Sunday, April 18, 2010

WiiWare Review - WarioWare DIY Showcase

I'm getting old. This is a sad but true fact and if there was a graph to show this it'd only depress me more. As I get older, I just don't have the patience for these 50-100 hour epic quests. I like my games to be over in a matter of minutes. Strike that. Matter of seconds. If my game isn't finished during a commercial break or before my friend gets back from the crapper then I don't know if it has a place in my life. Thankfully, the WarioWare series understands this need and delivers games that are done quicker than a rodeo. Nintendo released two versions of the latest in the series, a full game on the DS and a lighter version on the Wii. How does the latter stack up on its own?

WarioWare DIY Showcase, like all other name-sharing titles before it, is a collection of minigames all designed to be over in ten seconds or less. Each minigame has its own thing you need to do, be it anything from picking the correct answer to a question about Wario or helping a mouse through a maze to dodging Bald Bull's charge as Little Mac. Unlike previous games in the series, WWDIYS only has one control scheme: tap. This definitely takes some of the variety away that was present and loved in previous titles, but the reason for it is that budding developers can create their own minigame on the DS version and share it with other WWDIY owners or play it on this very WiiWare title.

The WarioWare games have all been very simple in how they look, and this is no exception. There's a large amount of charm to this, making each game look like something created in a matter of minutes, and it doesn't detract from the gameplay at all. Outside the minigames, everything's done in Nintendo's cartoon-ish style. It's actually quite pleasing to see old-school 2D animation rather than having the whole cast be rendered in 3D like every other Nintendo title out there now, giving the game a feeling of entertainment rather than trying to wow its audience with them new-fangled 3D effects and such. There are even retro-themed minigames (as there always have been in the series) based around games like Duck Hunt or Super Mario Kart and those games are faithfully recreated the same way you remember them. The sound is the same exact way, reproduced perfectly for the remakes and filled with charm for the others. Nothing's going to win any awards but the personality sticks with you.

The simple control scheme of just tapping things works pretty well with the Wiimote, willing that you have a somewhat steady hand. Point, click, watch things happen. Some games don't translate as well from DS stylus to Wiimote as others, such as when you need rapid yet accurate pokes at something before time runs out, and I feel like a little accuracy is lost, but there are the advantages of not having your giant hand in the way and being able to see everything on a large screen. I just wish the game went back to including GBA-style minigames that involved direction and button pressing.

If you have a DS, being able to put your own games on the big screen is definitely a large perk. Without one, however, you feel a little gimped at what you can do with the game. There are only four groups of games with each group featuring around 24 minigames. You can download new games weekly (regardless of whether they own a DS or not), some of which are created by professional developers such as Sakurai or Pixel. There's also a multiplayer mode after you unlock everything else, adding a little more replay value if you can get a couch full of people who enjoy their games nice and short. After a few short hours, though, there's not much else you can do if you don't have a DS and/or don't feel like creating and uploading their own games.

The WarioWare series and I go way back (just look at my forum/Twitter avatar of Jimmy T). Ever since its first game on the GBA, I've been a loyal follower and customer of every title. The latest, WarioWare DIY (Do It Yourself) on the DS, was going to be the first in the series that I wouldn't buy based on the fact that I didn't own a DS anymore. My girlfriend does, however, and after playing DIY Showcase I decided to buy the DS counterpart to (eventually) take full advantage of the WiiWare title. So the short review for it is if you have a Wii, DS, and WarioWare DIY for the DS, the Wii version supplements it nicely for eight bucks. Unfortunately, it's a little more difficult to recommend if you only have a Wii, and only long-time WarioWare fans will probably feel that their 800 Wii Points were well spent.

WarioWare DIY Showcase is available on WiiWare for 800 Wii Points. Played each minigame, downloaded a few others, and am currently learning how to make my own games. Also currently wishing for a multiplayer-centric title much like the GameCube WarioWare. Please, Nintendo? I miss my Paper Airplane races and Jimmy T dance-offs.

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