VC Weekly 287

Welcome to VC Weekly, N-Europe’s guide to the wonderful world of Nintendo’s download service. Written by Sam C Gittins

A pink protagonist plus mega, micro/minigame (whatever you want to call it) mania awaits! Anyway enough from me and on with the games!
Available for download this week we have...     

Kirby & the Amazing Mirror
Wario Ware Inc: Microgames Mania

Price: GB £6.29, EU €6.99
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Hal Laboratory
Released: 2004
System: GameBoy Advance
Kirby is undeniably one of Nintendo's most popular characters perhaps due to his versatility as over the years he has starred in many games including many spin-offs but some of his personal bests tend to be the more original platform games so it should come as no surprise that this title which sits somewhere in between does reasonably well. Developed by Flagship who were also behind the Four Swords Zelda multiplayer game it would seem that the same magic is being worked here but in a much different way because the actual game still plays like a more traditional platform adventure but with a few alterations to the structure making things a little more interesting.

Travelling to the Mirror World via the titular 'Amazing Mirror' in order to banish the evil which resides there Kirby finds that his reflection has been but into four separate coloured  Kirby's as a result of Meta Knight's failed attempt at saving the land. So now it falls upon you to work together with your coloured copies in an attempt to defeat the mysterious evil and put things right; this serves as an interesting plot device which then has you travelling to various levels via mirror portals, some of the places will seem familiar as they are based on areas from past titles along with some new and rather random levels which are all linked together as one big 'mirror maze' which can be a puzzle in itself to figure out.

Of course the core gameplay comes from Kirby's unique ability to absorb enemies by sucking them up from which point he can choose to steal their powers which can result in many marvellous transformations including classics like Sword Kirby where he essentially mimics Link which is useful for destroying things to a punching power that's well suited to breaking blocks. The real challenge clearly comes from the labyrinthine structure as the actual enemies are relatively easy to take out for the duration of the game as are the bosses which merely seem like token efforts; the other main twist comes from the three other A.I controlled Kirby's who will help you out providing they are nearby which they invariably aren't, this is where you can use your 'cell phone' to call them back to you providing you have enough battery power which is replenished via relevant power-ups... it's quite clear that when this game was originally conceived it had multiplayer in mind but seeing as that isn't an option here you'll just have to take the other coloured blobs for what they are be that a help or hindrance.


Clearly directly inspired by Nightmare in Dreamland the visuals used are of similar quality with many solid, vibrant colours which has become something of a series staple alongside some nicely animated sprites. Similarly the sound is very much similar to the SNES games which most Kirby titles have emulated ever since and while there's nothing wrong with that it never really feels fresh at all just comfortably familiar, the same can be said of the individual effects but it's to be expected of most games featuring our favourite ball of pink fudge.

A classic example of just how adaptable Kirby can be as Amazing Mirror manages to provide a perfectly playable platforming experience even as a standalone single player offering. If you're a fan of the genre then this is certainly worth playing for the fun of it but it's certainly not Kirby's finest hour; for a freebie though this is hardly a concern.

Verdict : While not amazing this is an above average Kirby outing.


Price: GB £6.29, EU €6.99
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Released: 2003
System: GameBoy Advance

Many games belong to a particular often over-saturated genre even more so today than ever before, this was even true of the GBA to an extent until a certain genre-defying game was released which quite simply became impossible to place managing to spawn one all of its very own and that game is of course Wario Ware the first in what would go on to be a brilliant series of games about games themselves. A loose plot revolves around Wario striving to become even richer by creating his own games but to become really successful he's going to need a bit of help from his friends, so he calls up an eclectic mix of characters ranging from disco-dancing Jimmy, wacky waitress Mona and even Nintendo nut-case 9-Volt all of which lend a hand in devising many ingenious games as part of our anti-hero's get richer, quicker scheme.

This is where you come in as the game tester as you pit your wits against the full roster of characters each of which who have their own stage comprising of many themed split-second games thrown at you within minutes or less with only three lives to do it in; it may seem a bit mad and believe me it is but that's part of the charm that this unique experience offers. More than that though it's a test of skill, reflexes, grit, determination... every instinct you have as a gamer will come into play here as you as tasked with some of the maddest things including pounding bricks, chopping vegetables, sniffing snot, threading needles, dodging arrows, the list literally goes on yet each game will feel instinctive the monent you're thrust into it; the trick is merely reacting appropriately within the small amount of time allotted which sounds simple because it is yet don't be fooled as it does get more challenging later on.

Brilliantly there is even an entire section of games devoted to some of Nintendo's most defining moments in gaming such as jumping on the head of your first Goomba in Mario, entering a cave in Zelda, defeating Mother Brain in Metroid, piloting the Blue Falcon in F-Zero and many more magical moments besides, this section is not only nostalgic but is more than likely the moment when you'll be relying on your instinct more than ever before. At the end of each section there is a boss battle of sorts to contend with which can range from a straightforward Punch-Out fight, to hitting five balls out of the park or even completing a small scrolling shooter section; these are often a high-light of the experience but if that wasn't enough – in fairness you can beat all the mini-games in a sitting – there are extra mini-games to unlock including extended versions of Paper Plane and Skateboard which are both very entertaining as are the one-life plus total boss challenges all of which you'll be clamouring for just 'one more go' at in order to better your high-score.


Presentation spare no expense as every single character has their own brilliant intro sequence along with an ending which ties into the larger story which has some genuinely amusing moments in it but more than that everything is beautifully rendered throughout blending seamlessly into the main experience. Music is another highlight as the short but sweet accompanying character themes coupled with the most excellent choice of sound effects used makes this one of the most engaging offerings on a hand-held system.

Simple in its execution but certainly not lacking in style the first Wario Ware game is every bit a landmark title as any first entry in other main-line Nintendo series you'd care to mention and its very success speaks volumes as evidenced by the many sequels that we have since been graced with across multiple consoles. It is to this outing that we owe a debt to though so if you've perhaps played other offerings in the series which now has a respectable life-span then surely you owe it at least to yourself to play the title which started a micro revolution in gaming.   

Verdict : Wario's most wacky title ever is perhaps one of Nintendo's finest.

That's it for another installment of VC Weekly which will return again soon. So until then, enjoy the rest of the week and Game On!

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