Game & Wario is touted as a ‘spiritual successor’ to Nintendo’s popular spin-off series WarioWare that features Wario (the evil antagonistic version of Mario) and a host of mini-games styled and visually inspired by the bizarre weirdness in games that debuted with the Game Boy Camera software.

 photo game-wario-01_zps696b9646.jpgWith Game & Wario Nintendo has sought to capitalise on bringing back the original gameplay style seen in the WarioWare series, and updated it to utilise the unique controls of the WiiU Game Pad.

The is the same as always: Wario has a new money making scheme, this time in the form of a game console that is very similar to the Nintendo Wii U. He decides to monetise this by creating unique games for the console; and these are the mini-games that you play throughout the game.

Game & Wario features a single player and ‘multiplayer’ mode, with most of this game’s action taking place in the former, allowing you to play up to 12 mini-games, each with roughly 3 unlockable stages.

 photo game-wario-vertical_zps79c3fbb7.jpgEvery mini-game is styled to use the Game Pad controller and often sees you turning the controller on its side vertically to complete the challenges in each mini-game –not often done in Wii U games.

Most of the games are incredibly short and very simple to complete. They stand alone as being unique little experiences, but they are so short and there is not much difference between their stages other than an incremental increase in difficulty.

The most standout games are ‘9-Volt’ and ’18-Volt’ that hark back to the style of the original WarioWare games. ‘9-Volts’ is a little bit more complex with the player having to divide their attention between the GamePad, and the TV screen where they'll have to avoid 9-Volts' mother. If you get caught it's game over.

Another fantastic mini-game is ‘Pirates’ that sees Wario shout commands from his pirate ship to fire arrows at the player in time to music. The player then has to follow commands and hold the GamePad up at the TV screen to block the incoming arrows – the catch is that you can only ‘hear’ Wario's commands, and find out where the arrows will be, if the GamePad is aimed down. The game is slightly marred by the camera often resetting when you point it in a certain direction, so if you were pointing to your left and the camera resets to the centre, you will be stuck facing left as your centre position.

The lowest point in Game & Wario is definitely the “Design” mini-game that challenges the player to draw lines, circles, triangles and angles, with the game grading you on how straight the lines are or accurate they are within the challenge (e.g. Is it a close-to or perfectly drawn 5cm line.). This was the start of Game & Wario’s problems

 photo game-wario-02_zps1eb7d177.jpgAs I played through the game, it never really rekindled that feeling of fast-paced frantic mini-games of the original WarioWare, that was somewhat revisited in the 9-Volt / 18-Volt challenges, but never really fully realised. Throughout, the mini-games are self-contained experiences that have nothing really to do with the WarioWare series, at least not spiritually - maybe in visual design, but definitely not gameplay wise. On its own merits it's very hit or miss whether the mini-games are entertaining experiences, however most players will find that they will complete the mini-game challenges relatively quickly and be left with nothing to do after. The only postgame challenge is that if you get high enough scores in each mini game, you can earn coins that unlock ‘collectables’ that can be viewed in a Collectable Gallery.

The Collectable Gallery hosts many random items that do capture the old surreal vibe seen in WarioWare. They are just short little random moments of fun, most with only one function and over in seconds, however they captured the true spirit of the series more than the mini-games in the single player mode.

As for multiplayer, I use the term loosely as the game sees you share the GamePad taking turns in 4 of its multiplayer games:

The ‘Disco’ game is a rhythm game where a player must make up an assortment of note patterns in time to the games music – The opposite player must hit the correct notes in the same order or they will lose the game. It's simplistic and a little unresponsive, as if you have an HD TV without a game mode there are some latency issues with the music being in time with the tempo on the GamePad screen.

The ‘Fruit’ game allows multiple players to take turns playing a thief that must blend into a crowd stealing fruit with the aid of the GamePad. Opposite players are playing ‘Agents’ that must watch the TV and spot the player who is playing the thief by the way they are moving and stealing fruit.

‘Islands’ can be played with multiple people, yet again passing around the GamePad taking turns firing little creatures known as ‘Fronks’ onto an island shaped like one giant dart board. The aim is to knock off the other players Fronks, so it’s kind of like a catapult version of darts mixed with the sport, bowls.

Finally, ‘Sketch’ is essentially Pictionary – one player has the GamePad and has to draw the word they see and the other player guesses. If they get it right, the controller of the Wii U Game Pad simply selects ‘Correct’.

The game doesn’t have any sort of ‘online’ multiplayer - it's more centred around a ‘party-style’ multiplayer similar to what you would find in a board game. For the most part, these games are fun, however they suffer from the same problem seen in the single player mode – they are all far too short and there's not much variety.

 photo game-wario-03_zps599cf35d.jpgIn summary, Game & Wario suffers from being far too lightweight in its content for it to live up to other WarioWare games. While the original WarioWare game on the Game Boy Advance was relatively simplistic it felt much more satisfying as there were far more stages of difficulty and a greater variety of mini-games, albeit based on a singular style.

The strongest point of Game & Wario is hands down its overall production value and its sound design plays host to some fantastic music and effects. The game will make you smile and laugh at points, and I loved that before you played a mini-game, the game would introduce you to the game with a splash screen with stylised artwork that had nothing to do with how the characters REALLY look like in game, often giving that creepy weird surreal feeling felt in older WarioWare titles.

As it stands, the game is not worth the RRP, specifically with the low amount of content. However I do feel Nintendo were onto something with this title as it feels like if the game had just been fleshed out more it could have been THE killer-app Nintendo was looking for to demonstrate why people should buy a Wii U. Unfortunately, it wasn't.

If you're not expecting an amazing amount of content, have a couple of friends over to play against and if you can somehow grab the game cheaper than for what it’s retailing now, then you will be in for some great laughs.