about a month ago i finished the last three warioware games in the series, so it’s time to look back at the entire series and post my ranking. at nine entries the franchise is clearly at a lower tier compared to nintendo’s core series, like the mario, zelda, and metroid series, and looking over the list although the series started out extremely strong (its debut in the spring of 2003 was a jolt of originality and the manic “microgame” formula still holds up today), it’s sort of scraped along for the past few years. several of the more-recent titles could be considered to be offshoots as opposed to evolutions, and you could argue that there hasn’t been a true core warioware title since wii’s smooth moves (released 8 years ago), but in any case i’m still holding out hope that the series will rediscover itself before too much time goes by. in the meantime, it’s nice to be able to celebrate all that it has accomplished.
when i ranked the zelda series earlier this year i included excerpts from nintendo power, but this time around for lack of any better alternative i’ll just include metacritic’s ranking and excerpts from reviews close to the metacritic score (although it turns out that my ranking is pretty similar to metacritic’s). hope that’s not too confusing. oh, and before i get started, i should give a shout out to the best unofficial warioware title (not created by nintendo), which was feel the magic XY & XX by sonic team. i should also give a mention to two actual spin-offs of the game, both based on extras from the first title and released as DSiware: paper airplane chase, which included new time trial and vs. modes, and birds & beans, which has the same two modes as the GBA version but changes the size of the board to 30 squares (vs. 20 squares for the GBA version and 12 for the game & wario version). anyway, without further ado:
|the warioware series|
|as ranked by geozeldadude and metacritic|
|#||geozeldadude‘s list||ranking according to metacritic|
|1||warioware: smooth moves (wii): smooth moves was my first warioware experience, and i was definitely spoiled by it. at the time i was impressed by the series’ hallmarks, namely the lightning-speed pacing and the laugh-out-loud humor (not to mention fun reworkings of nintendo classics), but i also appreciated how well-structured the game was, in terms of taking all the myriad possible ways of using the wii remote and clearly organizing them into categories via “poses”. although some of the pointer-based movements take some trial and error, once you figure them out it’s pretty much non-stop fun. it’s a great intro to the series, and in my opinion has never been bettered since the versatile wii remote allows the game to offer even more variety than the original title, and even twisted. some of the later games felt more like tech demos than actual games, but this one felt like it not just showed off the new (and revolutionary) possibilities of wii, but really reveled in and explored them. a game that i’ve come to appreciate more since i first played it, and one i’m looking forward to revisiting.||warioware, inc.: mega microgame$! (GBA) (critic score: 89, user score: 8.8)
Nintendojo (90): It may be over quick, but it’s got the sort of staying power and pick-up-and-play appeal that’ll keep you coming back whenever you get tired of the latest games. It’s the perfect title for anyone who craves addictive, fast-paced action or just something different from the status quo.
IGN (90): There’s no way you’ll see everything on the first time through. This game is amazingly fun, incredibly funny, and a really intense gaming experience in the later levels.
Eurogamer (90): If variety is the spice of life, then Wario Ware is the digital equivalent of Phall curry, burning the inside of your face with its charm and originality.
|2||warioware: twisted! (GBA): yet another case of a close second, and another case where if i had played this before smooth moves i could easily see myself giving it the edge. the microgames have a level of variety, wackiness, and over-the-top presentation only rivalled by smooth moves, all the more impressive since the hardware (accomplished by the cartridge’s included gyroscope) is more limited than the wii remote. the game, like others in the series, also includes tons of unlockable “souvenirs”, including music tracks, virtual kaleidoscopes, musical instruments, gadgets, and minigames, which definitely adds to the fun and replay value despite the fact most are completely random, throwaway, and useless. but, like the microgames themselves, almost all of them will leave you smiling and the ones included in this entry to the series were particularly strong. twisted was one of those cases where a sequel really took the original’s ideas and improved them in almost every way. a definite classic.||warioware: twisted! (GBA) (critic score: 88, user score: 8.9): the critic score is only one point lower than the original game, and the user score is actually one point higher than the original game. here’s what the critics said:
Electronic Gaming Monthly (90): The technology works perfectly – spinning your GBA around feels utterly alien yet supremely fun. [Apr 2005, p.135]
GameSpot (88): The spin sensor feels less like a gimmick and more like a tightly integrated feature that makes the entire game feel inventive and unique.
Nintendojo (87): A must own title for your Game Boy Advance. It’s the perfect traveling game even though the story mode is over quickly.
|3||warioware, inc.: mega microgame$! (GBA): the game that started it all. although i feel like the formula achieved more with twisted and smooth moves, the original is still completely enjoyable and fun. in some ways it’s even more of an achievement since it relies on simple button presses instead of a “gimmick”. a definite classic, and definitely the obvious choice for the top 3.||warioware: smooth moves (wii) (critic score: 83, user score: 7.3):
NintendoWorldReport (85): Variety is king in WarioWare, and while the game does not contain an absurd amount of pointless unlockables, or a true high-score mode for individual games, it is still a ton of fun.
PALGN (80): An excellent addition to the Wario Ware series and the ideal game to show what the Wii can do. Its lifespan may be a little on the short side but there’s definitely enough enjoyment here for your money.
|4||warioware: D.I.Y. (DS): i don’t really look to video games to be my creative outlets, but i was still impressed by all the tools D.I.Y. provides for making your own microgames, as well as 4-panel comics and songs, and not just that but provides ways to ease players into those modes without intimidating them. the game also included enough microgames, albeit simplified, to make it feel worthwhile even if you completely ignore the design modes.||warioware: D.I.Y. (DS) (critic score: 82, user score: 8.7):
1UP (83): Creativity often thrives under the most severe limitations, and those who relish the opportunity to entertain others (or even just themselves) in videogame form will love WarioWare D.I.Y. It provides a detailed yet streamlined mechanism for creativity, meaning the challenge is in coming up with creative ideas rather than wrestling with the interface.
|5||warioware D.I.Y. showcase (wiiware): past the top 4, the ranking of the remaining games in the series really depends on your preference. D.I.Y. showcase provides a way for you to take your warioware D.I.Y. creations from your DS and view them on your TV via your wii, and overall works quite well. games look pretty good in the transition from DS to TV, and the wiiware title also includes about half as many microgames as the DS game, all of which can also be transferred back to your DS for modifying into new creations. there’s not a whole lot to do and the $8 price tag does feel a bit on the high side, but for fans of the DS title this is be a nice complement, although not essential.||warioware: touched! (DS) (critic score: 81, user score: 8.2):
Edge Magazine (80): It may be formulaic, but that formula is still one of invention, surprise and excellence. [Jan 2005, p.87; JPN Import]
Play Magazine (80): My only criticisms are that the NES-themed games aren’t as creative as before, and the game is a bit easy. [Apr 2005, p.70]
PALGN (80): But my biggest problem with the game is really just the slight lack of craziness that I’ve come to expect from Wario Ware. I rarely laugh out loud at a game, but the original Wario Ware provided me with much humour with its general wackiness.
|6||warioware, inc.: mega party game$! (GCN): the game is definitely more of an expansion to the original than a new game, and recycles all the content while adding new modes, mostly multi-player. there are a couple of new unlockable single-player modes, namely a “master” (i.e. marathon) mode in which you play through all 204 of the microgames (omitting the 9 boss battles) and see how many you can get, and two random minimalistic music videos. the most worthwhile single-player addition is a time attack mode where you try to complete 20, 40, or 60 microgames in the least amount of time (for every one you win the speed goes up and for every one you lose the speed goes down). not being into multi-player much in general the other modes were sort of wasted on me, but i appreciated them despite not getting much of a chance to play around with them.||warioware, inc.: mega party game$! (GCN) (critic score: 76, user score: 8.3):
GameBiz (77): Unless you’ve never played the first Wario Ware or are going to take full advantage of the multiplayer aspects, there isn’t really too much new for you here.
IGN (75): The fact that the vast majority of minigames in this GameCube title heralds from the GBA is a huge disappointment. But even if you haven’t played the GBA game, know that the single-player setup that worked so beautifully on the Game Boy Advance doesn’t translate well to the GameCube.
|7||warioware: touched! (DS): the game was designed to show off the DS’s capabilities, but otherwise didn’t feel as original as entries in the series. the game would have felt more novel when it was released around the time of the DS’s launch, but its core experience doesn’t hold up nearly as well as twisted or smooth moves. a prime example of a “by the numbers” sequel that, thankfully, the series’ developers haven’t had to resort to before or since.||warioware D.I.Y. showcase (wiiware) (critic score: 73, user score: 8.4):
Vandal Online (75): Its real potential resides in its connectivity with the Nintendo DS version. That is the real showcase.
Eurogamer (70): Still, if you fancy a means of enjoying the unhinged insanity of user-created microgames on the big screen, Showcase is a worthy purchase.
|8||warioware: snapped! (DSiware): as an entry in the warioware series the game would be fairly disappointing due to its limitations, chief of which is its short length (about 20 microgames, 5 of which require coordination with a second person) and the lack of any extras: you can easily breeze through the game in less than half an hour. the camera recognition, while enjoyable and novel, was a little iffy with two players, although solo it worked fine for me. despite the always enjoyable wacky warioware exterior, the game as a whole does have a tech demo feel, as many critics have noted. but a large part of the real enjoyment of the game is showing it off to other people, not just for the trademark warioware goofiness, but for the recap at the end of each stage that replays recorded footage of the player. in my case the combination of that enjoyment along with the appeal of warioware makes this an unregretted purchase, despite its limited gameplay and use, but for an introduction to the warioware series in general there are clearly better choices.||game & wario (wii u) (critic score: 61, user score: 6.1):
games(TM) (60): Well below the standards we’ve come to expect from Nintendo’s inventive, silly franchise. [Issue#137, p.123]
ZTGD (60): Game & Wario is disappointing mainly because the heart of the series feels stripped out, and in its place is a collection of mostly uninspired minigames. I really wanted to see Nintendo take advantage of the Gamepad in unique ways, not just have me tilt to steer.
Eurogamer Italy (60) Even though some games are funny, Game & Wario loses most of the appeal of its predecessors proposing just a bunch of “not-so-special” games.
|9||game & wario (wii u): feels like a real step back. almost completely eschewing the series’ formula to date (i.e. an onslaught of microgames to conquer), this game focuses on mini-games, pretty much none of which are that much fun. it’s pretty sad that i found i didn’t even want to play through all the levels, few as there were, and that unlocking each mini-game just resulted in another stab of disappointment instead of excitement. another case where i’m waiting for the next entry in the series and hoping that it gets the series back on track.||warioware: snapped! (DSiware) (critic score: 53, user score: 4.9):
Cheat Code Central (50): It’s a WarioWare game and it works with a camera, so it may pique your interest at first. However, it’s very short, it won’t let you save your goofy pictures or videos, and it’s tough to make it work!
Eurogamer (50) It’s fun for as long as it lasts.