What do you mean, you don’t know Wario?
He started out in the shadow of Bowser as an evil nemesis of the world-renowned Mario. Since a couple of years, he has also been starring in games for the Nintendo GameBoy. Treasure, one of the best Japanese developers around, brings you the first GameCube appearance of this anti-hero in yellow and purple spandex in this enjoyable but a bit too short GC title.
Mario’s one and only true love, Peach, has the annoying habit of getting kidnapped every now and then. The slightly more evil Wario on the other hand doesn’t need to worry about silly loved ones, as the greedy ‘Treasure Hunter’ never stole somebody’s heart. However, he DID spend a great deal of his life stealing other people’s property on the other hand and here is where this story starts. He’ll soon regret stealing everything that shines, as a strange evil black jewel starts to transform the entire content of his treasure rooms into a horde of monsters. This event sends the chubby thief on a search for his living and breathing treasure.
The gameplay is set up as an adventure and takes you on a search through four worlds, each of them divided into two levels with a level boss. At the end, we’re treated on a real ‘World Boss’. The levels are pretty large, but the relatively low number of levels makes Wario World a rather short game.
The game is set up as a semi-3D platformer. It looks like a 3D platformer but is a sidescroller with a locked camera view. The main objective in each level, apart from beating up every monster, is collecting a certain number of jewels. You earn those jewels by solving fairly easy puzzles. Each level also offers two extra objectives: collecting extra treasures and golden Wario Statues. Finding these valuables unlocks a number of extra levels from the recently released WarioWare game to download to your GameBoy Advance. A pretty sweet feature if you ask me.
As all console owners know, the controls can brake or make a platform game. You’ll be glad to hear that Treasure has done a wonderful job on this one. You can make Wario perform his trademark Ground Pound and Dash Attack fairly easy. And even cooler is that you can let him pick up monsters, swing them around and throw them away. Or you can pick one up and let the ground shake with a pile driver. Actually you’ll need both of these moves to reach certain spots. When Wario misses a jump, he’ll try to hang on to anything in his neighbourhood. Combined with the slick control scheme this makes controlling Wario intuitive and fun.
Graphically Wario World isn’t groundbreaking, but it doesn’t look bad at all. The game runs at a very solid and high frame rate whilst the graphics are of a high quality. In true Nintendo style the game features very colourful and distinctive levels. The 3D models could contain a bit more polygons but the game’s beautiful particle system more than makes up for this.
The wacky and sometimes strange background music is highly enjoyable. The effects are of a good and sound quality. Wario shouts and puffs with every move he makes and occasionally sprouts a one-liner. This is funny at first, but starts to annoy after a couple of levels due to the lack in variation.
This fairly easy and short game is clearly built for the younger or less experienced gamer. Hardcore gamers could probably experience Wario World to the fullest by renting the game first and then consider buying it. Or what the heck, buy it for your girlfriend so she gets introduced into the Mushroom kingdom as well :). All in all, the slick controls and pure Nintendo fun makes this game an enjoyable but unfortunately not too memorable experience.