Review: Wario World

Wario World is a pretty special game. Special because it is released in Europe before America. Okay, it's only three days before America, but it's a nice thought anyway. It's also special because it's not developed by Nintendo. Nintendo had Treasure (you know, the Ikaruga guys) make the first 3D game featuring the big boned Mario rival. Luckily Wario World's not just special because of it's release date and developer, the game itself also has quite a bit of specialness to it. It shares a lot of similarities with Luigi's Mansion, both good and bad ones. Excellent gameplay being a good one and a short length being a bad one.

The story is all about Wario and his money. The greedy Wario has been hunting for treasures for a lot of years now, and has built up an impressive castle with part of his wealth. One of the treasures Wario has acquired is a very big black jewel. This jewel is not like the ones in your grandma's drawers though, it's alive and very angry. One day it turns all Wario's treasures into monsters, making Wario very angry as well. Wario sets out to take back his loot and defeat the jewel by doing what he does best: using his fists.


Wario World's graphics are one of the things that bring back memories of Luigi's Mansion. Mostly because of the nice lightning effects and hilarious models featured in both games, but unfortunately also because the textures don't have a lot of detail. The camera acts a lot like it did in Nintendo launch title, mostly staying on one side of the action. Unlike in Luigi's Mansion it can turn around Wario in the small sublevels though, and in the normal levels it will pan around a corner like in Viewtiful Joe sometimes. What is also very different from Luigi's Mansion is that a lot of the levels in Wario World are outdoors. Because of this the levels are bright and have a lot of colour. Every level has a completely different theme, ranging from a piramid complete with mummies, to a circus tent filled with clowns and funny animals. Wario and his numerous enemies are modeled and animated very nicely. Like the textures in the surroundings, they're not too detailed, but they look very funny and their moves are nice and fluid.


Probably the strangest thing about this game is it's music. It's filled with weird compositions, complete with slightly out of tune bits and crazy vocals, just like Wario Ware Inc for the GBA. It woks great though, each level has a musical theme that goes very well with the look of the level. The sound effects are a lot of fun too. Walk over a stone bridge and you hear Wario's shoes click-clack on the stones. The thing you'll hear the most in this game, will be Wario himself. He literally makes sound with everything he does. Jump and he'll go "mah!", suck in coins and he'll scream and throw away an enemy and he'll say "have a rotten day!". Wario is voiced perfectly by Charles Martinet, who also does Mario ("It's-a me, Mario!") and Luigi ("M-M-Mario?!").


This is the place where Wario World really shines. Like Luigi's Mansion, this game is great to play, while it lasts. Wario fights like he walked right out of a Wrestlemania game. You can punch enemies to get rid of them, but the most fun lies in grabbing them. Once you've hit a bad guy a few times you knock him out, allowing you to pick him up and use him as a deadly weapon against other enemies. The fighting is done pretty well, it doesn't get boring even though you do the same moves all the time. Picking up a giant enemy and spinning him around never really loses it's charm. The boss enemies are one of the best things in this game, they are truly bizarre. The fun lies in discovering how to beat them, every boss has a different weakness you have to find and exploit. The big dinosaur in bikini's (I'm not making this up) is only vulnerable on top of it's head for instance.

The gameplay is not all about fighting. There are plenty of puzzles and platforming challenges to keep things interesting. Just finding your way through the very inventive levels is enough to keep you busy sometimes. The game feels a lot less 2D-ish than Luigi's Mansion, by often hiding things way in the front of an area, so you have to walk towards the camera to find them. Some of the platform elements are among the most original you've ever seen in a game. Wario can jumps on floating balls, he sticks to them on contact and is able to crawl over them to jump off at any side. This works great and looks hilarious. Just imagine an overweight Italian guy crawling over a floating beach ball and you'll get the idea.

Wario World sees the happy return of sublevel platform challenges that made Mario Sunshine teeth-grinding difficult in places. Jump though a hatch and you'll fall into a short sublevel with platform and puzzle challenges. They are never as difficult as the Mario Sunshine sublevels, but they are a nice variation to the gameplay nonetheless.


Controlling Wario is really simple. A makes him jump, B makes him punch or grab an enemy, but also makes him dash dash when held down longer. R also makes him dash and lets him do a ground stomp if pressed during a jump. The C-stick adjusts the camera angle a little bit and with L Wario can suck up coins by screaming at them (don't ask me how hoe does it!). After Wario has grabbed an enemy the fun really starts. Wario can throw him into other bad guys, piledriver him into the ground or even spin him around, hitting others in the process. In the sublevels you can rotate the camera around Wario with the C-stick. This would be great if it would rotate freely, now it just rotates 45 degrees every time you tilt the C-stick. It's not really a problem, it just feels a little constrained.

Wario World is not a game that you will play for a long time. It has four worlds, each containing two levels and a boss level, and a final boss. Some people will want to go back to collect all the treasures and other items, but that won't take too long either. What is nice is that you can unlock sample games from the excellent Wario Ware Inc and download the to your Game Boy Advance, but even that won't make you play Wario World much more. Where Luigi's Mansion had the mirrored and more difficult mansion waiting for you after you'd finished the game, Wario World has nothing. This makes it unlikely for you to pick up Wario World again soon after you've finished it.

Final Say

Wario World is like Lugi's Mansion in a lot of ways. It's graphics are pretty nice but never stunning. It's sound is funny as hell (both the main characters even sing along with the music in places). The gameplay is wildly original in places and a lot of fun during the whole game. The shared problem is the length. You'll have a great time playing Wario World without any doubt, but it'll be over before you want it to be. If you don't want to spend money on short games, try to rent or borrow Wario World, it's really worth playing.

N-Europe Final Verdict

A refreshing and fun game that's great to play while it lasts.

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability4
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan2
Final Score



Great gameplay
Wario's great wrestling moves
Fun sublevel puzzles
Unlockable Wario Ware Inc demos


Short! Too short!

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