The WarioWare series has been dormant for a long time, waiting for the right time to return. And now, with the sun beginning to set on the glorious Nintendo 3DS, that time has come. Enter WarioWare Gold, a mishmash of microgames from the series’ history, with some new games added for good measure.
It’s a bit difficult to describe WarioWare to the uninitiated but I’ll do my best: the core gameplay consists of a rapid-fire stream of “microgames,” in which you have 5-10 seconds to figure out what to do based on a simple prompt. Each previous entry in the series has been based around a new gimmick, and WarioWare Gold includes games across three distinct control schemes: Mash (buttons), Tilt, and Touch.
The “main game” consists of a story mode wherein players must progress through 18 stages, each presented by a different character. The WarioWare series takes place in Diamond City, not the Mushroom Kingdom, so don’t expect appearances from your standard Mario characters like Toad or Yoshi. Instead, Wario’s friends include the 4th-grader 9-Volt, the bowling pin-headed alien Orbulon, and Jimmy T. In fact, nearly every character from the series gets their own stage in this game. There are about 20 microgames per stage, with the grand total reaching over 300, the highest in the series.
The sheer number of games across 3 control schemes provides plenty of variety. With a few exceptions, each microgame is remarkably good at communicating to the player exactly what they need to do the first time you see the game. You get nothing but a simple prompt and a few elements on the screen, and it’s up to you to figure out exactly what needs to be done. The first time you see a new microgame is where the magic really happens and it’s the most exciting part of playing WarioWare. There may be a rare game that stumps you, but it’s possible to play an individual microgame repeatedly in the Index until it’s been mastered.
The plot itself is silly fun, and much improved by the voice acting in the cutscenes. The ending of the story can be seen within just a couple hours, but by then you won’t have even seen every microgame. Additionally, each microgame has 3 difficulty levels that can add some new twists. And even once you’ve mastered all 300+ games, Challenge Mode offers many interesting new ways to play.
In fact, “Challenges” might just be where you spend most of your time. “All Mixed Up” is a mode where microgames from every stage are shuffled together. “Thrill Ride” gives you only one life. “Sneaky Gamer” is a throwback to Game & Wario’s “Gamer” mode, where you play microgames on the bottom screen and watch for Mom on the top screen—press L and R to hide! This is just a small sampling of the Challenge modes, and each one offers something unique.
If you’re not content with only Story and Challenge modes, there is a huge variety of collectible miscellany. Playing games earns you coins, which can be spent on unlocking content including records, trading cards, items from Nintendo’s history, mildly distracting mini-games, and more. There is also a large list of achievements (which also grant you coins) that would take many hours of dedication to fully complete.
WarioWare Gold is a truly unique game that doesn’t try to be like anything else out there, and is a lot of fun whether you’re a longtime fan of the series or jumping in for the first time. The developers have stuffed this package full of unlockables and modes, and going for new high scores is a great way to pass some time.
- Polished presentation, and lots of bizarre charm
- More microgames than any previous WarioWare
- Challenges and Missions provide variety and longevity
- Some microgames use the microphone
Soup Verdict: Imagine taste-testing 300 tiny bowls of soup.
A code was provided by Nintendo for this review.