hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Games time forgot: Virtual Boy Wario Land

2:04 PM on 09.30.2008 // Anthony Burch

Wario Land: Shake It! came out last week and though I haven't played it, from our review it sounds like something that would make me long for the days of the Virtual Boy.

And I don't often say that.

Last week, Aaron Linde reminded me that despite all the hindsight hatred of the Virtual Boy, ignoring how awful Mario Clash was and how gimmicky the system was as a whole, we still got one truly great game out of it: the awkwardly named Virtual Boy Wario Land.

Though it lacks the sexy, hand-drawn graphics of Shake It, and is only available for a system nobody cares about anymore, it's still probably the best Wario Land game ever.

Hit the jump for more.


Wario is awoken from a nap by a bunch of masked monsters, who run past him into a waterfall. Presumably lacking anything better to do, Wario follows the monsters and finds a vast treasure the monsters have amassed. 

Being Wario, he tries to grab the treasure for himself and gets trapped in an underground maze. Dazed and irritated, Wario has to escape the cave and get back the treasure that's so rightfully his (not because he earned it, necessarily, but because he sort of laid eyes on it and that's good enough to constitute ownership in Wario's book).


Virtual Boy Wario Land includes the same general mechanics you'll find in any other Wario Land game, but exudes much more focus and grace in its game design. Where some Wario Land games get bogged down in obscure puzzles and problem solving, while others focused too much on action, Virtual Boy Wario Land finds a perfect medium between the two: there are plenty of head-scratching, hat-changin' puzzles to be found throughout the game, but there's also an awful lot of really action-packed, satisfying platforming.

Being a Virtual Boy game, Virtual Boy Wario Land also takes a few opportunities to show off the VB's three-dimensional videos. In addition to large, swinging, spiked balls that Wario must avoid as they move back and forth through the foreground and background, Wario is often required to jump into the background plane to progress. These little 3D touches don't really make any difference to the actual gameplay, of course -- the depth-swinging balls could just as easily be Thwomps, and platforming on the background plane, while fun and visually interesting, doesn't really affect the actual gameplay. It's still cool, though. 

The basic level structure isn't anything special, save for how well the levels are designed. Wario has to find a key to unlock the elevator at the end of each level

Hat-wise, Virtual Boy Wario Land is as good an entry in the series as any. 

It also occurs to me that there are almost no franchises, in this or any other medium, that allow for declarative sentences starting with the phrase "hat-wise."

Hat-wise, the game's solid. You got your fire-breathing dragon hat, your bull hat that increases the power of Wario's default charge, and the flying hat. Wario has always traditionally been a more violent kind of dude than Mario, and his abilities in Virtual Boy Wario Land reflect this: there's less goofy, "hey get squished by this thing so you can pass through this crack in the wall" puzzling and more "beat the crap out of this dude and use his body to solve a puzzle".

I also remember it being pretty challenging, if only from a platforming point of view: I can't nail down any specifics, but if it's as moderately difficult as I remember it being, it's probably much more of a challenge than Shake It! appears to be.

Why you're probably not playing it:

Well, maybe the fact that






Regardless of how fun Wario Land is, the Virtual Boy had a depressingly small launch library of otherwise horrendous titles like Mario Clash and Waterworld, and the whole idea of the system was goddamned silly to begin with. With such a poisonous history, it's easy to dismiss everything even peripherally related to the Virtual Boy as trash. It's simply a lot easier to look back and only think of one word where the Virtual Boy is concerned (that one word being, "shit"), rather than consider that Wario Land was actually a damn fine game in its own right.

That, and many people have simply never played it, either due to youth or financial prudence. I only managed to get my hands on the game because a relative at the time worked for Blockbuster, and, back when they had demo consoles in the store, they often had to be taken to an employee's home for the night. Whenever my relative brought it home, I got to play Wario Land for a good few hours until I either got bored or they had to go back to work. I never actually ended up finishing the game, come to think of it.

Judging by the sheer number of YouTube results for Virtual Boy Wario Land, there must be an awful lot of NOT Virtual Boy emulators and NOT roms where one could conceivably NOT play this game. In honesty, I almost feel silly for using my "NOT" joke here -- though Virtual Boys go for reasonably cheap on eBay, none of that money is going to Nintendo and most noncollectors wouldn't want to spend 100 bucks just to play Virtual Boy Wario Land anyway. I'm also more or less certain this game will never come out on the Virtual Console, either. It's worth trying out, especially if you liked Shake It! but wanted more of a challenge.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

nanashi avatarnanashi
also Fallout Shelter just made me utter this: "I have to get these pregnancies done.." life is trivial in this game!
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
Let it be known that Metal Gear 2 for MXS has aged horribly and is no fun to play. In the midst of a MGS marathon, looks like I'm skipping ahead to MGS.
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
"Available: 31 August - This game will unlock in approximately 2 hours" HOLY SHIET! [youtube][/youtube]
nanashi avatarnanashi
-nudge nudge- hey Sony, discount Ys: I and II Chronicles and Ys: Seven on the PSP :D
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Just out of curiosity, does anybody here still play Mario Kart 8 at all frequently?
Cosmonstropolis avatarCosmonstropolis
Neighbors ended up calling the cops. I hid under a cardboard box. Police officers were perplexed but went back to their patrol routes after a minute or so.
techsupport avatartechsupport
!a new MGS: Ground Zeroes update file auto dl'd and installed..the day prior to MGSV... hmm.. coincidence? OR... coincidence?
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Just got an email from Nintendo saying that my Club Nintendo reward has been shipped and is on its way. Now it's the end of an era. *pours one out for Club Nintendo*
wutangclam avatarwutangclam
I've been thinking of starting up a criticism-minded "game of the month" type podcast. Would anyone be interested in something like that? If you'd wanna be part of it, let me know, I'm generating ideas and looking for contributors
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Playing the most difficult strategy game ever: trying to figure out what order to beat your backlog in.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Transient Ryu stays ripped by riding the rails and throwing other transients off of his rail cars - [IMG][/IMG]
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
I'm so, so sorry everyone. :(
kolten2 avatarkolten2
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I'm pretty sure you guys know what game I'll be playing tomorrow. One of THE hottest games of the season. That's right, I'm talking about Lunch Truck Tychoon. Kojima ain't got shit on me, mukkas!
Flegma avatarFlegma
Playing Project Zero 2 on Wii. One should hope PZ5 got more sensible controls - twisting the Wiimote left/right to turn the camera does not make sense.
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
"When you are not playing the game or choose not to join the defense, your FOB will be defended automatically by your Security Team and security devices." Yeah, I think I'll just avoid the FOB functionality in MGS V
Snaveage avatarSnaveage
PSA: If you're picking up Phantom Pain tomorrow, put the kids down for a nap, turn off your phone and tell your partner to pipe down - the opening hour deserves your undivided attention. Enjoy!
extatix avatarextatix
If you like your hentai VNs [url=""]cheap.[/url] Or even [url=""]cheaper[/url].
VeryImportantQuestion avatarVeryImportantQuestion
Just read that SquareEnix have applied some weird mutation of crowdfunding mechanics to the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided preorder. I know the last blog I wrote mentioned how big publishers try to pervert these systems, but to think it's already this far gone.
Cosmonstropolis avatarCosmonstropolis
First in line to grab MGS V tomorrow. Close to my house, so it looks like I can eat and sleep comfortably. No one else seems to be waiting at my mailbox. Neighbors are getting suspicious.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -