Wario Land: Shake It! Review
Wario Land: Shake It! box art
System: Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: Good Feel 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Nintendo 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Sept. 22, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

If you are like me, you've been waiting for another traditional platformer starring everyone's favorite Nintendo antihero for quite a few years now. After numerous excellent Wario games helped defined the platforming experience on a variety of Nintendo's portable systems, it was certainly odd to not see a timely sequel to Wario Land 4. Instead, fans received numerous Wario Ware titles, an underwhelming attempt at a 3D platformer in Wario World, and the clunky travesty that was Wario: Master of Disguise.

Wario Land: Shake It! screenshot

Sure, Wario Ware was groundbreaking when it was initially released, but several iterations later most Wario fans are still waiting for the more substantial and traditional gameplay experience that was present in Wario's previous games. Luckily, this is exactly what Shake It! offers, a new Wario game that you won't just dust off at parties, but one that actually provides significant value as a single-player affair.

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Mario's antithesis attempts to merge motion controls with old school platforming goodness in his first 2D platforming appearance on the Wii. Unfortunately, this marriage only meets with moderate success. Playing Shake It! with the Wii-mote turned on its side, mirroring an NES pad, feels incredibly natural, but the shaking mechanic ends up being a tad awkward. Frequently raising and lowering the controller rapidly to shake coins and items out of enemies or to perform ground pounds does little to add to this game's overall enjoyment. Instead, the frequent shaking does nothing more than make your arms sore and add a tedious and time-consuming step between Wario and his various objectives. Pounding the ground can result in solving puzzles that were solvable in previous titles using just a simple shoulder dash or butt-stomping. The same goes for collecting coins. Wario has always attained coins from vanquished foes and broken blocks but now will only be able to do so from incessantly shaking enemies and sacks of money.

Wario Land: Shake It! screenshot

Thankfully, not all of the included uses of motion controls fare as poorly. Tilting your controller also plays a large role in this title. Everything from aiming a Wario-launching cannon to hurling enemies at specific targets incorporates this control scheme rather well. The only time these controls feel a little out of place is during the game's underwater subwarine levels; yes, you heard me right. Piloting your jagged mustache-adorned yellow and purple subwarine is often painful, having players tilting their controllers to direct their vessel and the D-pad to propel it forward and backward. Since these levels aren't particularly long or challenging, the required controls don't manage to spoil what are otherwise good distractions from the classic platforming levels.

Besides the few subwarine levels, Shake It!'s levels are exactly what Wario Land fans have been waiting for. Players will make their way through this game's twenty plus well-designed levels, possibly finding hidden treasures and completing missions along the way. Every level contains three locked chests waiting to be found that include random treasures, such as the full body goggles and week old curry. The odd sense of humor involved in these treasures, and with the game in general, is absolutely reminiscent of previous games in the franchise. Levels also contain between three and five missions that will give players more objectives to complete in addition to just finishing each level. These missions can range from defeating a hidden golden enemy to not falling into water during a level. While there are some rather abstract missions in the game, many wind up just requiring the player to collect a certain number of coins, not take any damage from foes, and finishing the level within a certain amount of time.

Wario Land: Shake It! screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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