Game & Wario was initially a tech demo showcasing the Wii U gamepad’s features at E3 2011. At the end of 2011, Nintendo decided that the game would be a full retail release as they had too many ideas to make it pre-installed software. The game also received a graphical facelift with Wario as the main character. Nintendo also launched Crowdfarter(A parody of Kickstarter) to encourage fans to promote the game via social media.
Game & Wario on the Wii U is one of the first to make me realise just how much of a difference High Definition makes. Everything is extremely crisp and colourful and puts you in such a great mood from the moment you press start. The variety of mini games show off a range of differing graphic styles. The sound is full of nostalgia and has the same addictive charm that I have come to expect from the WarioWare series. The presentation as a whole is extremely polished. It is clear that everything in the game was well thought out by the developers and it all works well together to make an extremely insane game.
In Game & Wario there are 16 mini games. 12 which are single player and the remaining 4 which are Multiplayer only. Majority of the mini games are extremely enjoyable due to their originality. I decided to only mention a few of the single player mini games in this review as the discovery is the best thing about Game & Wario. You initially start off with one single player mini game and unlock more along the way.
An example of a mini game that I enjoyed immensely is ‘Gamer’. This mini game has you playing on a portable console whilst hiding from your mum. The difficulty comes from having to play a series of WarioWare micro games on the touchpad whilst making sure that Mum doesn’t catch you awake playing games on the big screen. This has you multitasking and provides an incredible amount of tension.
New concepts like this one is what makes Game & Wario so special. Having two different screens to interact with is the Wii U’s biggest asset and Game & Wario takes advantage of this. However, I feel that the team got lazy with a few mini games. Games such as ‘Sky’ simply have you tilting the touchpad left and right in order to steer your character. It felt completely unoriginal and gave me no reason to want to play it again.
The multiplayer mini games are where you will spend the most time. ‘Sketch’ has you interacting in a Pictionary style game where one person draws on the gamepad whilst the others guess until somebody correctly guesses. Whilst this isn’t a new concept, it is executed brilliantly. The mini game takes advantage of the Touchpad and the TV in a way that only is possible with the Wii U. Playing Sketch with a full room was one of the most fun i’ve had with a Video Game in a long time.
‘Fruit’ has one person taking control of the gamepad and trying to steal fruit without the other competitors figuring out who they are. Fruit was also extremely enjoyable with a room full of people. Trying to work out strategies on the gamepad without anybody being able to see really changes up the playing field. I would’ve loved to see Fruit fleshed out a bit more as I really think that a lot more could’ve been done with the mini game.
‘Islands’ sees players go head to head in a mini game where the objective is to fling a monster onto a island using the gamepad. You are scored on wherever your monster lands. I really appreciated Islands in the fact that it completely changed up the game type. There are many surprises in store with this mini game which will keep you playing for yours.
Easily the worst multiplayer mini game is ‘Disco’. Disco has two people playing on the gamepad in a Guitar Hero like game. You send through beats to the other person who then has to match the beats on the other side. Whilst I originally thought that it was a great concept, it simply doesn’t work. The gamepad cannot register multiple touches at once which makes it incredibly difficult to register your presses.
Game & Wario is good old fashioned fun for the whole family but unfortunately there are a few short comings. I really didn’t like the huge split between single player and multiplayer games. I would’ve really loved for majority of the mini games to be able to be played in both a single player and a multiplayer capacity. I also can’t really understand why the Wiimotes weren’t integrated into the game. Wiimotes would’ve gone extremely far in the multiplayer games and also create new ways to play so I felt that it was a complete oversight not to include them.
Game & Wario is the most fun i’ve had with my Wii U in a long time. You will spend a lot more time with some of the mini games over others but there is a lot more depth to be had than initially realised. There is definitely reason to pick it up regardless of how many people you will be playing with. The one negative I have with the game is the price. If it were $20 cheaper then i’d be recommending it to every Wii U owner but this is hard to do at full price when there are so many great Wii U games coming out in the next few months.