Tuesday, May 17, 2005
By now we're all too familiar with the Wario Ware series. The unruly collection of five-second micro games strung together in different levels sounded stupid on paper a couple years ago, but in execution, was one of the coolest concepts that ever graced the world of video games. The DS's Touched! rendition was a great twist, but was too short. But the best "twist" was just waiting to explode on the GBA.
Wario Ware Twisted! breaks the still-awesome micro game mold and takes the series in an amazing direction. The actual cartridge includes gyroscopic sensors that bulge out from the device. After a quick calibration, the game senses left to right twisting movements with utmost precision. This is no gimmick, as the title proves from beginning to end. Every challenge has you balancing plates, disarming ninjas, finding lost things in the dark with a spotlight, dodging some kind of projectile or other movement-oriented function by moving the entire GBA. Sometimes, you have to rub back and forth by twisting the GBA left and right fast and repeatedly.
There is only one collection in story mode that solely uses the A button. This is to set you up for later levels that use both the gyroscopic technology and the A button in conjunction. In one challenge, you have to repeat what dancers do. Lean left, clap, clap, lean right, clap, clap. Lean by leaning. Clap by pressing the A button.
In Wario Ware tradition there are boss battles in which your task is as random as the micro games themselves. Of course, half the joy in a Wario Ware game is figuring out what to do. The cooler thing is, in Twisted, even when you know what to do, some of the challenges are legitimately harder than the breeze-through type micro games we've become accustomed to. Once you've cleared a boss, you'll be rewarded with an unlockable game, song or other souvenir you may access through the main menu. The songs can only be played on the record player and you must constantly twist the GBA to play it. The best of the unlockables are the simple mini games that exist only to get high scores. I've wasted hours on the downhill ski long jump. It's entirely too addicting.
Everyone will look like a dork when playing Twisted. It's inevitable. Remember when you were a kid playing Super Mario Bros. on the original Nintendo and you moved the actual controller to the right, thinking you could jump farther? Yeah, it's that kind of dorkiness. But guess what? You can actually play the first level of SMB on Twisted, and this time moving your controller actually helps. I can't tell you how incredibly nostalgic this made me feel.
The graphics are simple, stupid, gross or totally random. This is the charm we have come to love from the series. While it can score merit on said charm, none of it is technically impressive. The sound is also cheesy, but inspires the same heartwarming smile you get from a Wario Ware title. There are more interactive menus in Twisted, and the overall presentation is seamlessly integrated in with the technology. But for the love of God, can I please skip the cinematics?
Wario Ware Twisted is an absolute blast to play. Sure, the main game is short, but the unlockables and sheer addictive quality will make Twisted last longer than any other Wario Ware title to date.
First Play: A
Last Play: A
Overall: 95% A