|System: Wii U|
|Dev: Nintendo SPD Intelligent Systems|
|Release: June 23, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Josh Engen
Before the Nintendo Entertainment System hit the market in 1983, Nintendo was getting their feet wet in the video game industry with a line of handhelds. The units served two purposes: They housed a primitive LCD-based video game, and they had a built-in clock. So, eschewing all creativity, Nintendo chose to give them the most obvious name possible: Game & Watch.
But over three decades have passed since the first Game & Watch system hit shelves, and those tiny, monochromatic systems have been usurped by far more functional pieces of technology. But Nintendo loves to remind everyone of its own historical importance, so when Game & Wario was announced last year, I giggled a little.
But the name is surprisingly fitting. Just like the handhelds, Game & Wario is a collection of mini-games that are supposed to introduce you to the latest video game technology. This time, however, the tech in question is a struggling tablet-based console.
As you play through the single-player game, Nintendo's desperation to connect the Wii U with the company's iconic history is apparent. But it's all done tongue-in-cheek, so it somehow feels less desperate than it probably should.
At its core, Game & Wario is a modern take on the WarioWare franchise. The campaign is a collection of 12 mini-games that are unlocked as you polish off the stages. Part of me thinks that explaining the overarching storyline is a complete waste of time, considering how irrelevant it is to the game's success, but here's a general overview: Wario thinks that he can get rich by creating a game for the latest tablet-based console to hit the market. Obviously, the in-game console is an homage to the Wii U. So Wario's dreams of finding financial stability in Wii U development are a little far-fetched.
But, just like the WarioWare series, storylines aren't important. The campaign took less than an hour to complete, but I couldn't help but spend several hours obsessively trying to beat my previous scores. The mini-games have a surprising amount of depth, but I definitely wouldn't call them difficult.
I should mention, just for clarity's sake, that this is not a WarioWare title. Nintendo sees a distinction between mini-games, like the ones found in Game & Wario, and microgames, like the ones found in WarioWare. Microgames are incredibly simple outings that should be completed within a few seconds. Mini-games, like the ones found in Game & Wario (or Mario Party, Nintendo Land, etc.) are slightly more complicated, but nowhere near the length of an actual game.
The game's throwback motif is readily apparent throughout the entire title. Every mini-game has its own title screen, which has been created in a style similar to the original Mega Man box art. And remember how so many Atari 2600 games, with titles like Basketball and Sky Diver, were simply abbreviated explanations for what you would be doing in the game? Game & Wario uses the same naming philosophy. Actually, the last game, which is simply called Bird, has been styled in the same LCD motif that the original Game & Watch titles use. Plus, it's also probably the most addicting game in the entire lot.