Games like WarioWare Gold are vital to the gaming ecosystem. Sure, Monster Hunter, Mario, and Forza are some of the leading franchises these days, but WarioWare keeps things balanced with how wacky it is. It’s not everyday you get bombarded with minigames (or Microgames as it’s coined) that force you to do some pretty weird stuff, but WarioWare Gold is almost uncomfortable at times and I love it for that.
WarioWare Gold is a group of Microgames that test your reflexes in a humorous way. Perhaps the word “group” is an understatement because there are 300 of them- yeah, that’s a lot. What’s interesting is that all of them last around three seconds, so it forces you to use your instincts when trying to overcome each game. The way it’s set up during the story is fast-paced and over the top.
Obviously, the main character is Wario, but we do get a lot of time with his friends Orbulon, 9-Volt, and Penny, among others. Impressively, every character is fully voice acted, with the production value of something you’d find on Cartoon Network or something. Hearing Wario actually have multiple lines of dialogue at a time was simultaneously scary and hilarious. The plot is stupid, but what would you expect out of a Wario game? He wants to get rich or something so he creates a game-show where he challenges contestants to compete for money.
Throughout the game-show, you play as the contestants, at least at first. After the intro level of each stage, the characters go off on their own adventures and they’re weirdly entertaining. There are three main sections, or leagues during the story: Mash, Twist, and Touch. There’s a fourth one unlocked later on that uses the 3DS microphone, as well. Each of them use a primary 3DS function, wherein Mash uses the face buttons, Twist uses the gyro, and Touch uses the touchscreen. The heart and personality of WarioWare Gold is found within these Microgames that will probably have you rolling on the floor with laughter.
Some of the Microgames are what you’d expect – things like kicking a soccer ball into a goal, jumping over obstacles as a skateboarder, or catching bugs. But then things get weird and you have to usher members of an audience to the correct bathroom, rotate a figure to maneuver food through the digestive system, shave someone’s beard, or my personal favorite – unrolling a roll of toilet paper. I don’t want to spoil all of them, so it’s best to play them for yourself. The remarkable amount of variety is what keeps this game fresh, especially with the ridiculous amount of Microgames you have to choose from.
What I love about this is how unique it is. Each Microgame lasts only seconds, so your brain barely has enough time to process what to do. But therein lies the genius design of Warioware Gold. Since you have only seconds to complete each game, the design must be intuitive and simple enough for your brain to quickly react. For the most part, WarioWare Gold succeeds at this. There were a few Microgames that stumped me, even after playing for hours, but a few out of 300 is a good ratio.
Each section of the story contains five smaller chapters with 16 Microgames to complete in quick succession. You have four lives, so if you fail one it’s no big deal. Once you complete 16, you get to fight a boss, which consists of a slightly more complicated Microgame. I love the fact that this game even has boss battles because it’s bizarre and adds to the humor.
Humor is one of the main reasons this game is so memorable for me. Everything from the writing, the concept of each Microgame, and the art had me at least smirking – at best, laughing out loud. One of my favorites is a Microgame that features a sketch of a bodybuilder. Your goal is to move his limbs to match the requested position. Easy enough, but the dumb smile on his face makes it hard to concentrate and once you complete it, he shouts a victorious, “AYYYYYYEEEE”, and it cracks me up.
There’s even a section that features an alien trying to order hamburgers at a fast food restaurant. When he’s informed the restaurant is out of hamburgers, the alien goes out to abduct some hams (pigs) to take back to the restaurant to cook to make hamburgers. It’s a uniquely refreshing break from the common doom and gloom many games have to offer.
WarioWare Gold also has Microgames featuring tiny snippets of classic NES games like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid. These small sections require you to perform a task that features a theme corresponding to that level. For example, the Metroid one starts you off on the top floor, and you must rotate the 3DS using the gyroscope to get Samus to roll down onto the bottom floor and acquire the item. That’s it. But it’s nice to see so many classic games featured in this insane collection.
One of my favorite parts of WarioWare Gold is the Amiibo functionality. You can scan any Amiibo into the 3DS and Wario will paint a horribly hilarious version of that character. The one for Doctor Mario almost puts me on the floor from laughing so hard. The humor in this game is not for everyone, but if you’re a fan of ironic bad things, this will probably be up your alley.
As this is a weird, diverse compilation of ideas, you better believe the music is there to spice things up. Seriously, the tracks are so varied and it keeps things interesting enough to make sure you’re entertained the whole time. Each of the 300 Microgames has their own unique track, so you can imagine the sheer diversity WarioWare Gold has to offer.
My biggest complaint, however, is whether it has a compelling enough gameplay loop to keep you around for a while. You can beat the main story in around four hours or less, so the majority of your time will be competing on each Microgame to obtain a high-score. My issue isn’t with the amount of content, because there are a ton of Microgames. I’m just not convinced WarioWare Gold gives you enough motivation to keep coming back. It is nice that each Microgame rewards you with coins upon completion, which can be used to buy dozens and dozens of collectibles, but that can only take you so far. My worry is that the moment someone experiences all the Microgames once, there is little reason to come back.
The asking price of $40.00 might be a bit too steep for a game that only may give you 10 hours of content, but I still think this is worth picking up. There aren’t enough funny games out there, and WarioWare Gold surely delivers on that front. While playing through each Microgame, there’s never a dull moment, so the feeling of repetition is almost non-existent. There’s a fully voice acted cast of characters, wonderfully silly writing, and an overall interesting premise that isn’t seen too often. If nothing else, give this one a shot for striving to be different, even if it doesn’t have the best replay value.