Back when controller gimmicks were all the rage, I picked up a little title called WarioWare; a huge collection of tiny games. And while the series no longer enjoys controller wiggling or stylus use, WarioWare: Get It Together! hasn’t lost its manic energy. New to this title, you’re directly controlling Wario and friends across a massive 222 fast-paced microgames.
Whether by yourself or with a trusty player-2, the game starts with story mode. I say story, but the actual narrative is pretty basic, as expected from this type of game. Essentially Wario owns a game development company, has made a game and it’s buggy. It then somehow sucks Wario and friends inside, where they have to go through stages to find their friends and complete levels to defeat the bugs. It’s simple, but it works. It even comes with some fun little animations whenever you meet new characters.
You play as Wario or one of his 17 friends, who all have different abilities. Depending on the level and who you have unlocked, you’ll be able to choose 3 – 5 of them, who rapidly get thrown into microgames one after another. So Wario might be pulling someone’s armpit hair, Jimmy breaking out of a bottle and Lulu rescuing a cable car – it then cycles back to Wario.
The majority of the games in WarioWare: Get It Together! are all incredibly short. Most are over within a matter of seconds and they’re timed to make sure of it. Make a mistake or run out of time and that’s a life gone. This encourages fast thinking and fast movement – I can’t count the number of times I made a snap judgment to beat the timer and it wasn’t the right one. It certainly keeps players engaged.
As you might’ve guessed from the examples, the tone of the games can be pretty silly. The general flow of them is they give you one or two words of direction. An example could be ‘balance’, where the player assesses the stage, finds some scales with items on, thinks of a way to balance them, and then does it – all within 10 seconds or so. While it’s most difficult the first time, there can be more than one way to solve a stage and it is at least slightly different depending on which character you’re playing as – and you can’t control which of your selected characters you use.
I said the majority are short. One big exception to these are the boss levels. In story mode, after you cycle through a number of levels, a boss is waiting for you at the end. These levels aren’t timed. In exchange, they can consist of multiple stages that can all fall apart with one misstep.
18 Mostly Unique Characters
As the game progresses, you unlock more and more characters. I call them mostly unique, as there are a few that feel very similar. Each one has a different method of control and ability, but while one may boost left and right, another may boost up and down. Still, with so many characters with different abilities, levels often play very differently each time.
I mentioned different ways to solve a game, but it goes beyond that. Sometimes it’s just plain easier or more difficult with some characters. That escape a bottle game? One character needs to jump repeatedly to hit the cork out, while another can just teleport straight out. Another level is a take on the classic shuffled cups magic trick – it’s easy to accidentally hit the wrong one with a character who can’t stop moving. A more standard example is a level where you can either shoot a sword out of a sheath fairly easily or need to move over and push it out.
While at times I felt it was unfair, it all added to the chaotic nature of this game. Overall how the character changing added to the uniqueness of each attempt was one of my favorite things about WarioWare: Get It Together! It kept me thinking each time; how do I solve this puzzle, using the abilities I have at hand? And sometimes fate was just working for or against me, which kept things interesting.
With so many games, there’s no way to reasonably talk about all of them. Generally speaking though, I’d break them down into light platforming, pattern recognition, memorization, and physics puzzles. Quite often there’s more than one of these in each game.
Some examples here are games like changing the direction of pipes to move water, seeing a picture and then finding the matching item, blocking a flying object from hitting someone, or choosing a missing item from a set. None of these would be particularly difficult if it wasn’t for the time limit, but due to that, it can be very challenging at times.
Don’t feel like playing on your own? Adding a Player-2 in story mode just adds to the madness. You play through the same levels, but now you’ve got one more character there to help you out. It’s one more chance for a character with a suitable ability to breeze on through and someone else to solve the problem before time is up. That said, it’s one more person to get in the way and try to do the same thing that player-1 is doing, with no time to communicate a plan. Having a second player hinders you just as much as it helps and it’s great fun.
After completing the story, you unlock a multiplayer mode with different games. These are quite different from the normal minigames, being things like versus volleyball or pumping balloons to see who blows it up. It’s more of a party mode and most of the games allow 1-4 players here. If you’re sticking to two, you don’t even need an extra controller though, as a Joycon each works just fine.
Play and Keep Playing
The fun doesn’t end after you beat the game. It doesn’t advertise it, but you can replay story levels in WarioWare: Get It Together! The second time around though, it goes beyond the normal gameplay loop – that is beat 10 – 20 games and then a boss level. It keeps on going with more and more games and gives you a leaderboard to try and top.
Partway through the story, you even unlock another mode where you can play the same minigame on repeat. If you want to practice a certain one or just enjoy it, it’s a good way to do so as it gives you a few variations of the same game. What makes it even more interesting is that it keeps increasing the speed bit by bit, so it’s another challenge to see how long you can last.
While WarioWare: Get It Together! does occasionally feel unfair, it’s tempered by the random nature of the game and that each round is only seconds long. The brilliance shines through minor letdowns, between the variety of characters and minigame matchups, additional modes, multiplayer integrated into all areas, and a surprising amount of longevity.
WARIOWARE: GET IT TOGETHER! IS RECOMMENDED
Many thanks go to Nintendo for a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.
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A gamer since the days of Amstrad and DOS and someone who has dabbled in a variety of professions. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years. Head Editor of NookGaming. Follow him and the website on @NookSite.