"Hey baker lady! Gimme ten pies!"
Wario returns in this touchy-feely upgrade to the original GBA game that took everyone by surprise. To sum it up briefly, the aim of the game is to get through as many five-second games as you can (dubbed 'microgames', because of their lack of length) before you make too many mistakes and the game ends. Every so often, the game will 'SPEED UP!’ increasing the speed of the games (and the sounds, to make you panic). After a certain score, you'll also reach a 'Boss Game', which has no time limit, but is longer and often more difficult than the previous games.
Because this game focuses on the DS, interaction with the stylus is the key. Each character's level has a different style of games, whether it be tapping, dragging, rotating, rubbing, or even blowing into the DS' microphone. Unfortunately, because some methods of play are so similar, it often feels like you're performing the same action over and over.
Another nagging problem is that you can't help but feel that you already HAVE played some of these games before. A similar bowling game has already popped up in Feel the Magic, along with a boat blowing game, while Mario 64 DS has already shown us a "make a trampoline with a line" game (but there are more than these). While I'm sure that the Wario Ware designers didn't copy these games, it's worrying that multiple games are coming up with the same ideas at the start of the DS's life. This isn't it, surely? There has to be more to this system than boat and trampoline simulators, right?
Like Wario Ware GBA, the game's graphics are a potpourri of different styles -- photorealism, squiggly drawings, badly drawn stick people, and classic Nintendo nostalgia, but to name a few. With this wonderful variety, you'll be surprised and delighted with whatever strange graphic artistry the game throws at you. The artistry meeting probably went along the lines of "Right, we don't care if you can draw or not, just give us your drawings and we'll stick them in. Programmers, this means you too." Sadly, a flaw in a couple of the levels makes them look really amateur. There's one level where you need to stretch a dog's body on a green background -- when the dog faces you, a light green square appears around its head. Another level has you rubbing rainbow dust into a bucket -- if you look around the bucket, you can see a large black square that is lighter than the rest of the background.
The game's sound is another stand out area -- aside from all of the wacky cat meows and other assorted farm animal noises, there's also some great music. The two new characters, Ashley and Mike, have their own theme songs. What's amazing about this is that they're both in English. Mike's song plays during his cutscene, but Ashley's song plays all through her stage, where she sings about hexes, being the cruellest girl and most powerful witch ever. She also has a friendly little demon called Red. Not your typical Nintendo fare, but I'm not complaining. We also take another trip to the Nintendo Nostalgia Vault thanks to Nine-Volt, where classic Mario 'coin' sounds, Ice Climber ditties and Game and Watch sound effects are the order of the day.
While a good game, Touched! is definitely the weakest in the series so far -- even Mega Party Game$ was a lot of fun when you played the insanity that was four player multiplayer. It's clear that the game has benefited from its delay (I'd bet that the Japanese songs would have stayed if it was rushed out for launch), but the end result is a fairly short version of the GBA game with not too much replay value. Here's hoping that Wario Ware: Twisted! will be better.