WarioWare has always been one of the weirdest, most endearing corners of Nintendo’s wide breadth of IP. Its memorable and funny characters work well in tandem with the unique microgames in order to create minigame collections with a little more versatility than most in other games in its genre. That being said, we actually haven’t seen a more traditional entry in the series since WarioWare D.I.Y in 2009, though Nintendo has finally changed that with WarioWare Gold for Nintendo 3DS, and it is quite the welcome return.
While many players will be able to go through everything the game has to offer fairly quickly, WarioWare Gold offers that purely distilled Nintendo quirk which is hard to find anywhere else. Slick presentation, the series’ best collection of microgames, and funny side content work in tandem to create a consistently entertaining game, even if you’ll burn through it after just a few hours.
WarioWare Gold begins with the titular character stealing an ancient “relic” from a town. Afterwards, Wario realizes that he doesn’t have any money, but sees the success of a recently released game on TV. He then decides that’s where the money is and starts his own tournament with the help of his “friends” in order to make quick cash, and things quickly unravel from there as players progress through each of the microgame leagues as Lulu, a new character from the town that Wario stole from.
The plot takes several funny jabs at things like game development and streaming, and each characters’ individual storylines are more self-aware and risqué than usual for Nintendo. Every cutscene is also completely voice-acted and accentuated by crisp animation and voice acting, resulting in one of the slickest titles presentation-wise on 3DS. WarioWare‘s eccentric cast have always been one of the best parts of the series, and this game frames their leagues with funny situations that highlight the best parts of their character.
Once you get into the game’s story mode, you will have to overcome three leagues: Mash, Twist, and Touch. Mash microgames focus on more traditional controls, while Twist relies on the 3DS’ gyroscope; Touch obviously uses the touch screen. All of the microgrames, as usual, are short but sweet. They are easy to understand and fun to execute in the short time allotted, giving WarioWare Gold one of the strongest microgame lineups in the series.
I usually hate gyroscopes’ implementation into 3DS games, but that style of microgame quickly became my favorite due to how creative they got. Nintendo has also gotten meta in not just the plots but the microgames themselves, which not only reference classics like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Super Mario World, but obscure and odd titles like Color TV Racing 112 and Mario Clash for the Virtual Boy. Series fans should enjoy the consistently entertaining lineup of microgames, while the more referential ones should get other Nintendo fans on board.
While the main story and leagues are presented nicely and are super fun to play, you can progress through it quite quickly. My first playthrough of the story, which even saw me failing some leagues, took me just three hours. Of course, WarioWare Gold has interesting side content as well, but I was disappointed by the brevity of the story mode. What we got was so great, but some may struggle to justify a $40 purchase for such a short and easy game. WarioWare games have never been the longest in the world, but I blew through this way faster than expected, even when playing casually.
Players will likely be revisiting the game’s story mode though as it is the best place to garner coins, which can be used to unlock extras in the game’s capsule machine. You can also gain lots of coins by completing small achievement-based missions or playing WarioWare Gold‘s Challenge mode. This mode sees the return of some old favorites and some interesting new modes, and all of them are very enjoyable. The standard gauntlets of microgames that get progressively more difficult are present, as are fan favorite modes like “Gamer” from Game & Wario (now called “Sneaky Gamer”), as is “Wario Deluxe” as “Wario Interrupts.”
There are also a few new interesting challenges like “Wario Watch,” where players must complete as many microgames as possible as a timer ticks down, with time added for each successful microgame. “Cruise Control” is another new interesting one where players can adjust the speed of the games by tilting the 3DS up or down; like I said before, I’m not usually a fan of gyro controls like this, but WarioWare Gold actually managed to implement them in an entertaining and non-intrusive way.
“Split Screen” has players completing microgames that are alternating between the top and bottom screens, while “Battle Time” lets players with copies of the game face off against each other in a microgame gauntlet. Unfortunately, this mode does not feature Online or even Download Play, which hurts its chances of being played by many. This is also an odd oversight at this point in the 3DS’ lifespan, as most 3DS multiplayer titles at least allow Download Play.
As I mentioned before, these modes and special missions give you coins, which can be spent on the game’s extras, which are put int the Toy Room. These extras include everything from full on minigames like “Pyoro,” to a library of classic Nintendo products. My favorite extra though would have to be the ability to re-dub cutscenes, which can garner some utterly hilarious results. Going for all of the things in the Toy Room will likely double or triple the game’s playtime for many, though it is entirely optional and relies on repeating content.
While the game could benefit from having a bit more meat on its bones, WarioWare Gold manages to be one of the most consistently enjoyable and funny 3DS games in recent memory. The game’s hilarious cutscenes impress and add some interesting new characters to the WarioWare universe, the microgame collection is the best the series has featured yet, and some of the unlockable side content is hilarious. If you are fine with WarioWare Gold‘s short length, there is no reason not to pick this quirky title up as the 3DS reaches the end of its lengthy lifespan.