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 30: WarioWare: Twisted

The random number generator has determined that the game I should write about next is WarioWare: Twisted. It was one of the 3 portable motion controlled Game Boy games that I know about, as well as the second real installment of the WarioWare series.

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WarioWare games are great. They’re difficult to play at first, but with practice they become more enjoyable. It consists of playing various micro games in quick succession. Each micro game is only a few seconds long, and the player either wins or loses based on their actions after quickly being given the instructions. Some of the instructions can be too vague to understand the first time you see them, but there are only about 200 micro games in the game, so you end up memorizing a lot of them by the time you’re finished. 200 micro games sounds like a lot, and it is, but they are divided into categories when you play through the main story, so the rotation of possible micro games should only consist of about 20 when you’re first learning them. You can play a mode at the end when any game can appear, but that’s after the main story.

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Aside from the first one, WarioWare games have always had a gimmick related to the controls. This time, the gimmick was motion controls. At the time, the Wii didn’t exist yet, so motion controlled games felt new and exciting. Despite how common they are now, this game is one of the best motion controlled games I ever played.

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Take a look at this cartridge! I don’t know how it works but it’s amazing!

The other motion controlled Game Boy games I know about are Kirby Tilt-N-Tumble and Yoshi: Topsy Turvy. WarioWare: Twisted is the first one I played, and the best of them, but I eventually beat all 3. I wonder why so many of these titles use the letter T so prominently. It might just be a weird coincidence.

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The story starts with Wario accidentally breaking his Game Boy Advance. He takes it to his friend Dr. Crygor and tells him to fix it. Instead, Crygor modifies it to have motion controls. Wario sees the potential of it and starts developing games for the new system.

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The whole game uses tilt controls and occasionally the A and B buttons. This also applies to the menu. You will never use the directional pad for anything.

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I’m a big fan of WarioWare. My friend Jonah introduced the series to me, but I only really got into formally completing the games myself once I received a download for the first WarioWare game through the 3DS Ambassador program. My local Target store dropped the price of the 3DS from $250 to $180 a day early, so I bought it for $180 the day they dropped the price but still got the Ambassador games.

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#Win

I always strive for 100% completion in WarioWare games. In order to do that, there’s a certain process I undertake. First, I try out the first category of micro games. If I make it to the boss and win, I unlock the next category of micro games, but I don’t move on to playing them yet.

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There’s a mode in the better 4 WarioWare games that lets you play a particular micro game over and over until you lose 4 times. Just like in the regular mode, the micro games get faster and sometimes trickier the further you progress. If you can reach the high score goal for beating a micro game a certain amount of times in one go, the game acknowledges this achievement with a flower icon (I think) on that particular micro game in the micro game selection menu.

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Example of a micro game

I work to get the achievement for every single available micro game, and I stop once I’ve reached all the high scores. If there are micro games you can’t access in challenge mode, it means that you’ve never encountered them before in regular mode. In those cases, I would go into regular mode with the express point of finding the locked micro games. Having practiced the micro games unlocked so far, I’d be able to survive long past the first time encountering the boss micro game, and as I progressed further, the faster micro games went and thus the more likely I was to encounter the locked micro games quickly. WarioWare is definitely a situation where practice makes perfect.

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Another micro game

Once I unlock all the micro games and complete their challenges, there are still neat things to collect. WarioWare: Twisted takes advantage of its unique controls by adding in neat virtual toys that they call “souvenirs”. I think it’s great that ideas like these see the light of day because they are bundled with a product that is actually worth buying.

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Example: When you rotate the game system, the globe rotates too.

My favorite micro games in WarioWare are generally the ones developed by the character 9-Volt. He’s a Nintendo Fan who (by an extension of logic) lives on the same planet as Mario, Wario and Donkey Kong. His games remix old Nintendo games with changes either in controls or context. This time he added Motion Controls to classic Nintendo titles.

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I wouldn’t be surprised if he grew up to develop NES Remix.

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WarioWare: Twisted was never localized in Europe. Some say it was never sold there because the mechanism inside the cartridge used mercury and mercury is one of the poisonous substances blocked from being sold in the European Union, but this is probably not why.

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A mercury thermometer. Not all thermometers contain mercury.

The main reason I don’t believe that the mercury rumor is true is that mercury is poisonous no matter what country you’re in. I am pretty sure that people wouldn’t allow a poisonous substance to be used in a toy or video game sold in America, so the only other theory I’ve read that makes sense to me has something to do with the long bureaucratic process for approving games to be sold in Europe. The idea is that either the process for getting the game’s approval took too long or it was predicted that it would take too long and (either way) was abandoned by Nintendo of Europe since their focus shifted from marketing Game Boy Advance to the Nintendo DS. A similar thing happened with Earthbound Beginnings between its release in Japan and its lack of localization anywhere else. Earthbound Beginnings eventually did get released worldwide on Virtual Console, but it took a long time and a lot of fan outcry to make it happen. For anyone wanting to play this game in Europe, I’d recommend just buying an American copy, since there was no region lock on the Game Boy Advance so it should work with a European console.

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Europe did get some of these WarioWare: Twisted micro games via the inclusion of a few of them in a category within the WarioWare game for Wii, WarioWare: Smooth Moves. Both games had motion controls, so the category’s inclusion was an elegant throwback to “retro” motion controlled micro games.

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A micro game in WarioWare: Smooth Moves

Theoretically, Nintendo might be able release the entirety of WarioWare: Twisted for the Wii U Virtual Console, but honestly, I don’t see it happening. WarioWare: Twisted is a great game, but it’s relatively obscure. If you want to play it, definitely order a copy online. I recommend it!

Wario's game development team
Wario’s game development team

Thanks for Reading! I Appreciate it!

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 12: Wario, Master of Disguise

The random number generator wants me to write about Wario: Master of Disguise. It happens to be one of the 26 games set in the Mario universe that I beat during my “Year of Mario”.

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This is a strange game on my list. Essentially it’s Wario Land combined with the touchscreen gimmick of the Nintendo DS era. The premise is that Wario, while trying to think of a way to get rich, sees a show about master thieves, so he creates a machine that will allow him to enter the TV Program. Once there, he decides to introduce himself as a master thief called “The Purple Wind”, because he’s silent but deadly.

Wario is pretty great.
Wario is pretty great.

So, he steals a magical wand and uses various “disguises” to make his way through the 10 levels in the game. Among those disguises are the default thief disguise which allows Wario to jump pretty high, the dragon disguise that lets him shoot fire, the electric disguise which lets him shoot electricity, a space suit that lets him shoot lasers, a “genius” disguise that lets him punch objects sideways with an invention involving a boxing glove, an artist disguise that lets him spawn blocks to achieve various tasks, a pirate disguise that lets him float in water, and a demon disguise that lets him fly around.

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The levels are pretty good, but the touch controls can be more difficult than they should be. I definitely had to make use of video guides for some of the bosses in the game and moments when I wasn’t sure where to go. In my opinion, I would skip this game unless you’re a big fan of Wario. I happen to be, so I ended up liking the game, but I’m aware that Wario is a very polarizing figure.

Thanks for Reading! =D