Gaming Post 32: Game and Wario (Game & Wario)

At times this website looks like it’s inactive, but one thing you should know about me is that I almost always finish what I start. While I do intend on finishing my writing about the video games I have completed, I don’t follow a set schedule, so there may be months at a time when I don’t post an update. But you knew that already! When I last left off, the Random Number Generator was showing an unusual preference for Wario games. It chose a Wario game that I finished recently. I finished the game because I had been writing so much about Wario on this site, so maybe the Random Number Generator’s tendency towards Wario games isn’t so strange after all. At some point though, I’ll be out of Wario games to write about.

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Game and Wario seems to be WarioWare’s representation on the Nintendo Wii U gaming system. It’s not a proper WarioWare game though. Instead of consisting of hundreds of Microgames that the player plays through in rapid succession, it’s a handful of minigames, each one creatively taking advantage of the Wii U’s unique features.

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In fact, what I found out about this game is that a few of the minigames featured in this game started out as simple demos for the Wii U system back at the E3 conference when the Wii U was announced. They demonstrated the unique gameplay potential of the interplay between having the Gamepad controller and a TV screen working together. Apparently, those minigames from E3 were going to be included with every Wii U but then they decided to turn them into a Wario game and give us NintendoLand instead.

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I should go back and play more of this. It was good.

Each minigame is its own experience, so I’ll quickly run through them and my thoughts about each one.

ARROW:

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Noses are a recurring theme in Wario games.

Arrow is the first game you play in the story. Essentially it’s a game about fighting an onslaught of enemies with arrows controlled in part by the touchscreen and also via the tilt sensors in the Gamepad. I remember it’s a bit hard to control, and it wasn’t my favorite minigame, but I got through all the difficulty levels after clearing it the first time.

SHUTTER:

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Shutter is an interesting game about taking photos. The top screen shows a confusing “Where’s Waldo-esque” environment with targets hiding there who you are told to photograph. The Gamepad works as your camera, which you aim at different parts of the TV to see a zoomed in window of the environment. You have to pay attention to both screens to find your target and take a photo of them. You get various amounts of points based on things like the size of the subject in the frame and if they are facing the camera or not, which reminds me of the photo scoring system in an older game I played called Pokémon Snap.

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How’s the size? How’s the pose? Wonderful!

There are a few level scenarios for this game with different premises but the same sort of gameplay where you need to pay attention to both screens to do well. I liked it.

SKI:

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Ski is a funny game where you play as Jimmy T and ski down a mountain using tilt controls. The bottom screen shows the elements important to the gameplay while the top screen is more cinematic. I liked this game too, but there wasn’t much to it.

PATCHWORK:

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Patchwork is oddly my favorite of the minigames in Game and Wario. It is a simple puzzle game where you fit pieces together to make a picture of an object. To pass the game for the first time, you only need to complete 1 puzzle, but then there are many more of them available to solve if you want to. As soon as I got to this minigame, I just focused on completing all the extra puzzles. The game is controlled with the touch screen of the Gamepad where you simply drag and drop segments of the puzzle onto outlines that perfectly match the pieces. The same visual is displayed on both the TV and the Gamepad, so people sitting on the couch could help identify possible solutions. It became more of a group activity when I played it among my friends.

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I felt that the music for Patchwork has a peculiar quality that brings about the feeling of nostalgia. I think it’s weird that I would be feeling nostalgia for a song I never heard before, but that’s what happened.

I think this song from Pokémon Gold and Silver has a similar quality, but then again, I have heard the song before, so it makes sense that it would feel nostalgic.

Nostalgia is weird, but good.

KUNG FU:

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Kung Fu is a game about jumping. It uses the tilt controls of the Gamepad and a few buttons. The TV shows an area full of cliffs that you must traverse, but the distance between platforms from the TV’s perspective can be ambiguous, while the Gamepad’s view is straight down so that you can make precise landings. The objective is to find all 3 scrolls per level and there’s a few levels. It was pretty good but didn’t take too long to finish.

GAMER:

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Gamer is the coolest minigame in Game and Wario. It’s even featured as a stage in Super Smash Brothers 4 Wii U. The premise is that the character 9-Volt is supposed to go to bed, but he wants to play the original WarioWare for the Game Boy Advanced instead of going to sleep. The only problem is that his mom 5-Volt is creeping around making sure that 9-Volt is asleep, so he has to pause his game and pretend he’s sleeping when his mom sneaks up on him. The bottom screen is exactly the game 9-Volt is playing, but the top screen is his surroundings, which you have to pay attention to or else he might get caught in the act of playing video games after his bedtime. This game is very reminiscent of real life. I remember when I was 8 and I was excited about getting to the next town (Vermilion City) in Pokémon Yellow. I secretly played a bit longer than I was supposed to and saved once I got to the new city and heard its music. Similarly, I think that at one point I was playing this Gamer minigame at 1 AM, so in a way, I was both avoiding 9-Volts Mom, and trying not to wake up my real parents, so it was pretty suspenseful.

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We heard you like games, so we put a game in your game so you can game while you game.

In later modes of Gamer, 16-Volt can play the game during the daytime. You can focus on just playing the Microgame, but even in the relative safety of daylight, paranoia can still set in.

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5-Volt is scary.

DESIGN:

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Design is an interesting but not very fun minigame. You are supposed to be designing a robot, so using the touch screen you are given certain tasks to draw lines of specific lengths, draw corners with specific angles, and draw perfect circles with specific diameters. It’s pretty hard, but if you put your mind to it, there are ways to make educated guesses.

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ASHLEY:

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Ashley is a minigame in which you must escape a book by flying around on a magic broom. You control the angle of her broom using the Gamepad’s tilt controls, and there’s also buttons that let you fly in a loop. You might also shoot at things although I can’t completely remember. Once you complete the 3 stages, you’re done.

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TAXI:

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Taxi is an interesting minigame. The premise is that you are driving around using the gamepad picking up and dropping off passengers, and then aliens attack. The cool part is that the Gamepad shows a first person perspective of the taxi driver while the TV shows a view of the entire game world with things happening as the taxi is driving through it.

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There are 3 stages, and they all end with some time based objective to add suspense. I liked this minigame a lot because of the differentiated perspectives given to the player. I feel like differentiated perspective like this is something games could use more than they already do for the sake of more completely immersing players into the game world and making games feel different from movies.

PIRATE:

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Pirate is the last minigame before the credits of the game’s main story. In it you use tilt controls to block projectiles being shot at you by captain Wario. It’s a pretty fun rhythm game fit to be the final boss of Game and Wario if you’re only playing through the story once. Of course I like playing WarioWare games well beyond the end credits, so I wasn’t done until I essentially completed all of the extra challenges in each of the minigames.

BOWLING:

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Bowling is interesting in Game and Wario. To play, you hold the Gamepad sideways and throw the ball by grabbing and sliding it using the touch screen. After you throw it, you can magically influence the direction the ball’s path by using the Gamepad’s tilt controls as the ball approaches the pins. The goal of the game is to always get strikes, and because the pins have weird sizes based on the characters in the game, the strategy for each pin setup is different. It quickly turns from a regular bowling game to one heavily reliant on trick shots. There are a few rounds of this, and strikes get pretty difficult to perform by the end. I’d say this is probably the hardest minigame in Game and Wario.

BIRD:

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Bird as displayed on the TV screen

Bird is the final single player minigame in Game and Wario. The main character is a bird with a diagonal tongue that often makes appearances in WarioWare games, usually as an arcade style minigame that you unlock near or at the very end of the game. This game is particularly interesting this time in how it might get people to think more like game designers.

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The same moment in Bird displayed on the Gamepad

The game itself isn’t that interesting, but what is is that the top screen and the bottom screen display the same thing using very different graphical styles. The TV screen shows the game in high definition graphics while the Gamepad shows the game in the style of old Game and Watch games. Both screens are equally valid. You can play the game using either one of the screens and completely ignore the other one. The difference is that while the TV’s view of the game is pretty, the Gamepad’s view shows us the bare bones of how the game works. It demonstrates how a game can have exactly the same gameplay but different graphics, which offers evidence in support of the opinion that for video games, graphics don’t matter as much as the gameplay.

DISCO:

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There are a few Multiplayer minigames which I played briefly. The first of which was Disco. Disco uses the Gamepad touchscreen and is pretty similar to guitar hero. One player makes a sequence of notes to the beat and the other player has to match it, then the roles are reversed. Whoever screws up the least wins. I’m pretty good at it.

FRUIT:

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Fruit is a game most similar to multiplayer Assassin’s Creed. There is one thief with the Gamepad and one or more detectives watching the TV. The thief chooses his appearance and walks out into a crowd of people. Then you’re supposed to blend in with the crowd so that the detectives don’t know which one you are, but you also have to steal fruit while you are walking around. It’s intense, and I’m not very good at it as the thief or even as a detective. It’s a creative minigame though, so I like it.

ISLANDS:

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Islands is a game most similar to Bocce. The idea is to throw creatures called Fronks onto and island trying to land them on areas worth the most amount of points, but like Bocce, your guys can be knocked away by the actions of other guys, losing you points. It has a few scenarios, each one more dangerous than the last, but I’m terrible at all of them except for the first one.

SKETCH:

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Sketch is essentially a digital version of Pictionary. The person with the Gamepad has a prompt and has to draw a picture of an object or concept or something without writing words or saying anything and the other people in the room can guess what it is, since the drawing appears on the TV without the prompt. If someone guesses correctly, you tap a button on the screen and it gives you a new prompt. This was by far the best multiplayer minigame in Game and Wario in my opinion. I like Pictionary.

There are collectible doodads in this game that you can win from a chicken machine, but I didn’t get them all. The ones I got though were pretty funny. I like the doodads because they offer tiny experiences that could never be justifiably sold in any way except to be hidden in a larger game.

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One doodad of many; I think this one was a bubble blowing simulator.

And that’s pretty much all there is to Game and Wario. It doesn’t have very good reviews, but I’d argue that it has its value and if you can find it for $10 or less, it might be worth playing.

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More articles to come! Thanks for reading! =)

-Zelgerath (@Zelgerath)

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Gaming Post 29: Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3

The random number generator has determined that the next game I should write about is Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3.

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Wario Land is an interesting game in that it continued an existing series by transforming it. It is the last game in the Mario Land series as well as the first in the Wario Land one. You play as Wario, who was the main antagonist in the previous game, Super Mario Land 2.

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I bought this game from the 3DS Nintendo eshop when I was bored, along with Mario Land 1, Wario Land 2 and Wario Land 3. I already had Mario Land 2 from an eshop sale.

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After finishing Mario Land 2, PAX East 2014 happened. I didn’t have a Ticket for the Friday, but I did meet my friend Absol from the Internet outside the venue that day. I then sat for a few hours and streetpassed with people who were in line to get in. This campaign finally ended when my 3DS ran out of battery power and I decided to take the train home.

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When I got home, I was experiencing gaming withdrawal. Though it was true that I had been playing the Mii Plaza games Puzzle Swap and Warrior’s Way, I had only played them so intently that day because PAX East presented me with an opportunity to progress faster in those games than I usually could. That said, you can only play the street pass games for so long before they stop being fun.

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That afternoon, I played through the entirety of Super Mario Land 1 and then started Super Wario Land.

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“Best adventure yet”? More like “Shortest adventure yet”!

Super Wario Land is pretty easy, even without Restore Points, but I did use them for the sake of convenience. I ran into a problem early on in the game that taught me to be careful with restore points. I had accidentally created a restore point at a moment in the game when Wario was healthy, but there was no possible way to survive to the end of the level (there was a moving platform I was supposed to have jumped off of). This taught me that there are dangers to using restore points, and one should always be careful in their use.

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Wario Land 1 plays similarly to regular Super Mario games. Wario can obtain power ups like the Dragon, Bull or Jet to traverse levels differently or attack enemies more easily. If you get hit by an enemy, just like in Super Mario, you lose your power up, and if hit again, you become “Tiny Wario”. If Tiny Wario gets hit, it’s a death.

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Following Wario’s defeat in Mario Land 2, Wario wants to build a new castle. To pay for it, he decides to steal treasure from pirates.

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He eventually duels with Captain Syrup, the leader of the pirates, and her genie.

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After he wins, the genie builds Wario a new castle. Depending on how well you do collecting treasure, you get ranked at the end by how big the castle is.

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The genie built me a birdhouse.

Wario is a character defined by his flaws. In that way, he’s a much more believable character than his doppelgänger Mario. This game introduced his greed, and other games would feature his sloth and gluttony. Greed is his primary personality trait, because that’s what motivates him to get off the couch once in a while.

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The only Wario Land game that I haven’t beaten yet is the one they made immediately after this one, which was for the Nintendo Virtual Boy gaming system. The process of writing this article incited me to bite the bullet and order a Virtual Boy gaming system online along with the Wario Land title for it. I’ll hopefully play it soon.

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Even 9-Volt has a Virtual Boy. I wonder if he has Wario Land.

Through the process of writing this article, it can be said that my life has been slightly affected by a random number generator. Thanks for Reading! I Appreciate it!

Gaming Post 23: Captain Toad, Treasure Tracker

The random number generator has decided that I should write about a relatively new game called Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker for the Nintendo Wii U gaming system.

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Now, when I say that this game is new, what I mean is that it was released in America almost 2 months ago at the time that this post was written. It’s the most recent Mario game (at least the way I define them). The game is relatively short and was thus sold at the lower than usual price of $40, but it’s still pretty fun despite its length. One thing that reviewers don’t seem to mention is that this game also gets very difficult for anyone trying to reach 100% completion.

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The gameplay of this game was inspired by the Captain Toad levels introduced in Super Mario 3D World. Basically, because Captain Toad’s backpack is heavy, he cannot jump, and so all of the platforming requires at least some amount of forethought. It’s more similar to a puzzle game than what you would expect from a classic 3D Mario game. For most of the game, the objective is to find and obtain all three jewels hidden in each level, complete the challenge objective for the level, and get the star at the end of the level. Like the New Super Mario Bros. series, these requirements do not need to be met at the same time, so it’s never too hard to complete a stage 100%. There are a fairly large amount of stages though.

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This trailer will give you a sense of whether or not you would like the game.

The day Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker came out, I drove to the mall early because I realized that I had forgotten to pre-order my copy. Luckily, it seemed that nobody else wanted to buy the game that day (at least nobody who wasn’t either at work or school the moment the store opened), so while I felt like I had to rush to the store, it was completely unnecessary. Once I had my copy, I went and ate some Chinese food before returning home to play the game.

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If I had chosen Mushroom Chicken, this picture would have been weird.
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The characters in this game are pretty great.

The game is divided into 4 parts. The first is Toad’s story where the objective is to save Toadette. At the end of just a small set of levels, you save Toadette and reach the ending credits. When this happened, I knew that the game couldn’t be that short, and sure enough, I had simply unlocked part 2 of the game.

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This sequel was released so fast that nobody even had time to ask them to make a sequel!

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In part 2, you play as Toadette whose objective is to save Captain Toad. When this is finished, part 3 is unlocked.

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The entire Captain Toad Trilogy was released in a day.

In part 3, levels that feature Captain Toad take turns with levels featuring Toadette. Their objective in the story is to look for each other while (as always) collecting treasure on the way.

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As I found out by the end of the third story, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a direct prequel to Super Mario 3D World, in that the last scene of Captain Toad is the first scene of 3D World. I think that this was done to introduce beginning players to Super Mario 3D World after they become proficient enough to finish Captain Toad Treasure Tracker’s story.

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http://youtu.be/CB-jj1Kx5UA?t=4m45s (Final Scene of Treasure Tracker)

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There’s a final section of the game containing bonus levels. This is what I call part 4, and it is by far the most difficult part of the game to complete.

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Because my Wii U contained save data from Super Mario 3D World, some special levels were unlocked for Captain Toad that came directly from 3D World. Those levels had originally been designed for Mario, Luigi, Peach, Blue Toad and Rosalina to run and jump through, so ladders were added into Captain Toad’s versions of the levels so that Captain Toad, who doesn’t have the ability to jump, would be able to get through them. I thought the inclusion of a few of these levels was pretty neat.

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There are a few levels that involve the Toad Brigade. Some of you might remember Captain Toad’s first appearance as the leader of the Toad Brigade in the really awesome Super Mario Galaxy series.

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Who knew he would eventually get his own game? The fact that surprises like that periodically happen is one reason why I love Nintendo.

Speaking of spinoffs, I think that Waluigi should get some kind of single player game. Luigi has a few games and so does Wario, but what about poor Waluigi? If you have a chance, please bother Nintendo about that. Tell them we need a “Waluigi’s Circus” or something. He kind of looks like he could run a circus, but honestly, I’m not picky. Give him any game at all.

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There are some other challenging bonus levels, but none of them come close to the final level called “Mummy-Me Maze Forever”. While I took about a day to finish every other level, this one took me several days. It’s a cavern that has 50 floors, and you must survive to the end while mummified Toads chase after you copying your exact steps but alternating like clockwork between lagging behind and almost catching up to you. The additional objective is to obtain 50,000 coins, but there are a ton of coins on the non-dangerous 50th floor, so the real goal is having something like 3 and a half thousand by the end of floor 49, which is not really a problem.

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I tried this level for days and had very little progress. It reminded me of the final level in Super Mario Galaxy 2 called “The Perfect Run”. What made this level difficult for me was the necessity to adjust your camera angle to not only avoid running into unseen enemies but also to avoid running into a wall and getting hit by the Mummy-Me that is chasing you.

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The other thing that made things difficult for me was my stubbornness to not use touch controls to stun enemies. I have always felt since I played Super Mario 3D World that using touch controls against blocks and enemies (besides when required) was equivalent to cheating, since 3D Mario games have only rarely had that ability. As I had more and more trouble with this level, I looked online for people who had succeeded in completing the level. I found two different people on Twitter who had, and asked them for their opinion on the subject of using the touch screen. Both of them had used it and considered those abilities to be legitimate. This level had been stressing me out a little bit, so upon reflection, I decided that sometimes, I need to let go of my pride in order to have fun. Games, after all, only exist for the purpose of having fun. So I decided that Toad was definitely “The One” within the Matrix.

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“So you’re saying I can dodge Bullet Bills?” “No, Captain Toad. What I’m saying is that when you’re ready, you won’t have to.”

Using the powers of touch controls, it only took me a few more tries until I was lucky enough to complete the level, and at the end I earned a crown for Toad. I thought that crown was pretty neat, and a quite fitting reward for 100% completing the game.

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Now, although I have certainly finished this game, there is additional visual content for this game that will involve Nintendo’s Amiibo toys. There will be a Toad Amiibo (The first Amiibo that will not work in Super Smash Brothers) and connecting it to the Wii U when playing this game will allow 8 Bit Toads to be hidden in all the levels. Nintendo has made a habit of hiding 8 Bit Luigi in levels, and with this feature for the Toad Amiibo, Nintendo has made a way to add content to a game without forcing people who already completed it to come back to it.

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Luigi?

I’m getting a Toad Amiibo, but not because of this feature in Captain Toad. I’m getting it because I think Toad is a good character. If one of my friends plays the game, I’ll let them use the Toad Amiibo to unlock the 8 Bit Toad easter eggs, but that may be about all the technical use I’ll get out of it, and that’s okay.

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The Japanese get this bundle. =)

Now that the Captain Toad game is over for me, the next Mario title coming out seems to be something called “Mario Maker”. I’m not going to get my hopes up for it being good though. I guess we’ll see eventually. Until then, I’ll be beating all the Kirby games unless I actually beat all the Kirby games in which case I might work on completing the Mario RPG series or something.

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Until next time, Thanks for Reading! =)


Edit (July 17, 2015):

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Last night, Nick told me that the game keeps track of the Pixel Toads you find in each level when you use the Toad Amiibo. I was previously under the impression that they appeared simply to be noticed sometimes like the Pixel Luigis.

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Apparently, it’s a challenge you can complete. It wasn’t too difficult, but it did take me a few hours. I started last night and finished this morning before work.

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There is one toad per stage for the first 3 episodes of the game (There are none in the Bonus episode), and a distinct noise can be heard whenever Captain Toad is standing near one, making the task much simpler than it would have been otherwise. It can be a little tricky to find some of the Pixel Toads because of how unexpected their hiding places can be.

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No spoilers: This is an easy Pixel Toad.

This challenge may not have been there when I initially played Treasure Tracker, but it did give me an excuse to play the game with Toad and Toadette wearing the coveted “I beat the game” Crown.

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Anyways, Thanks for Reading! =D