Its been a rough start to 2013 for the Nintendo Wii U. After the two dozen or so games to come out around its launch in late 2012 the library has dried up. In fact after that initial launch window I personally have only turned on my Wii U to play virtual console titles and haven’t played a new game for the platform since January of this year.
That all changed when I took on the review of Game and Wario, the first Wario title for the Wii U. Game and Wario will be familiar to anyone who played any of the past WarioWare games. Its a mini game collection that has you doing all sorts of different things. However for Game and Wario its main mission feels like it was to try and prove a use case for the Wii U gamepad, an idea that many games have struggled with so far in the consoles short life time.
Instead of going through every mini game, I will try to take you through the highlights. There are twelve single player games, and only one of them really drove home the use case for the gamepad. That game was aptly titled “Gamer”, where you are a kid playing a Gameboy in bed trying to avoid having your mom catch you. Of course for many of you out there including myself this is a trip down memory lane. On the Wii U gamepad you’re playing a bunch of small classic minigames but having to keep an eye out for your mom to appear where you have to hit the two triggers to hide the gamepad. Its a really neat experience and by far the most fun I had with Game and Wario. If you could buy this game as a standalone experience for a couple bucks I would highly recommend it.
There is one other game out of the twelve that does a great job using the gamepad and that is “Taxi.” In short, you’re on a top down map on the TV screen and your driving a taxi on the gamepad. A host of UFO’s come and its your job to take them down by going into a first person shooting mode on the gamepad. Its a pretty neat game and although I didn’t love moving my head back and forth from screen to screen it was a ton of fun. It was one of the games that I came back to after the initial completion.
The rest of the experience drops dramatically in both quality and enjoyment. One that is worth mentioning is “Shutter” where you use the gamepad as a camera to try and spot the bad guys onscreen. Its something we saw early on the tech demos for the Wii U and plays as such. Its just not overly interesting and after the initial play through, the novelty wears off. And that becomes the theme for the rest of the single player lot unfortunately. They are all capable and are fine to play through once but past that I never had a desire to to play more of them.
Game and Wario offers four multiplayer mini games to go through and the one worth bothering with is “Artwork” (which is literally Pictionary) as it makes great use of the gamepad and works exceptionally well. Both “Artwork” and “Gamer” were games that I could potentially see myself coming back to and enjoying. Sadly the rest of the package deal left me wishing for more.
At the end of the day, Game and Wario is a compilation of a few good and a lot of mediocre experiences. You can see a ton of potential in a great Wario game for the Wii U but Game and Wario is not that game.