NOTE: The following text you are about to read is an assortment of notes and thoughts about WarioWare Gold.
I had a difficult time putting my opinions on this game into words, so I recorded a casual, unscripted video about it talking as naturally as I could. However, I still wanted to publish my written notes of Pros and Cons to give people a readable version of my thought process when making this review. In fact, I mention the document a few times in the video above. You can almost consider it as a script for the video review. If the text seems a little rough and all over the place, that’s mostly because it is. It’s not meant to be the full, official review; only thoughts that were guiding me through the video.
I have been playing the WarioWare games for as long as I can remember. Contrary to what most people played back in the day, which was the original WarioWare on GBA, I actually started with the Gamecube version. I was captivated by how odd and unique it was. It was tough to say if it had an identity of its own, considering how all the microgames had such as distinct look to them. I would go as far as to say that the enormous cluster of tiny unique moments is in itself an identity that only WarioWare has been able to achieve; being consistent within its wacky inconsistency. You can have two completely different microgames standing right next to each other, but you still know that both are from WarioWare.
From button presses to gyroscope, touch and motion controls, WarioWare has always been the first to experiment with whatever’s new, delivering in very creative and fun ways to play every time a new game in the franchise releases. The oddball humor and willingness to try many experimental things is in juxtaposition to Mario’s goody two-shoes “safe and by the books” attitude. In addition, the WarioWare games have a whole cast of characters of its own, making then even more unique and able to stand strong by themselves.
This is everything that I appreciate about both WarioWare and Wario as a whole. He’s the bad boy that does whatever a “mainstream” character doesn’t (for lack of a better term). This willingness to just sort of do whatever, so long as it’s fun and imaginative has been a constant with this series of games. I say all of this because I am having a tough time being able to appreciate WarioWare Gold to that same extent. It’s the latest entry in the series for Nintendo 3DS and a game that I enjoyed playing. However, there was a strange feeling that kept picking and bothering me throughout my entire playthrough that I have trouble describing. I liked it, but I didn’t enjoy myself anywhere near as much as I had previous installments. I type these words up now as a journey to try and articulate what this feeling is, for I have both praise and criticisms to give regarding this metaphorical “Greatest Hits” album from a franchise I love.
When starting the game, I immediately felt the changes made in the form of full voice acting during the opening cutscene; something that was never truly present in any of the previous games. I found the performances to be solid and very enjoyable. I was worried that we would have another Breath of the Wild in our hands, but I’m happy to say that everybody pulled off their roles just fine. I would really like to highlight Charles Martinet in particular, who continues to reprise his role as Wario. His acting is by far the best in the entire game, for it is obvious that he enjoyed himself immensely when recording his lines. Every time Wario is on screen, he chews up the scenery and oozes that unique Wario style we all know the character for. But now, we are able to experience that in full voice acted sentences, adding a new dimension to something we thought we had seen everything on for years. Naturally, it will feel jarring at first, and I won’t deny that some moments feel like I’m watching an English language Rosetta Stone video for Japanese people. Despite some awkward delivery, I still feel that this is a great step forward that adds to the overall experience.
My grievances don’t necessarily lie on the production value, but rather on the micro-games that WarioWare Gold revolves around, which in turn affects everything else around it. To put it bluntly, I don’t think there are enough micro games, especially not new ones, to make the $40 price tag be worth it. Out the 316 games, only 54 of them are new, which is about 1/6 of the game, while the rest are redesigned versions of older micro-games from previous entries.
- Voice acting adds more to the experience. Solid performances (even if some of them sound like tutorials for Japanese people trying to learn English)
- Same oddball humor that sets this game apart from anything else.
- A lot of fun and creative unlockables available after beating the story.
- The many different remixes and modes create a very fun challenge.
- My main problem with the game is mostly with the micro-games and the lack of newer ones, which discourage me from playing more after beating the main story. lf anything, it makes want to go back and playing the older games, instead of giving this Greatest Hits album any of my time.
- If you’ve played the previous WarioWare games, you’ve played this game already.
- Feels more like “WarioWare Greatest Hits” rather than anything new.
- Remaking older micro games seems unnecessary. The result is most of the games looking very homogenous and losing most of the identity that they used to have in the originals. I would’ve appreciated it more if they preserved the micro games as they were originally and just keep adding more to the game instead of revamping stuff that never needed revamping. All of this effort I feel could’ve been used on making NEW microgames.
- The game is very short. I beat the whole story mode in like an hour or two, which isn’t uncommon for WarioWare games. However, I feel like I’ve reached a point with WarioWare where I desire for more. Yeah, you have all the other modes that remix everything, but it’s still just the same micro games being played over and over again.
- It doesn’t feel like this game has enough micro games to warrant both paying 40 dollars and also playing through them same ones over and over again to collect coins and hope that you are lucky enough to get new items to play around with for 10 seconds. I probably get this feeling because only 54 micro games out of the 316 are new.
- Even Rhythm Heaven Megamix, which is also a game that recycles a lot of its older content, felt like it had more to it, and that game costs 30 dollars, rather than WarioWare’s 40.
- There’s a card game hidden within, but it takes a lot of effort to unlock it. A lot of coin collecting by playing the same stuff over and over again. And then using the capsule machine to eventually get what you need to unlock it, only to get a bland rock-paper-scissors games. Not only that, but it has these idiotic restrictions that free-to-play mobile games usually have like stamina that you have to refill with coins. Wario Kard seems almost like an idea for a mobile WarioWare game that didn’t follow through, so they slapped it into this game, but also forgot to take out any of the ridiculous F2P limitations. I can’t fathom why it would be a good thing to stop you from playing. All the effort put into unlock this seems like too little too late. I don’t see most of the unlockables as worth getting at all. Even the mini-games, which are really fun, are still just callbacks to older mini-games or longer versions of already-existing micro games.
The whole thing seems polished in all the wrong ways. It feels slapped together as a reminder that WarioWare still exists, in the same way that Rhythm Heaven Megamix fulfills a similar purpose. Seeing Nintendo essentially double down on recycling old content and putting it on 3DS is something that hopefully stops soon, in favor of creating newer things.