Every video game platform gets its share of shovelware. For the seventh generation of consoles, what with their reliance in innovative control schemes to garner new audiences, mini-game collections comprised the bulk of them. Seeing another mini-game collection pop up on the Wii U would be justification for exasperation. However, The existence of Game & Wario is no reason for eye-rolling. Frankly, you will be too busy darting your eyes between the two screens to do so.
See, most mini-games publishers do their best to make each section as easy to play as possible. It is likely the thinking is that the player will only spend a minute amount of time on any one section, so instead of bothering with polishing the gameplay mechanics, the time allowed to the developer is spent on creating more mini-game diversions. Really, check out a party game’s cover to see if it is touting how many games are included. It's truly quantity over quality in many of those cases.
While the recently released box art for Game & Wario tellingly lacks any sort of similar proclamation, the game is comprised of 16 events, with some single-player mini-games and others catering up to five concurrent players. Unlike most multiplayer Wii U games, however, Game & Wario does not require additional Wii Remotes.
One of the multiplayer games has the GamePad user selecting a random character within a busy city setting and discretely stealing the fruit littering the environment. The other players must then figure out which of the many constantly spawning characters the GamePad user chose to do the pilfering, requiring active teamwork and problem-solving from anyone not using the GamePad.
One single-player game tasks you with controlling a kid in bed who should be sleeping, but who is instead playing video games on a portable device. Your main focus is on the Wii U GamePad as you complete ludicrously fast-paced games with simple objectives. Anyone who has played the WarioWare games will be instantly familiar with this setup. The catch is that, since the player character should be sleeping, his mother pops in every so often to check on him. You will need to avert your eyes from the quick action on the GamePad in order to watch the TV screen and hide if his mother does show up. If you run out of lives on the portable device or get caught by the mother, you lose. This back-and-forth can get quite hectic and intense.
Another single-player game has you fending off incoming strawberry-stealing enemy robots with a bow and arrow. You aim by tilting the Wii U GamePad, and you fire your arrows by pulling back on the onscreen bow. How far you pull back before releasing determines the arrow’s force and trajectory. If the robots reach the front of the TV screen, action will then pick up on the GamePad where you will need to tap on each individual robot in order to stop them from stealing your strawberries.
While there is no lack of accessibility here, the interactive vignettes on offer require attention, precision, skill, and teamwork. The whole game asks the player to play in unconventional ways they have rarely tried before. That encouragement of practice is what makes Game & Wario unique and far from shovelware.
Nintendo recognizes the simple nature of this game compilation and has fittingly set its price at the budget cost of $40.
Writes for a few media outlets, does graphic design work for a few clients, as well as production work for a few studios (all poorly). Believes the best correlation between the words "twilight" and "sparkle" has less to do with vampires and more to do with a sarcastic pony.
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