By Steve Wright
WarioWare: Smooth Moves was easily one of my favourite Wii games. It was crazy. It was good on your own. It was AMAZING with a group of friends. Every single mini-game contained on-disc was a delight to play, and showed off the capabilities of the (then-new) Wii and its Wiimote perfectly.
Sadly, Wii U's Game and Wario is nothing like its predecessor.
After eight hours with the game, I can only recall one mini-game in Game and Wario that I actually enjoyed. Actually, scratch that; I can only recall that one solitary mini-game, regardless of enjoyment. The others? Instantly forgettable.
Let's focus on that one particular mini-game, then. Titled, "Gamer," the mini-game puts you in the shoes of a young gamer who strives to keep playing his favourite video game WAY past his bedtime. Hiding under his bedsheets with a GamePad in hand, the gamer's challenge is twofold: succeed in the micro-games that pop up on the GamePad (his AND yours, that is) and stop playing JUST long enough so your Mom doesn't catch you when she pops her head into your room.
Seriously, "Gamer" is nothing short of amazing, and I could have played that one game for my entire time with Game and Wario. It's not ground-breaking, but it's damn entertaining, and in true Nintendo fashion, amazing in its (complex) simplicity. You need to divide your attention between the micro-game on the GamePad and the subtle queues on your TV that will alert you when your Mom (sorry, "Mum") is about to walk in on you.
Oh, and by the way? Your on-screen Mum is scary as hell.
"Gamer" is what every game in WarioWare: Smooth Moves was like, and nothing like the rest of Game and Wario.
There's a game where you shoot arrows, but you've done that before in Nintendo Land. There's a disco game where you make stupid poses, but you've already done that in every motion-controlled dance game ever. There's a puzzle game that practically plays itself. Sadly, of the 12 single-player minigames in Game and Wario, "Gamer," "Shutter" and "Taxi" are the only ones worth trying.
The same is true for the game's multiplayer offerings; of the four modes you can play, only "Sketch" is worth playing. Basically, it's Pictionary on your GamePad. Like, "Gamer," it's a simple little game that you'll want to play over and over again. Unlike most of Game and Wario, it's not insane and overly intricate… which, sadly, helped to make Smooth Moves as good as it was. The difference between Smooth Moves' insanity, compared to this new Wii U offering, is that you felt a like you were part of the action on the Wii, and not just a bystander. It was crazy fun, not just crazy.
I might be a bit hard on Game and Wario, but for $80 AUD, it's an uninspired, shallow piece of garbage. If it retailed for $40? That'd be a different story altogether. Or, digitally for $15? Wow.
Simply put, there's not enough care or attention that's been put into this title to warrant a full-retail release… or corresponding price-tag. Wait until this one hits the uber-bargain bins, if you must.