You can’t win them all, and in the case of Game and Wario, Nintendo left us unimpressed.
Somewhat similar in spirit to Nintendo Land, Game and Wario’s modus operandi is to pack a number of (purportedly) highly appealing mini-games into a single package in an effort to produce some cheap thrills and showcase the Wii U’s capabilities in the process. The difference, however, is that these games aren’t very fun.
Well, that isn’t the only difference. It’s also worth noting that Game and Wario intentionally provides experiences that can be had with just a single Wii U controller—no Wii remotes necessary or anything else at all. So while the games aren’t anything special, the entire point is that you don’t need much to experience them with a group of friends or family.
The "Camera" mini-game
Here’s what was shown today:
The point of this game is to visually locate five criminals with distinctive facial attributes (shape, color, hair style, etc.) hiding in various buildings, on the streets, in boats, and other places. Once you’ve found a criminal, the Wii U GamePad is raised and pointed at them like a camera, and a photo is taken with it. The idea is to zoom in to the correct magnification and hopefully snap a picture while the suspect is looking directly at the camera. Your photos are immediately graded based on their quality, and you’re granted additional points for speed. When everything’s said and done, your results are tallied and you can use the score to compete with others.
This game is certainly fun, but it’s a serious stretch to imagine it lasting very long.
This game works very much like the Takamaru’s Ninja Castle mini-game in Nintendo Land, but it’s harder to manage and not really as much fun. In it, you aim using the Wii U controller and pull back/release your finger on the screen to shoot arrows at approaching attackers. Attackers soon begin showing up in groups, and you’ll have to leverage land mines and pepper shakers to clear them out more efficiently (you can collect pepper shakers by shooting them and deploy them as needed, while land mines can be fired at to blow them up for some area clearance). The end of the demo is capped by a boss battle were you have to fire at the bolts adorning the body of a large robot. After they’ve been destroyed, simply shoot his teeth to knock him out.
Oh, and should any bad guys make it to you, you can fend them off using the Wii U touch screen by tapping them from overhead. This part is pretty simple, which renders the risk of death pretty minimal.
I didn’t enjoy this game all that much. It wasn’t as much fun to control as the Ninja Castle mini-game, and the hordes of enemies were annoying. Aiming at land mines proved difficult also as the groups quickly passed them up. It’s tough to maintain accuracy while pointing with the Wii U controller, but perhaps that’s the point. Either way, it isn’t much more than a quick distraction.
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This was the shortest and least substantial of all of the Wario mini-games. All it involves is a brief trip down a slope in an effort to finish quickly and score a few extra points over jumps. It’s nothing more complicated than turning the Wii U GamePad to turn your skier, shake it to jump, and successfully hit boost pads for added speed. That’s really it.
This game was a standout amongst the rest of these duds. Players are given the task of closely watching the action on screen in a city (not unlike the city in the Camera mini-game) in search of the single human-controlled citizen on screen. The key to finding the human amongst the dozens of other computer-controlled NPCs is to watch for unnatural, erratic movement. Think Spy Party or Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.
However, some other complicating factors exist also. In order to end the sequence, the player controlling the sole character must collect a number of apples scattered on the city grounds (one of them will be left over at the end). Essentially this provides an opportunity for the viewers to watch closely for the player to cross over to and collect the fruits, but with careful use of the city’s various obstructions (such as smoke, buses, crowds, and logistical tricks like warp manholes and screen-wrapping city streets), the player can conceal the collection of the fruit.
When everything’s finished, the player passes the Wii U GamePad to the viewers and they try to pick out the correct person from a lineup based on appearance. If any one of the viewers correctly guesses, the controlling player loses.
This is a challenging game that requires a lot of concentration, coordination, and strategy. It’s a ton of fun for both the player and the viewers. I always thought Spy Party looked like an interesting idea, and in many ways, this game is that concept realized in a lightweight Nintendo-centric form. With proper variations and depth of content, this mini-game could prove a valuable inclusion.
This was by far the best game of the four shown.
Supposedly we’ll be seeing ten games in all in Game and Wario, though it doesn’t appear that a final number has been officially announced. Look for more on this lightweight party experience in the coming months.