For those of you unfortunate enough to have never played a WarioWare game, a quick summary. WarioWare takes the concept of the minigame to its logical conclusion - the microgame, in which the player is thrown into all manner of crazy situations that they must react to in under five seconds. Half the fun of the game is simply working out what you are meant to do, be it picking a gigantic nose, conducting an orchestra, or one of hundreds of others.
The series started on Gameboy Advance, but the latest release was at the start of 2007 with WarioWare: Smooth Moves for the Wii. I got into the Gamecube version around the same time the Wii was announced, and immediately saw the potential for Wiimote integration. Nintendo didn’t disappoint, and with multiple ways of using the controller Smooth Moves was a great way to show off the new system to friends. Looking back however, I can see a number of ways the game could have been improved.
1. Downloadable Content
This game screams out for DLC. There are literally hundreds of microgames that are thrown at you, but at only five seconds each it doesn’t take long before they start to be recycled. New microgames could be easily and cheaply produced, and wouldn’t take up very much of the Wii’s scarce internal memory. A perfect comparison would be Professor Layton – although it turns out that the DLC puzzles were already present on the cart and you simply download an unlock key, it’s really cool to get a new puzzle each week. A similar system for WarioWare would keep me coming back for more.
2. More Gaming References
Some of the most hilarious microgames are references to other Nintendo franchises. You can find yourself shaking paws with a Nintendog, helping Windwaker Link get to dry land, or even using a Starfox fighter to take down ROB the robot. I’d love for Nintendo to expand this further, perhaps even to other companies’ games. Sonic and Snake have appeared in Smash Bros, so why not give us a five second Pacman or a quick Final Fantasy battle?
3. Customisable Multiplayer
As much as I love playing WarioWare with friends, multiplayer options are sorely lacking, particularly on Wii. All of the Smooth Moves multiplayer modes are of the “pass the controller” variety. Twelve people can play at once, but only as part of a “sudden death” mode. Other modes only allow an arbitrary five people, and wrap the microgames up in slightly contrived scenarios like a hot-potato mode where winning allows you to choose the next player, but losing ends the game for everyone.
The Gamecube version had many other silly modes, but the best was simply a versus mode in which up to four players could play with their own controller in both consecutive and competitive microgames. Ideally I would like to see a return of this mode, but also the ability to make my own. Let me select a time or score limit, a difficulty level, or even a playlist of microgames. Everyone has their own way they like to play, and there is really no reason WarioWare shouldn’t let you choose.
Finally, multiplayer should be accessible from the moment I put the game in. WarioWare is fun solo, but having to tediously unlock everything just so I can play it with friends is ridiculous for a party game. Come on Nintendo, I thought the Wii was for everyone! Make these changes to WarioWare, and you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who won’t love it.