Gold. Always believe there’s turmoil, as you’ve got the power to know, that he’s incorrigible when he believes there’s a way to win gold. Stuck between Spandau Ballet’s lyrics and Disney’s Pocahontas’ greedy schemer, Ratcliffe, is Wario. Charging 10,000 gold coins to play 300+ microgames in his latest gaming tournament, WarioWare Gold is just as wacky as the days of old. But with little content on offer outside the main story and no local download play on the 3DS, it’s a low blow for the party-game series.
Now on its eighth instalment, the WarioWare series has taken a five-year break after the Wii U’s bumpy ride with Game & Wario, dubbed as a spiritual successor to the franchise. Developed by Intelligent Systems, WarioWare Gold features more than 300 microgames, minigames and zany collector memorabilia across its two main modes for the Nintendo 3DS. Despite its relatively high download size (9,000+ blocks) on the eShop, it’s staggering how little content actually appears in the game. We’re wagering that its file size largely stems from the greatly entertaining animated segments within the story campaign, rather than what’s on offer as playable content.
Fans of the franchise will be glad to see the return of Wario’s Diamond City friends; Jimmy T, Mona, Ashley & Red, 9-Volt, Kat & Ana, Dribble & Spitz and Dr. Crygor all appear, amongst others, as part of the motley crew that’s chosen to lend a hand with Wario’s latest money-making scheme. Charging 10,000 gold coins for entry into his gaming tournament, players must compete in four leagues – with three to five stages each – to gain a chance of the glorious prize; a whopping one million gold coins. Except that isn’t really the case. Wario knows it. His friends know it. And we all know it.
During Gold’s two-hour story campaign, you’ll face a variety of three to five-second microgames which fit into one of four technique categories or leagues: Mash, Twist, Touch and Ultra. While the former uses the A and cross-keypad buttons, the Twist league will utilise the 3DS’s gyroscope controls, and the Touch league uses the stylus. On the other hand, the Ultra league means anything goes, so you’ll need to seamlessly flick between one style to another, fortunately with on-screen prompts. Microgames are themed too, though the best ones often feature unique twists on classic Nintendo games. Highlights include Wind Waker Link trying to land on a podium following a short flight with a Deku Leaf, platform jumping in Pullblox (Pushmo), tilting the 3DS to flatten Pikmin (so sorry!), and avoiding obstacles with Star Fox’s Arwing.
But don’t worry, there’s the age-old zany microgames thrown in for good measure. Yes, you can still pick noses, dash into open toilet stalls, squeeze eye drops, catch toaster-popping bread, and pinch chickens. Plus, Intelligent Systems are great at educating players to slide in their Joy-Cons to their Nintendo Switch, pinpointing the difference between a peach and a pig’s bum, and how best to avoid the oncoming bruise-makers in high-school dodgeball. There’s some real life lessons to be learned here, after all practise makes perfect.
After completing a league stage, players will be rewarded with 600 gold coins, which can then be spent in Gold’s Capsule Machine to unlock items for the Toy Room. Losing all four lives in a stage will cost you 100 gold coins to re-enter at your last death checkpoint, otherwise you can forfeit your microgame tally and start from the beginning of the stage. Only after clearing Gold’s story campaign will you be able to unlock Challenge Mode.
Featuring nine different challenges, Challenge Mode is a party-mix of all the microgames unlocked so far, where players will try to go for the high score. Try living on the edge with one life in Thrill Ride, select Super Hard to play all microgames at top speed, or choose to evade 9-Volt’s IRL mother and game in bed as a Sneaky Gamer. You can even go for gold and torture yourself with the return of Wario Interrupts, as you play through each microgame with an upside-down or super tiny screen and so on. It’s fun for a little while.
Challenge Mode is also the only place where you can face-off against a friend in local wireless co-op. Battle Time requires you and your friend to have one copy each of WarioWare Gold. It’s a crying shame there’s no ability to download play with up to four friends, a major flaw in Gold.
Fortunately, there is an achievement system in WarioWare Gold. With 150+ in-game missions, players can go back time and time again to hit their microgame targets and unlock their stack of gold coins. Purchasing items for the Toy Room is also a way to access more in-game content. There’s a voice-over acting studio, where you can record your own voice in previously watched story segments. Plus, there’s a strange amiibo feature where Wario will try to replicate the Yoshi amiibo. He gives it a good go, but it does resemble a five-year-olds ‘my imaginary dinosaur’ painting. Amusingly, the Lucina Fire Emblem amiibo turned into a landscape drawing with grim grey blocks strewn across. Stick to scheming, Wario.
Long gone are the days of piling into a room with your friends to play WarioWare Smooth Moves on the Wii. Perhaps that’s why WarioWare Gold to a veteran player feels like an afterthought. There’s no chance of getting salty with your friends on a 3DS with no local download play and no stereoscopic 3D. If you’ve got a three-hour car journey with your kids over the summer, WarioWare Gold will just about fill that gap. Sorry Wario, we just expected more.
A review copy of WarioWare Gold was provided to My Nintendo News from Nintendo UK.