NINTENDO DS REVIEW: WARIO WARE TOUCHED!

I would just love to dish some dirt on Nintendo. Not because I'm vindictive but to prove that the people running the company are human. These guys are good. Too good. I can't seem to catch them tripping up anywhere, recently. I was fully expecting a coup when I learned of the development of WarioWare Touched for the DS. The press released stated that many of the same micro-games from the highly popular GBA game, WarioWare Inc., would be featured. I was ready for war if this game was going to be a GBA clone - only with the novelty of the touch screen to set it apart.

Of course Nintendo outsmarted me once again and released what in my opinion is another instant classic. My day will come Nintendo, and when it does you will rue that day as your digital empire collapses into a heap of pixels - based solely on one scathing review by one crazed reviewer.

WarioWare Touched consists of hundreds of micro-games. These are basically five-second games in which you are given a word or two as your objective and then left to fend for yourself. You'll be jumping, popping, dragging, drawing, hitting, matching, swerving, shooting, driving, dropping, closing, opening, avoiding and just about every other activity that end in "ing," with the exception of a few dirty ones that I won't mention.

In one game you'll have to cross an ice bridge at the exact second an ice block floats into position. Other games will have you reel in a fish, navigate a slalom course, light birthday candles, stuff a tissue into a nose before it sneezes, rub a genie out of a lamp, and avoid Donkey Kong's surprising projectiles. This is just a bunch of silly fun that doesn't really tie together. The story is thin but who cares? The entire game is fun and that's the bottom line. Very popular with the ADD crowd I'm told.

Although these micro-games do repeat, they increase in difficulty as you progress. New games are interspersed with the old ones so you're never sure what you'll get next. Even when you've played through the entire game you'll want to go back and try it again. It's highly addicting. There are enough unlockables, such as the virtual toys, that extend the replay value significantly. One of the toys is an actual playable harmonica. You blow into the microphone and it generates a note. By pressing the different buttons you will generate different note pitches. It's an actual playable musical instrument. It's not only a great idea, but it's a functional one as well.

You will run into a few similar games from the GBA title such as the boxing boss game, but for the most part they've been upgraded specifically for the DS and not just ported or forced to fit. Many of the games have been extended, or elongated to take up both screens. The graphics are a great mix of crude outlines and nicely polished faux 3D effects. The tunes are bubbly and catchy without sounding overly sweet. It perfectly matches the fast-paced insanity of the gameplay.

Overall the touch screen is a novelty. Less than half the games presented here would probably work better with the real controls, since the touch screen is actually simulating a button-based control system in the first place. You could get through the main game in a day but you'll find plenty to keep you interested for weeks. If you have a DS, you will want to play WarioWare Touched.

Preview By Vaughn

One of the smash hits in the Nintendo first party line up this past year undoubtedly goes to the Wario Ware Inc. franchise. Appearing first on the GBA in 2003, the game was retooled and repackaged into a 4 player party game on the Cube and is now coming to the DS with all new mini games and controls!

Thanks in part to the innovative DS stylus, Wario Ware Inc. will take a bit of getting used to, even for diehard fans of the previous two games. In one game you might have to use the stylus to draw a net around some fish, in another you might have to actually draw a picture and in another you might have to rub very quickly to reveal a picture underneath. Of course fast thinking and reflexes will still play a big part in this puzzle fan favorite.

Even gamers who don't usually gravitate towards puzzle games were captivated by Wario Ware's incredibly easy to pick up game play and the DS version will most likely be status quo. You have to give Nintendo it's due. Only they could manage to package a collection of badly designed mini-games, complete with graphics that would make a Tandy PC from 1980 flush with pride and jampacked with gameplay that a dog could get the hang of and have gamers paying big $$$ for the priviledge to play them. Say what you want about Sony and Microsoft, but it's doubtful they could get away with it as easily as the Big N.

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System: DS
Dev: Nintendo
Pub: Nintendo
Release: Feb 2005
Players: 1
Review By Cole
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.5
GRAPHICS
4.0
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
4.0
VALUE
3.5