controlled entirely with the stylus and occasionally the microphone - the D-Pad and face buttons aren't used at all.
At first glance, you'd be forgiven for thinking that not much has changed at all, but as expected, the use of the stylus as the main means of control in the game makes for a very welcome change of pace. Ware Ware Touched! has you rubbing, scratching, tapping and drawing onto the DS's touch screen and later on blowing and shouting into the DS's microphone.
Wario Ware's pick up and play factor is hugely increased by this new mode of play. You can give the DS to anyone in your family and they should be able to work out what you're supposed to be doing fairly quickly without having to ask which button does what.
As with the previous games in the series the mini-games are split-up between a selection of characters including Wario. Each character will have a different "style" of mini-games, one character might have mini-games which require you to do alot of drawing, like drawing a line through a maze or putting ketchup onto a hotdog, where as another character might focus on the microphone in games where you have to blow out a candle or inflate a balloon.
The mini-games are still very varied and clever; highlights include guiding a penguin across an ice-platform, chopping fruit and guiding a remote control car away from a chasing baby. Nintendo-themed mini-games also return with a mini-game which has you shooting ducks in Duck Hunt, collecting coins in Super Mario Bros. and my personal favourite: setting up a GameCube, plugging in the controller, putting in the disc, shutting the lid and pressing the power button - all under a strict time limit, of course!
Each character's series of mini-games ends with a boss stage, which is usually a longer but slightly more involving mini-game, like killing flies behind a layer of glass being careful not to break it, a game of bowling using the touch screen and a vertical-scrolling shooter in which you have to drag a planet around dodging fire. The boss fights aren't usually difficult but they add a much needed conclusion to each character's set of mini-games.
We also feel inclined to talk about the game's character select screen which in its own right is very entertaining. Each character walks around the bottom touch screen and you can drag, slash and poke at them as much as you want. Whenever you unlock a new character, a taxi will drive along the touch screen and drop them off. I've lost at least 30 minutes dragging the crazy selection of characters into various orders...
Graphically, the game is similar to the original GBA WarioWare and the music is still catchy as ever. You’ve got to love the Japanese vocals whilst you're putting out a fire with a urinating statue.
After extensive play time I still can't help but feel that WarioWare Touched! isn't an as consistently testing an experience as the original GBA titles. While suitably varied, the mini-games all require one of few essential stylus movements, and after all there's only so much you can do with this sort of input. A lot of the mini-games are far too easy, for instance popping balloons, stroking a dog, and rubbing a lamp.
There are heaps of unlockables to be found - and in a game where you can find yourself playing with the title screen for minutes on end, WarioWare Touched! could well be one of your most-played games.
In parts, all of the tension and pressure from the GBA versions seems to be missing, meaning that Touched!, at times, becomes a slightly rudimentary experience. But despite my small complaints, even if WarioWare Touched! doesn't surpass it's GBA cousins, it's every bit as entertaining and addictive. And after all, any game that lets you unroll a toilet roll with a stylus has to be worth a look...
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Direct feed DS line-up video includes WarioWare Touched!. (640x480, 1.4Mbps)
Direct feed of more titles including WarioWare (640x480, 1.4Mbps)
E3 2004: Direct feed gameplay (640x480, 1Mbps)