Review: Wario Ware

In 2003 Nintendo's biggest surprise was not a cutting edge 3D Gamecube title, it was an incredibly innovative Wario title for the Game Boy Advance. With Made in Wario (or Wario Wario, Inc. as it was called here in Europe) Nintendo stepped away from the platform genre and used their Wario character to host a bizarre collection of supershort minigames and weird cutscenes. The game was quite a success, so Nintendo decided to make it into a Gamecube game. Keep in mind though that we're not talking about a sequel here, Made in Wario for the Cube is more like an update with extras. The Japanese version of the game is out for a while now and importing it seems a good deal since it's been a budget title in Japan from the moment it launched. Nintendo didn't think it would be fair to let gamers pay full price for an updated version of a GBA game, even though a lot of people probably would've been happy to buy it anyway. This review will explain what this crazy little game and it's GBA version are all about, what's new in the Cube version and if importing it is wise or not.

Minigame Mania:

The first time we saw Wario was in the second Mario Land game for the Game Boy. Wario was introduced as the anti-Mario, a sort of evil Mario twin wearing yellow and purple overalls instead of red and blue, eating garlic instead of mushrooms, the kind of guy that's stealing treasure rather than saving a princess. After that Wario got a few games of his own, all involving making money for Wario. Made in Wario is about money again, but this time Wario has found a new way to get rich, he's making cheap computer games and selling them to unsuspecting consumers. He wants the games to be incredibly simple and short so they take no effort to make, he even lets his friends make the games, Wario doesn't like hard work too much you see.

In Made in Wario you play the role of a gamer that's playing Wario's software, you meet all of his friends and play through the games they've made. All of their games last about two seconds and all you need to use to win them is the D-pad (or control stick on the Cube) and the A button. The object is always really simple, you have to do things like catch a stick before it falls to the ground, rapidly press A to squish a piece of fruit, stick a finger up a nose without missing the nose and more simple and often strange goals. There are even classic Nintendo games included, compressed into tiny two seconds minigames complete with authentic graphics, music and sound. In one you have to jump on a Goomba with Mario, another has you walking into a cave with Link. Wario and his friends have created over 200 supershort pieces of gameplay this way for you to play through in random order. You won't finish every minigame the first time you encounter it, but the idea behind it is that you keep on practising untill you can complete enough games without losing too much lives, so you can get to the next couple of games. The great thing about Made in Wario is that almost everybody can play it because the minigames are all very simple. At the same time though, veteran gamers still can get a kick out of going for high scores and seeing the numerous references to classic Nintendo games. The gameplay is very pure, every game is an exersize in timing, reaction, logical thinking or a combination of the three. It's the most easy game to learn, but also almost impossible to put aside after a few minigames. Why didn't anybody think of this before?

Fun for Four:

As mentioned before, the Cube version of Made in Wario is more like an update than a sequel to the GBA version, almost all of the Cube version's minigames were already present in the GBA version. The single player mode of Atsumare!! gives you a stripped down version of the GBA game, you play through the same stages as you did on the GBA but without all the hilarious cutscenes. There are a few other single player modes to unlock but they don't really offer anything new for anybody that has finished the GBA version. The big difference with the original is the inclusion of a multiplayer mode on the Cube, for this version Nintendo came up with a number of multiplayer formats in which you play minigames. Some of them are really simple, like the one where every player has a little stage in a disco and plays minigames to impress the crowd, but some make Atsumare!! feel like a completely new game. One of those is the one where all the players sit on a turtle. Every round you play an all new multiplayer minigame, the winner of which gets to play a single player minigame. If he wins his minigame, every other player gets an additional turtle placed on top of his existing turtle stack, if he loses he gets an extra turtle himself. After every round all the players have to keep balance on their turtle stack and naturally the more turtles you sit on, the harder it is to keep balance. The last player still sitting on his turtles is the winner. Playing Made in Wario with a couple of friends is even more fun than playing it alone, it really feels like the game was meant for this from the beginning. apart from the multiplayer modes though, there's not a lot of surprises in this new version of Made in Wario.

There is one more surprise though. In the GBA version, the story was told to you in a few really funny cutscenes that told you a little story about one of Wario's friends. The Cube version doesn't show you cutscenes while playing, but has a number of short intro movies that you see when you start up the game or press B in the menu screen. These movies don't really follow a storyline, they're just absurd little visual jokes or almost abstract images, it's kind of what you'd expect to see if Monty Python were a bunch of Japanese game programmers instead of British comedians. Of course they don't add anything to the gameplay at all, but they're a lot of fun to watch and they give a good idea of what kind of humor you can expect in the game itself.

Made in Wario or Wario Ware, Inc?:

The cube version has had an interface overhaul and great new multiplayer modes, but it's basically the same game as the GBA version. Even the graphics are the same in the old minigames, and the new minigames and movies may look better than the GBA ones, they still won't impress anybody. But as anybody that owns Made in Wario for the GBA can tell you, this game is all about fun and pure gameplay. When was the last time you were laughing out loud at something you saw in a game? Made in Wario will make you laugh a lot, and the Cube version will make you laugh along with other people, which is even better. If you want to play Atsumare!! as soon a possible importing it from Japan is an option, but you have to consider a few thing first. Before every minigame, the goal of the game is explained in a short phrase like "catch!" or "dodge!", so unless you can read Japanese you have to figure out every minigame by yourself if you're importing. Also there are a few minigames and even a whole multiplayer mode that require you to read and understand things on the screen, so you'll miss out on a few things with an imported copy. There are translations guides available on the internet, but it's not really practical to look for a Japanese phrase every time you play a two second minigame. If you already own the GBA version of the game and know all the minigames inside out this is not a very big problem, but it's something to consider anyway. And last of all, you can always look for the excellent GBA version to keep you occupied while you wait for Nintendo to release the game in Europe or the US.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Simple but hilarious and wildly addictive.

  • Gameplay5
  • Playability5
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan4
Final Score



Everyone can play it
Filled with games
Great multiplayer modes


Not many new minigames

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