The latest collection of quick and quirky mini-games built around Mario's arch-rival, WarioWare: Get it Together! offers a rapid gaming hit that doesn't require too much head-space.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Some games offer immersive, emotional experiences - others are easy to learn but difficult to master. Both types require a serious investment of time in order for the player to get the most out of them. And then there are games like WarioWare.
The latest in a series that is fast approaching its 20th year, WarioWare: Get It Together! follows a very similar format to its eight predecessors.
Users are tasked with completing a random assortment of weird, chaotic, but relatively simple tasks - like pushing a dog’s tongue so it can drink some water, or plucking the hairs from a statue’s armpit.
All of this is pulled together through a loose narrative - Wario’s game is full of bugs and he needs to go inside to clear them out - but that has little to no bearing on the actual gameplay.
The challenge comes from the short timeframe in which each job must be done - generally just seconds. And it’s complicated by the fact that the character you control rotates before each mini-game, meaning there are slightly different controls and abilities to adjust to after every beat.
There are safety-nets built in to make this manageable, though. That includes multiple lives and a generous 'credit’ system that lets you buy your way back to where you left off, even if you do hit the dreaded ‘Game Over’ screen.
This rapid-fire format makes it perfect for quick hits of gameplay, with sets of mini-games broken up into different levels or zones. However there are diminishing returns on the amount of enjoyment on offer the longer each session lasts.
That’s in part because many of the mini-games are just a different spin on the same mechanic. As you progress, many of the same games are also repeated.
The difficulty does ramp up slightly the more you progress - largely through the timeframe for completion narrowing, and the number of ‘lives’ available reducing. But more often than not, the biggest difficulty is always in trying to figure out what exactly you need to do quickly - after which each task is generally easy to complete.
That’s not to say that WarioWare is a bad game - far from it. The game is tricky, quirky and good fun - and there is a lot to be said for a title that doesn’t require you to give over all your spare time in order to complete it.
There are also a number of options available for multiple players - including the ability for two to play the main game, or for up to four people to go back and try out the various mini-games and levels on their own.
Once the main story mode is completed, users are also given access to the Wario Cup, which offers weekly challenges and the chance to pit your score against other players around the world (though it’s far short of an online multiplayer option).
All of that means the game has plenty of replay value beyond its main story - even if it’s just to scratch a 10 minute gaming itch every once in a while.