Wario is definitely one of the odder choices for a lead character. The weird doppelgänger to Mario started as a foil before going off into his own wacky adventures. One of those was WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames, a series of zany microgames in which players must complete challenges in a few seconds. The pick-up and play nature combined with the crazy humor made the series a hit. 18 years after its debut, the Nintendo Switch is getting its own iteration of the WarioWare series. WarioWare: Get It Together! Might be the biggest departure for the series since the Wii U’s Game & Wario. Unlike the Wii U game, the Nintendo Switch sequel manages to stick to the original game’s mechanics and provide a worthwhile experience, but not without its faults.
Amidst the bustling city, Wario invites his friends over to showcase a new handheld system he created. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t work well and Wario retaliates in the only he knows how: huffing and puffing. The system gains sentience and decides to shrink Wario and his friends, sucking them into its digital world. Now, Wario and company must traverse the buggy regions of the system he created, fix all the issues, and escape to the real world.
The main story is as enjoyable and humorous as the previous titles were. Using a variety of different art styles like photo-realism, 3D graphics and of course, traditional 2D art, it helps to deliver a unique experience. However, while the visuals do a great job of conveying humor, there are missing elements in the audio department. For example, Charles Martinet had many lines and often stole the show in previous entries. In this game, he just snorts and grunts. It’s even a bigger shame that the great vocal cast from Gold returns as well, but only a there’s only a small amount of actual dialogue. Despite not reaching previous heights, Get It Together! still provide some chuckles throughout the humble adventure. In fact, when one character made their appearance towards the end, my smile could not be removed from my screen. Gotta give it that at least.
The bite-sized microgrames from previous titles return and function as usual. A quick instruction appears on screen and players must clear the game in just a few seconds. It may sound stressful, and it can be, but a lot of the time the instructions are simple to accomplish. The twist that Get It Together! adds to the formula is the playable characters. For the first time, Wario and his crew can be controlled in the microgames themselves. The shrunken avatars can move around the screen and manipulate objects in a variety of ways. There are more than a dozen different characters to experiment with. While some characters may have similar functions here and there, no character controls exactly the same.
Wario can hover on the screen with his jetpack, and also ram into things like in his Wario Land days. Mona cannot only hover but also use a boomerang and control its trajectory. Other characters like 18-Volt cannot move but instead shoot disc projectiles. The true genius of the game is that no matter the microgame, every character is compatible with it. For example, while some characters like Ashley can hover to the goal, others like Cricket need to jump through obstacles to achieve success. The fact that each game has so many variations with every character is astounding.
The game starts off with its traditional story mode as each level introduces a new character to play as and their unique theme (like Jimmy and Sports). Before each level, there’s a mini-tutorial that does a great job explaining how the character works. The microgames themselves are terrific as always and they constantly surprise you as you play. One moment, you open a giant party popper, and another you thwart a thief by flinging him from a manhole. Like in every WarioWare title, the Nintendo games are always the highlight and it’s no exception here. Defeating enemies for Donkey Kong or even inserting a Gamecube disc has never been this satisfying before. Despite the short length of two to three hours, the story mode is fun while it lasts. The addition of two player co-op is also a neat bonus as well.
Not all microgrames are created the same way and some instructions can be obtuse. In one game, a player must remove an object stuck in a horn, but the bump on the horn looks like a part of it. Another microgame revolves arounf removing headphones from someone, but there is no indication on how to remove them. This results in some games requiring multiple playthroughs, especially since each character tackles a game differently. The microgames themselves retain the same strict timer, and thus are harder. Just because the instruction on the screen is as clear as day, it doesn’t mean controlling a character on the screen is any easier. I often found myself misaligned due to control issues when I least expected.
Perhaps a bigger issue is that not every character is created equally and some are inferior to others. While 9-Volt is a fan favorite for his Nintendo love, as a character, he’s terrible to play as. Not only does he constantly move on his skateboard, but his yo-yo projectile has a limited vertical hitbox that doesn’t hit half of the time. Why choose him when Mike the robot has a similar upward attack, but can also fly? Same with Kat and Ana who constantly jump and and shoot projectiles who are inferior to the duo of Dribble and Spitz who can remain in place.
Once the story mode is complete, a bevy of new options become available. The main one is the variety pack. This mode houses all the different multiplayer modes. Despite the sheer number of modes, the overall package is a mixed bag. Some modes can be fun like a endless boss battle against all the characters, but some can be dull like juggling a soccer ball indefinitely. Another baffling decision is that some minigames choose characters at random and shuffles them throughout. While this adds more to the chaotic nature, the fact that characters aren’t equally balanced can results in some frustration. The biggest knock is that only a few of the myriad of modes involve competing against others in the main microgames. Whenever they’re the center of the action, the game is a blast.
Another mode is the Wario Cup, which offers different challenges every week. For example players must select a crew of characters to compete in an endless microgame marathon. Depending on the characters, difficulty, and speed, more points can be accrued. Choosing a difficult to control character like 9-Volt might be a bad idea, but considering he nets the most points adds an engaging risk-reward system.
Throughout the game, players gain coins by completing different missions. The coin serve as currency to purchase toy capsules from the Emporium. Purchasing toy capsules and hoping for a good prize is all about luck, but the more coins offered, the higher the odds for a rare item. The items (known as “Prezzies”) can be given to any of the characters in the Crew menu. Some characters like specific prezzies more than others. However, the game does not tell how much besides a small text hint. Awarding characters with prezzies grants them experience, which unlocks cosmetic changes like colors or skins. Experience can also increase a character’s performance in the Wario Cup mode. While the reward system is sound, the actual prizes are lacking, especially comparing to the offerings from previous WarioWare titles.
WarioWare: Get It Together! gets a lot of points for reinvigorating the classic formula. Controlling characters in microgames adds a new layer to the gameplay without making the simple goals too convoluted. Unfortunately, the uneven characters and obtuse controls can result in some frustration. The multiplayer offerings are fun when the main games are the focus, but the variety pack doesn’t add much interest despite its namesake. Still, with all the warts, this is still WarioWare, and it’s still as hilarious and fun as it’s always been. Even if it couldn’t get all of its ideas together, it’s still better than having a rotten time.
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