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WarioWare, Inc: Mega Microgame$! (Game Boy Advance) artwork

WarioWare, Inc: Mega Microgame$! (Game Boy Advance) review

"I see a game like Wario Ware Inc: Mega Microgames being played from the passenger seat by a gamer tired of looking out the window on a drab car ride. "

I see a game like Wario Ware Inc: Mega Microgames being played from the passenger seat by a gamer tired of looking out the window on a drab car ride.

I recommend that this gamer enjoy it as a distraction from that drab car ride, and further advise that he or she leave Wario Ware Inc: Mega Microgames in the glove compartment upon arriving at the destination.

Wario Ware is a phenomenally excellent game for one specific purpose (Extremely Monotonous Affairs, of which “drab car rides” is a sub-category), and although I hate to go so far as ‘typecast’ a videogame, I really cannot see this one remaining enjoyable under the scrutiny of heavy play. Exposure to it in small chunks won’t hurt anyone, but it lacks any sort of longevity to be really recommendable. It’s too unfocused to sit down and enjoy.

The concept and style are, quite sadly, the most notable aspects of the package. Instead of sending you on a lengthy platforming adventure or melodramatic role-play, WW simply asks you to complete small goals. What makes it a brain-gelling (at first) experience is the fact that these minigames are thrown at you with only scant instructions and with a five second time limit. After you’ve completed one task, another will follow very shortly after, and as long as you remain successful, more will come, until you reach a boss fight, which generally occurs after you’ve completed around twenty of the minigames. There’s no break in-between the sets of games, but you are given four lives, so making mistakes is not out of the question.

I suppose it is a good idea that WW leaves you in the dark about what you’re going to be doing (it gives you only vague instructions, such as ‘catch!,’ ‘jump!,’ and ‘toss!,’), because the minigames themselves are so hopelessly thin that elaborating on what is to follow would make it seem more complicated than it really is. One word descriptors seem about right.

Allow me to throw! some examples at you. “Catch!” appears on-screen. Following this, a hand drops a purple stick. Your goal is to catch it with your own hand by pressing the appropriate button. Fair enough—a reaction time test. This can be interesting when it’s thrown at you in such a way that you don’t really see it coming. You have to press the button at just the right time! Later on, you find yourself thrust into a game where an index finger is drifting horizontally back and forth under a nose. Your goal, of course, is to time it so this index finger penetrates the nostril. Fine—another button-timing game. Next, you’re shown a spinning wheel with a picture of Wario on a small slice of it. Your goal? Stop the spinning wheel as Wario sails into the range of the giant pointer, a la Wheel of Fortune. And then we have a ski game. A skier is going down a slope. Press the button in the flashing ‘safe jump zone’ to make him jump at just the right time to hurdle the tree. And next we have…

And I’m spent. What I’m getting at is that most of the minigames are so basic and mundane that they actually become extremely simple variations of each other, and when you’re promised 200 of them, I suppose this is going to happen. These ones I’ve described are the ‘carefully timed’ games. Another category is the ‘dodge the moving objects for five seconds’ category, where you shift about, attempting to dodge two or three moving objects. There are other types of games, such as the ‘press A rapidly for five seconds’ games in which you press A rapidly for four seconds. This may happen under several different types of duress, such as a princess trying to snort up snot dripping from her nose, or a barber frantically chopping off all of a client’s hair, or a small microbe creature eating small microbe food before the timer runs out, or consuming all of an apple before the timer runs out, or unpeeling and eating a banana before the timer runs out. Repetitive? Monotonous? Oh, no. Not Wario Ware. It’s disappointing that I can categorize the majority of two hundred “individual” minigames, and even more disappointing when I can see the similarities so clearly when only given five seconds to react to the task at hand and complain about the lack of variation simultaneously.

Ironically, I was probably most disappointed with WW when I was experiencing its very best minigames. These particular minigames were five second journeys down memory lane in the form of escapes to past Nintendo classics such as Donkey Kong, Zelda, Super Mario Bros., and Balloon Fight. These painfully short excursions made me wish that I were playing one of those oldies in full, but sadly, I was yanked back into the frantic-boring hybrid Wario Ware world. Frantic and boring. I can’t get over it, either.

But if the situation is just right, Wario Ware Inc: Mega Microgames, with its mindless quick-draw distractions and super-stylish interface, actually works. I cannot deny that it is highly amusing in short spurts, and probably more appealing than sitting there, staring off into space. But that situation shouldn’t last any longer than half an hour, because after that, you’re pushing it.

dogma's avatar
Community review by dogma (January 31, 2004)

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