Platform: Wii U
Developer: Intellegent Systems, Nintendo
Right up to this very point in time the Wii U still remains unexplained and begs the question to consumers; why should I spend my hard earned money and buy this product? While the Wii U has had plenty of games, none of them have fully demonstrated what the Wii U offers what we can’t find on a Playstation or Xbox product. It is simple enough that some of us can go forward with a purchase on blind faith knowing what we enjoy is available, but others still need a reason. For the sake of argument, Nintendo Land showed some of the necessary ideas to some, with fun gameplay using the dual screens for both single and multiplayer, but in the end it still didn’t quite answer the question. Again Game and Wario positions the same questions as Nintendo Land offering a showing of how the TV and the Gamepad can work together to create a fun experience.
When many of us think of Wario we probably have a couple of things come to mind; the first is evil Mario, the second is probably Wario Land, which is the fun series of comedic platforming adventures. There are also the WarioWare games, which offered quick, few second minigames that are fun to play and were easy to pick up and put down. They added entertainment in a messed up sort of way. Game and Wario is a departure from this style of game and does not offer anything in the way of actual minigames instead focusing on a series of bigger activities with the gamepad and TV set to the forefront of the mind.
Every game offered with Game and Wario is different and attempts to show different and very interesting ways that games can be played on the Wii U. In the way of games offered there is certainly some potential shown and does bring to view how Nintendo could do games from other franchises in the future. For now lets just focus on what is shown in Game and Wario; a lot of what is offered in single player is not that great, in fact while I would say what is shown makes great use of the the gamepad and the TV the end result of the games is less then satisfying. Two of the activities found in Game and Wario will be familiar to those who have played Nintendo Land, the activity arrow is similar to Takamaru’s Ninja Castle where instead of throwing ninja stars you shoot arrows at a swarm of incoming mecha Wario’s, still I like the idea and how it uses the gamepad but the game is not much fun. The same issue is faced with Ski which is similar to Captain Falcon’s Twister Race, the way the gamepad is used is good but the game is just not much fun.
However with the bad ones out of the way there are a couple of standouts placed in single player mode. One of my personal favourites was Camera, a small game that demonstrated how the Gamepad can be used as part of an interesting combination with the television. The Gamepad essentially played the role of a camera and the TV gave you a full scope of the photography area and the people you need to get a photo of. Using the gamepad you then went and searched around the area to where you saw them on the TV and try to take a good picture. Another activity or game if you prefer that is enjoyable is Patchwork a simple puzzle game that is strangely addictive in trying to lace patches in the correct spot in order to make a picture in the quickest time possible, and is easily where most of your time is taken up. The gamepad is merely a device for dragging and dropping but the game is at least enjoyable. Then of course there is also the game “Gamer”, which is actually quite a clever use of the gamepad, for those who were actually hoping for some WarioWare games will be quite satisfied with Gamer. The objective is a simple one you must keep your eyes focused on both the TV and the Gamepad as you try to succeed at classic WarioWare games, while also keeping an eye on the television to ensure you don’t get caught playing. As a single player activity “Gamer” is easily one of the most fun, most stressful, and best uses of the gamepad and television available and it is satisfying when you finally avoid detection through an entire level and somehow manage to succeed with all the little games along the way.
The multiplayer side of the game is truly where a good portion of the games entertainment is and where a lot of the interesting uses of the gamepad are made. Game and Wario strictly uses the Gamepad and television for everything including all the players of the game and no extra controls are used. During most of the games the television is used for the extra players meanwhile the gamepad is used by the other player to play the game and complete the activity and most of the games make quality use of this idea. There are only four activities made available for multiple players but a good portion of them are actually quite clever, Artwork is actually quite a fun version of Pictionary using the Television for the guessers and the gamepad for the drawer and also providing a button for when the guessers guess correctly. I am pretty awful at drawing especially against the clock but how this game is done is quite fun and is well done. Fruit is another one that makes clever use of the television with the gamepad one player is tasked with taking on a character and trying to collect all the fruit on the screen, the other is tasked with trying to spot the thief in the act and guess who it is in the end, it is simple but deceptively difficult and if you play with someone who is quite clever and tricky. Of the multiplayer activities those are the most enjoyable but the other two do make a good use of the gamepad but aren’t necessarily fun, one activity is a silly rhythm type game and the other is a fight for points by launching creatures to score points and beat your opponent.
Game and Wario is essentially a mixed bag of activities. There are a small selection of really great ones, but a lot of them are not that great and are good for maybe a single play and then you don’t pick them up again. Getting back to the point of Nintendo making a use for the Wii U gamepad and I will say that while Game and Wario does deliver on showing a good use for the gamepad and how it can play games in a special way. Game and Wario is a rent at most, and should not be bought unless you are really into these style of games.