Report Card: WarioWare: Get It Together!

It’s no secret Nintendo loves building games and consoles around gimmicks. Motion controls, 3D displays, you name it, they’ve built a game or six around it. Sometimes those gimmicks don’t work out, but sometimes they do, like we’ve seen time and again with the WarioWare series. Across its many entries, WarioWare has taken whatever Nintendo’s current obsession was and ran with it. Touch controls, microphones, gyroscopes, motion controls, and more have been implemented in wonderfully weird ways to make a smorgasbord of microgames. WarioWare: Get It Together! has taken a different approach than its predecessors: opting to focus on more traditional gameplay with an emphasis on co-op in lieu of bizarre methods of control. Can WarioWare thrive on absurd microgame concepts alone?

Wario has, alongside his many…associates (are they his friends? Wario doesn’t strike me as the type to have friends), developed a new handheld in hopes of taking his game company to new heights. Unfortunately, his less-than-stellar programming has caused some bugs capable of pulling his entire company into a digital world. That’s really the only semblance of story WarioWare: Get It Together! has. There is no narrative through-line inside of Wario’s new handheld, instead each level (designed by a different character) is just a self-contained mini-story that doesn’t really go anywhere.

Get it? Smash? I’m sorry.

Fortunately, I don’t think anyone buys WarioWare games for the story. What brings people to WarioWare is the promise of playing some totally absurd fast-paced microgames, and Get It Together! has them in spades. Players will be tasked with tweezing armpit hair, squeezing toothpaste tubes, dodging bird poop, and more across the title’s 222 microgames. In traditional WarioWare fashion, each microgame gives a very brief objective before leaving the player to figure out how to achieve that objective over the next few seconds. After a few games are cleared, things speed up (sometimes more than once) until a longer “Boss Game” begins. It can be a little jarring the first few times you play, but before too long you’ll be a pro at figuring out what WarioWare wants from you.

One of the best ways WarioWare communicates with players is through its visuals. There are a multitude of different visual styles represented across the microgames, and each is appealing and functional at the same time. Important objects or targets are large, prominently displayed, and stick out just enough to draw your eye almost immediately. Over the course of a round of WarioWare, the visuals of each game blend together into a beautiful cacophony of different styles that reflects the nature of the game perfectly. The “hub” screens in-between games are also a delight to watch, reflecting the personality of the character they represent.

But WarioWare: Get It Together! is less about the microgames themselves than it is about how you play them. WarioWare features a large cast of playable characters, and each and every one of them can be used to play any of the microgames. In most modes, players will be asked to build a team of three to five different characters that rotate in and out as the microgame gauntlet progresses. Every character handles differently, meaning you’ll have to change your approach depending on which character the game has decided to stick you with. The trick is that some characters will have a much easier or much more difficult time depending on the microgame. This can lead to situations that border on unfair, due to how fast WarioWare moves once you’re a dozen or so games deep into a run. The four “lives” Get It Together! gives players goes some way to mitigate this, but by design you’re going to lose eventually.

Mama mia, that’s a lot-a characters!

WarioWare: Get It Together!’s main objective is to marry the fast-paced microgame action the franchise is known for with a variety of different playable characters, each with a different play style. I would go so far as to say Get It Together! largely succeeds on this premise, but when things don’t mesh the fallout can be catastrophic. The biggest offenders, in my opinion, are the characters that either move automatically or only move in large increments after taking specific actions. Games that require precision targeting or movement are extremely difficult with these characters, especially at the higher speeds, and it feels awful to wait for the character to move themselves back into position after a miss. On the flip side, some characters have a tendency to completely trivialize several microgames, though I must admit those situations are a lot more satisfying to experience.

WarioWare’s fast-paced gameplay is a lot of fun, but eventually you’re going to find yourself at the end of the story, watching the credits roll. After that, you have a few options for “post-game” content. You can replay story levels to unlock any microgames you missed the first time around or achieve new high scores. Some new minigames are unlocked, and offer expanded multiplayer. If you’re feeling competitive, the Wario Cup features a weekly online challenge. You can also spend your Wario Coins on presents to give to your favorite characters to unlock some cosmetic options. Regardless of what you choose to do, it’s probably going to start to feel repetitive sooner than later.

Interpret this how you want.

One way to keep WarioWare: Get It Together! feeling fresh is to play the game in co-op mode. In co-op mode, players work together to complete the same levels and microgames as single players. That may not sound particularly interesting, but in practice it really adds some complexity to the game. The two of you will very rarely be using the same character at any given time, meaning you’ll need to decide on the fly how best to work together. Character combinations have a tendency to feel fairly chaotic, but it’s a fun kind of chaos more often than not. Playing with another person really adds a new layer to WarioWare, and it’s pretty much the only way I’m going to play the game going forward.

When they announced a new WarioWare title, I was very excited. I enjoyed my time with Get It Together!, but that time was much shorter than I expected. Within a weekend I felt like I had seen all there was to see, and I didn’t feel a particularly strong pull to keep going. I’m not finished playing WarioWare by any stretch, but it’s definitely going to be something I play cooperatively with my wife or son on occasion rather than something I choose to play solo. I just don’t think the novelty of having different playable characters is enough to keep Get It Together! on the same level as its predecessors. If you have someone to play with, WarioWare: Get It Together! is definitely worth a look, but if you’re planning on playing alone it’s harder for me to recommend.

 

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