|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Suzak||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 5, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
Oh, Wario! Mario's garlic-grubbing, grumpy, and greedy antithesis is gaining popularity in today's Nintendo's fan base. I'll have to admit that every time I play Mario Party or Mario Kart, I choose Wario as my ally. He will even make his debut in Super Smash Bros. in just a few months! Is this a sign of rebelliousness against Mario's prevailing dominance? Why do we love this plump, stinky character so much?
Perhaps there's no answer to this, but his games create both high demand and expectation, so you are probably hoping that this game will be awesome at the very least. If that's the case, you will be disappointed, but it's not that bad and it's innovative!
Wario: Master of Disguise could be called a platforming adventure with a twist. You will use the stylus as much as you use the buttons or more, which can get frustrating, unless you are already a master of the stylus. Wario needs a new plan on how to make money. He's willing to work hard (in his own way) to reach that long-time-awaited financial freedom. While watching TV (is that all he does?) he discovers this new show where Count Cannoli turns into the fearsome thief The Silver Zephyr and steals valuable objects wherever he goes. He wouldn't be who he is without the help of his lively magic wand, Goodstyle. Wario jumps right into the show and yanks it from Count Cannoli so he can become the new master thief of the show: The Purple Wind. Goodstyle, always so serviceable, promises to help Wario find lots of treasures as long as he keeps feeding him the small coins and gems they find along the way, a small price to pay when all Wario wants is the powerful Wishstone and any other object he finds inside the treasure chests! However, the Wishstone was once broken into pieces and scattered around the world. Wario will have to go on a journey to find those pieces and put the Wishstone back together so he can have his wish granted: he wants to be rich, filthy rich!
Goodstyle has the ability to transform Wario into different characters and help him master his new skills. There are eight disguises he can use but they won't all be available from the beginning, he'll have to find each one in a hidden treasure chest. Wario will become Thief, Cosmic, Arty, Genius, Sparky, Captain, Dragon, and Wicked Wario. Each disguise has its own powers: jumping higher, shooting with a laser gun, flying, melting ice, floating in the water, etc. If you use them the right way, they'll prove their worthiness. Needless to say, Count Cannoli is not happy at all with his loss, and he'll try to teach Wario a lesson. He will appear when you least expect him and he will use the most advanced technologies to try and recover his wand so he can go out himself and find the Wishstone. Wario might be kind of dumb sometimes, but he's very greedy and he won't let Cannoli win this one.
It sounds like an interesting story and amusing gameplay, right? Unfortunately, there a few things that make this game less enjoyable and one of them is the controls. You'll move Wario with the d-pad and he'll jump when you press Y or up. He'll crouch when you press down. What else? The rest is all done with the stylus! If you want to change Wario's suit, you'll need to draw the corresponding symbol. If you want to use that disguise's specific ability, you'll have to use the stylus. How about defending yourself from an enemy? You better doodle quickly! Of course, there are a few drawbacks to this; I would have preferred to use the shoulder buttons to change into different disguises or perform attacks. If you don't draw the symbols correctly, he won't change into the suit you want, which makes you waste your time and re-draw the symbol desperately. When Wario is dressed as Arty Wario he can draw a square and it will become a block, but if you draw it incorrectly or try to change into a different suit (Wario can't walk when he's Arty Wario), your squiggle will turn literally into a two-legged poop, which is really funny but it will destroy the block you had just drawn. You'll have to draw the block all over again and then change into the suit you want carefully so you don't release another "walking-poop." Funny, isn't it? I could continue on with the game's control flaws but you get the idea: the stylus slows down the gameplay and turns into a frustrating experience.
Every time you find a treasure chest you'll unlock a valuable object, a new disguise, or a disguise level up (there are three levels for each disguise). In order to obtain the treasure, you'll have to play a minigame. There are only eight minigames and they'll repeat throughout the game. Yes, they have different levels of difficulty, but this is not enough to make a coloring mini-game or "connect the dots" fun. There is also a slide puzzle and another minigame that has appeared in all Nintendo handheld games lately; it's starting to drive me crazy: your character is at the top and it has to reach the goal at the bottom of the screen by following one of five vertical pathways. Horizontal lines will lead Wario from one vertical path to the other, and you'll have to draw lines horizontally so Wario will follow the new course and reach the goal. Not only is this game repetitive, but it also works poorly. Sometimes it won't let you draw the line and it will make a frustrating buzzing sound instead.
So, where's the fun? The story is somewhat entertaining and the platforming elements are inventive, fun, and challenging. By alternating Wario's different abilities you'll unlock doorways, activate switches, and uncover hidden platforms or passages. I found myself lost a few times, which happens a lot in Wario Land games, with their intricate and puzzling environments. Sometimes backtracking can get wearisome but, if you pay attention and find the hidden paths, you should be able to beat this game in about ten hours. In fact, there are only ten episodes, so this is not a very long adventure. I like the idea of using different suits with different powers, although it has already been used in previous Wario games. The disguises are different, though, and so are some of their powers. This is the good part.