There is an art to rereleasing media. Some companies choose to modernize the entire package, losing a bit of the retro charm of the original. Some present games just as they were, losing anyone who isn't wearing rose-tinted glasses. Either way, someone is going to be left out. Thankfully, the interactive nature of games gives a unique third option that may just be the best of both worlds. Most releases are dividable into content chunks, whether that's through levels, modes, or difficulty settings. A developer revisiting a franchise can mash up what already exists in new ways, taking advantage of newer design philosophy while also preserving what fans hold dear. It's in this spirit that Nintendo presents WarioWare Gold, a remix of three past iterations that holds its own as a new experience.
For those unfamiliar with Nintendo's most out of the box franchise, WarioWare takes a look at Wario's ventures into game publishing. He has a host of friends helping him make microgames, which are unbelievably random seconds-long experiences. Everything from toiletries to obscure Nintendo hardware is fair game, and half the fun is figuring out exactly what you're doing in context. Each level strings a multitude of these microgames together and tests your timing and instincts to see how long you can keep playing. Taking games from the first three installments in the franchise, WarioWare Gold slowly builds towards a final challenge where you'll be twisting and touching your handheld with reckless abandon.
Despite the repeated content, WarioWare Gold is no cash grab. The majority of the returning games have received a new coat of paint, which is mostly an improvement. In some cases, it polishes away the charm, leading to moments where I wasn't sure what was a rehash. Speaking of, the game also sprinkles in new microgames, and nothing added feels out of place. It's hard to dwell on the fact that this is a remaster when you see the Switch or Tomodachi Life pop up. Best of all, WarioWare Gold has a multitude of fully voiced cutscenes. The story isn't Shakespeare by any means, but hearing Wario rant wildly about money is always quite amusing.
Of course, Wario isn't the only character presenting fun in five-second chunks. The entire crew from past WarioWare games return here, which brings a lot to your initial hours. Each character's games are organized via themes and control types. For example, 9-Volt still offers retro Nintendo experiences, but all his games here are touch-based. If you want to play button-based Nintendo stuff, you'll have to hit up 5-Volt instead. Each playlist has enough games that you'll only discover a fraction of them in your initial playthrough.
While the story is fun, it lasts only a few hours. Unless you really take your time, it'd be hard to stretch it out over more than two sessions. Each level takes you to a single boss fight, and only the simplest forms of microgames are present. Thankfully, the set story missions are just the tip of the iceberg. The real meat of any WarioWare game is in its score chase challenges. You can stretch your reflexes in endless modes from any of the various developers, or mix all the games together into an impressively varied lineup.
It is in the endgame where WarioWare Gold really shines. There are two dozen challenges in a range of difficulties, and the fun comes from racking up a high score. Each microgame is playable individually, and practice is key to surviving longer than a few minutes. The speed ramps up at such a pace that I feel better at gaming in general once I'm in the zone with WarioWare. I'm no eSports champion, but it feels like the perfect game to play as a warmup for pulling out some serious macros.
If you're not going to use the game as a training session for your thumbs, you'll probably be more into WarioWare Gold's extensive extras. You get coins for doing pretty much everything, and those feed into a slow drip of unlockable toys. These can range from extended versions of microgames to a gallery of past Nintendo hardware to themed alarm clocks. The latter is the most interesting, as you need to play several microgames in order to turn off the buzz. Unlocking everything can take some commitment, but it's a nice bonus for those dedicated few.
While some have bemoaned the fact that WarioWare Gold appears on 3DS instead of Switch, I feel like that's perfect. Wario wouldn't have an interest in new technology, dev kits are far too expensive. The fact that WarioWare is ringing out the last bits of novelty from an old handheld just fits. Everything in WarioWare always feels a little off, a little slapped together. That's the feeling I get whenever Nintendo announces a new 3DS game at this point, so good on them for the proper theming. Even though it's weird, there's a lot to love about WarioWare Gold as long as you're willing to stomach it.
Our WarioWare Gold review was conducted on Nintendo 3DS with a code provided by Nintendo.
WarioWare Gold brings together the best from three earlier entries in the franchise and combines it with just the right amount of new Wario weirdness.
- Voiced Cutscenes
- Classic Gameplay
- Tons of Extra
- Polished Graphics
- Short Campaign Length