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LONG BLOG

Wii REVIEWS: Wario Land: Shake It!

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For those reading one of my Wii review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

The Wii is often mocked for its game library, yet, it actually has a solid list of exclusives that are unavailable anywehere else. Though only Nintendo games were avilable where I am from, I was always intrested on other games. Hence, I decided to play the top 50 Wii games as chose by Gamesradar in this list:

http://www.gamesradar.com/best-wii-games-all-time/

I decided to go back and play those 50 games and review them, atl least those that intrest me and those that I hae not played before. Origianlly, I post most of my stuff in a football forum "Goallegacy" which is the first online community I have ever joined. Which is the best place for a football fan (the REAL football, not handegg) to hang out in the internet.

Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the Gamesradar list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

32- Wario Land: Shake It!:
Year: 2008.
Genre: Platformer.
Publisher: Nintendo.
Developer: Good Feel. 

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

The Wario Land platforming series is in a weird place among its other Nintendo platforming brethren. While Mario, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, and Kirby all have their distinctive style with limited changes, Wario's games seem to be all over the place.

Case in point Shake It!, which takes some cues from past Wario Land games but plays very different to them.

Maybe its that lack of distinct style that turned me off on the game initially, but I didn't enjoy the game at first, and thought completing it would end up just being out of duty to this review.

Curiously, this is a game that I give a begrudging acknowledgment to by the end, because through a lot of competence, it pulls through its initial boring early going.

"With every shake, a fortune of coins burst from its limitless depth"

Shake It! starts with a cool cartoon opening that could be the opening some really competent Saturday Night cartoon. It showcases the Shake King's abduction of some cute looking race, as well as their treasure; a bottomless treasure bag.

From that opening scene, we go into Wario's she or something, were someone suddenly delivers a rather large globe. In an elaborate cartoon scene, Wario is transferred inside that globe, where he is asked to save the princess of the Merfles (the cute looking race).

Being an unrepentant greedy bastard, Wario is more interested in getting back the treasure, and collecting a ton of treasure in the way.

Outside of that elaborate setting, the game's greatest weakness is apparent, its lack of personality.

Of course there is an Ice Stage, because there must be Ice Stages in platformers

Despite Wario's world actually being quite realized, with its weirdness accentuated in the Wario Ware series, here it is boring and quite pedestrian. Other than the focus on getting treasure, which all showcases the wonderful weirdness of the Wario-verse, everything else in the game could change without much of an effect.

Both stages, and everything occupying those stages from backgrounds to characters look great, but is sterile and devoid of any personality whatsoever. This result in a clean-looking game, with assets that nearly look like placeholders for something that should have been more interesting.

Very Good Intro: +2
Devoid of Personality: -5

"Shake Dimension, tremble before your new King!"

Now that he needs to go into these stages and save the Merfles, Wario is in no way willing to spare things that stand in his way. Especially as it regards potential treasure.

Wario has a surprisingly numerous moves in his repertoire. He can jump over enemies, pound them with his weight, shoulder bash them to oblivion, and of course shake them for health and throw them as projectiles. That's all before using the various in-stage tools that could help him get more leverages.

Clearly, Wario is threatened by whatever is in his path, especially since he can take even more punishment that he gives.

He even punishes the poor bastards he is supposed to save

As such, the game is more like an exploration platformer, where you need to explore the level for more gold and three treasures a stage. Otherwise, going from one end to the other poses little challenge.

Once you finish a stage, the one of the game's twists come into place. You have to race back to the beginning of the stage. While this can prove boring in paper, its actually a decent thrill in an otherwise slow-paced game.

Other than the traditional platforming stages, there is the annoying submarine stages where are okay since there aren't many of them. Then there are the bosses of the game, which are absolutely challenging and fun, as well as varied to a great degree. I hope the Mario games take note of that someday.

Lack of Challenge: -3
Fun to Walk Around: +2
End of level Races: +2
Great Boss Battles: +3

"Thanks for getting the treasure for me Wario, now consider it a consultation fee"

Like the game's lack of personality in style, I was initially very disappointment with the what it had to offer in terms of stages. First, I thought that the low number of stages (24 regular stages and 12 secret stages) would be a disadvantage.

After completing the first two worlds, I though the low number of stage would end up being an advantage, such was my disappointment in the game. Simply, with slow-paced exploration, the stages must be interesting. In both style and substance, the first two world were too boring.

Just when I was about to give up on the game, the third world started with an excellent level set in a moving train. I am always a sucker for train levels, and this one was especially good.

From that stage on, the game didn't drastically improved, but it did noticeably get better and more interesting. Stages started getting more varied, and the idea of replaying them to complete challenges wasn't as terrible as it was at first.

Now run to the starting line, RUN DAMN IT

To complete the game's challenges, you would need to replay most stages at least twice. Because of how they are constructed, one challenge making the other more difficult to get, playing the stage twice is the only way to get all challenges.

Otherwise, these challenges are really just there for people who really enjoyed the game. For me, while the game in the end managed to satisfy me, it wasn't to the level that I wanted to complete everything it had to offer.

Bad First Impression: -3
Pretty Good Later Stages: +4

"Ordinary goggles only protect the eyes. Ordinary goggles are for chumps--description of Full-Body Goggles"

Right from the start, its obvious that this latest Wario Land's graphics and animation is gorgeous. Nearly all sprites and background objects has this 2D hand drawn look that is both detailed and incredibly smooth. As a plus, it looks even better when it moves.

Wario's movement, still animation, shaking motion, and all of his other visual effects convey a deep sense of character to him.

The excellent graphics and animation, as perfectly evidenced by Wario, is the reason we notice the game's lack of personality. While everything is very competent, the graphics are nearly wasted on placeholder items with little to no inspiration.

I say nearly wasted, because the game manages to squeeze some personality purely through its art direction at times, even if the assets it has to work with are not exactly special.

EAT THIS YOU BLOWN UP BALOON (Not sure who says that to whom)

One weird thing though is the constrained view of the game. The main action takes place in a 4:3 square in the middle of the screen when playing in a 16:9 TV, with the two sides occupied by information regarding the level's challenges and treasure. Its probably due to the game being developed with SD TVs in mind and the art style making it undesirable to stretch for HD TVs.

Musically, the game has a lot of personality. I cannot say that the soundtrack is excellent, even saying its Very Good might be a stretch. However, it has variety and constant quality. Better yet, the music manages to install some personality to these stages that it otherwise lacks.

Good Feel must have had a lot of faith on the soundtrack though, as unlocking them is the reward for finishing the challenges of each stage. And yes, each stage does have its own nearly unique song.

Excellent Graphics and Animation: +5
Constrained View: -2
Very Good Music: +4

In Conclusion:

I started Wario Land: Shake It! with little experience with the Wario Land games, and I expected a competent platformer from Nintendo. It started as an obviously good game, but its lack of personality and the pedestrian stages turned me off.

Perhaps its a testament to its innate quality that the game managed to change a strongly negative first impression into a positive final view of the game.

While it never managed to pull me to fully complete and explore everything it had to offer, I enjoyed my time with Shake It! despite the initial turn-off, and despite the cramps from all that shaking.

Final: 35/50

*****************************************************************

"Looking Back at Destructoid's Review:"

What better person to review a weird Wario game than a fan of weirdness, Jonathan Holmes  who thought the game wasn't weird enough despite being very competent. He ended up giving the game a 7.5, and this summs up his review: "The game is top-notch in terms of its look, its controls, and its level design. Then why is it that I kept wanting to stop playing it in favor of another go at Tornado Man's Time Attack challenge in Mega Man 9? It's because by comparison, Mega Man 9 is like a brush with death, an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride on a brand new roller coaster, whereas Wario Land : Shake It is more like a leisurely, risk-free hop in the tea cups."

The comments section for this review have apparnetly been nuked, and there are only two comments now. Both which are abosultely brillian in their own way.

First, Dango makes the follwoing observation which I am not sure I disagree with:

"Wario has a sweet ass."

Ironically, Retrofraction's comment that explores why he liked the game might actually explain Dango's comment:

"I have recently bought this game, as the $50 price was keeping me from purchasing it.

It is well worth the money, and is a tribute to the Wario Land games on the game-boy.

While it is not taking the style into your face, it does have a lot more style than the New Super Mario Brothers. There are not to many hand drawn games on the Wii with the same level of detail.

I do like that the company took advantage of the Wii's power and spent time animating Wario in 60 fps where you can see his character come to life in each passing frame.

Wario has always been a completionist's dream as anyone can get through the levels, but it take someone skilled to get all of the treasure and complete all of the missions.

I would rate it at an 8, mainly because it is one of the better platformers to come out on the Wii"

The glory of that ass in its 60FPS hand drawn animations.

"Sales Data:"

I am generally not intrested in the sales of the games I like, and I don't measure my penis size through the sucess of games I like. However, sales data is intresting in studying market trends, people's general intrest, marketing strategy, genre effect, and other factors. Which is why I am going to check the sales data of every modern game I review (Gen 4 and beyond).

When internet commentors propegate the myth of the low Wii attach rate, it is games like Wario Land: Shake It! that they are using to spread that myth. Despite being a highly competent first party platformer from Nintendo, Shake It! only maanged to sell 1.17 Million Units. This makes it the lowest selling Wario Land game. Clearly, that is below standards, but its actually no surpsies given how Nintendo treated the game with caution marketing-wise.

However, Nintendo clearly were satesfied with the game's performance. As they continued working with developer Good Feel on other platfromers, and started giving more attention to their games in marketing.

"Tips"

1- I suggest you look online to see how to unlock the secret stages.
2- The fastest way to complete all challenges is to focus on getting the X amount of gold challenges first.
3- Usually, the kill no enemies challenge cannot be completed with the speed challenge.
4- To get the best out of the game's bosses, do not buy any heart upgrades until the last boss, where you will need them.
5- If you are low on health, shake enemies to get a health pick up.
6- Sometime, using enemies in a clever ways is the only way to get to tough to reach treasure and gold.
7- Nearly always, you will need to get the all the big diamonds in a stage if you want to finish its Gold challenge.

"Next Game"

Wario Land: Shake It! is proof that first impressions can change. Its also proof that Nintendo are simply THE experts in the platforming genre, and that they can craft games of many molds into it.

Next game for me to review is another one focusing on treasure. Sitting at #28, Zack and Wiki: Quest For Barbaros's Treasure is almost a treasure in of itself. While not especially rare, it was one of the celebrated 3rd party games that apparently did not get the attention they deserve.

Stay Tuned

For Previous Wii game Reviews:

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About Lord Spencerone of us since 5:57 PM on 01.12.2014

Hello all, I am Lord Spencer, your friendly neighborhood royalty. Yes, the ancient bloodlines are letting absolutely anyone in these days.

Being the lurker that I am, I have been following Destructoid for more than four years. Well, its 3 AM where I live now, and I just plunged in getting HUGE in the way.

Here is hoping for a fun time.

Oh yes, here is a little more info about me that is probably not as interesting as I think it is:

-I owned and played about 1000+ games.
-I owned and read about 2000+ books (I counted comic books I read as a kid so this is not as impressive as it sounds).
-I absolutely love Legos.

Out of all the games I played, I only regret playing a few. I am a big fan of gaming, and thus I really like most of what I play.

Thanks to the excellent work of community member Dango, now I have a cool infographic of my top 20 games. This list is not my final one, but what I thought off at the moment. If you notice, they are presented in chronological order:





Oh, and here is a link to my blogs:
My Blogs