Wario is back, he’s brought his friends, and he’s looking to crash Mario’s party!
The original WarioWare for GBA was touted as one of the few original games of 2003. Now, Wario is back and is dying to make more money by milking the GameCube. Essentially, WarioWare: Mega Party Game$ is a compilation of all of the GBA mini-games with emphasis on new multiplayer options.
Because of its GBA origins, you could be fooled into thinking it was running off the Game Boy Player. The GBA mini-game graphics look poor on the big screen, being oversized and almost blurry. Not all is lost, however. The presentation is slick and features stylized, large sprites of your favourite characters, and everything GC exclusive looks very clean. The GC-only multiplayer mini-games look wonderful, with interesting graphical effects and extremely clean visuals. In addition, most of the music is back or remixed and, thanks to the GC’s superior soundchip, clearer sounding.
The proverbial meat of this game lies in how it implements its prominently advertised multiplayer aspect. In short, it is brilliant. There are a variety of multiplayer “games” that have different objectives and use the GBA mini-games effectively. For a quick play, Jimmy’s Dance Fever has anywhere from two to four players dance on the screen, and when a spotlight hits you, you have to successfully complete a mini-game. If you fail, you’ll lose some of your fans. When one player loses the entirety of his fanbase, he is booted out of the game whilst the survivors battle on, all while the mini-games keep speeding up at an insane rate.
A longer, more Mario Party-ish multiplayer mode is Dribble and Spitz’ Milky Way Galaxy. Players have a tic-tac-toe like board where they try to amass points by destroying asteroids. Mona’s Doctor Doctor actually doesn’t count how many mini-games are completed successfully; instead each player has to do something (such as play the mini-game with their feet) and the other players decide how well they listened to the doctor by applauding. Whoever receives the most applause is determined the winner.
In addition, there are a slew of entirely new multiplayer-only mini-games. In each of these, players have to win in order to advance. Each of these mini-games are so well-designed that it is a shame there isn’t a mode that allows you to play them exclusively. There is a single-player mode as well, but it unfortunately lacks the soul that permeated the GBA titles. All of the cutscenes in between genres have been removed, and players are now greeted with elevator floors to mark their place.
One of the nicest features of WarioWare is how it tracks and personalizes player data. When you start the game you’re asked to input your name and gender. From then on, whenever you play (whether its in single or multi) you choose your name and the game will automatically update your stats. Rather like Super Smash Bros. Melee, your wins and losses are automatically attributed to your nick. Your single-player statistics are also compiled, and your prowess is graded in levels.
If you have friends, the choice is simple: buy WarioWare. The simple “pick up and play” mantra of the game makes it easy for even non-gamers to become addicted. Whether you’re looking for a five-minute blast or an hour-long marathon, WarioWare has a game for you and your friends.
Mario Party has met its match.