Sawaru Made in Wario (Wario Ware Touched!)

Rapid micro games now with DS hardware support.


The Lowdown

Pros: A variety of mini games to choose from played with the stylus and microphone.

Cons: Focuses entirely on the DS new features and lacks making any other microgames.

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The Wario Ware series is one of Nintendo's new franchises for the Game Boy Advance. Quirky humor made Wario and his friends interesting, but it was the microgames that made the title shine. Each microgame last a couple of seconds. By the time you've completed or failed one game you'll be playing a new different game. As you get better the pace of the microgames increases, which makes for some intense play. Sawaru Made in Wario is the first Wario Ware title for the DS. It's once of the Japanese DS launch titles and is a must for followers of the microgame craze.

The first Wario Ware title introduced the concept of microgames. While the second, Mawaru Made in Wario, focused on using the tilt sensor built into the cartridge. It was more gimmicky than the first game, but still fun. Sawaru Made in Wario focuses on the new features in the DS' hardware, mainly the touch screen. The huge majority of the games are touch screen only, with a few minority using the game's microphone feature. None of the games use a classical control scheme, which makes this title a little more repetitive than the first. When you break down the touch screen mini games you can categorize them in four groups. Poking something, drawing something, spinning something or moving the stylus back and forth. Elementary as it sounds the title is fun.

It's those crazy micro games that everyone remembers about the Wario Ware games. Sawaru Made in Wario sticks with this trend and introduces some new games and remakes of old ones. One of the classic old games redone is the one where you pick a nose. Instead of pressing a button at the right time you'll move the finger with the stylus up the nose to make it sneeze. Classic NES cameos have also been modified. Instead of controlling Mario with the D-pad to hit question mark blocks, you'll poke the blocks with the stylus. Rolling a roll of toilet paper until it's all gone is one of the new games. To do this you'll move the stylus up and down rapidly until you're just left with a cardboard tube. Another game has you spinning the stylus in a circle to create a vortex to suck up an entire universe. Blowing bubbles until a cup of water overflows is another game. To play this you'll blow into the DS's microphone to make bubbles appear in the water until water flows out from the top of the cup. One of the other NES throwback games comes from Duck Hunt. In the Wario Ware version you poke grey discs to shoot them.

Who would imagine chopping vegetables in half in midair would be fun? Or it would be a challenge to hit the numbers 1, 2 and 3 in order? Some of the games have these really simple ideas, but end up being really entertaining. Since you're only doing a game for literally a few seconds, it's not long enough for you to really dislike any of the microgames. If you're new to the series you may have to "learn" how the games work. Most of them are intuitive, meaning that you can figure them out just by looking. While others might take a second or two to understand and there is bound to be one that you just don't have a clue how to do. As frustrating as it may be, the game relies on players going through a degree of trial and error.

To keep the learning curve down Nintendo has arranged different styles of microgames for each character. Ninjas Kat and Ana have games where players draw paths on screen. Where Dr. Crysor's microgrames are designed to have players rotate the stylus on the touch screen. The new robot, appropriately named Mike, has games using the microphone. Once you complete a characters game set by beating a boss stage you can go back and select that character again for a new challenge. This time you'll endlessly play microgames until you lose your four lives. In this mode games will get harder and the speed will get faster as you continue to play. Completing characters will unlock more characters, which means more games. You'll even be able to select from three teddy bears that have a mix of microgames from different characters.

Wario Ware games haven't been known for pushing the limits of hardware graphics. So you wouldn't expect Sawaru Made in Wario to have complex graphics. The game's graphics have been greatly improved compared to the GBA titles. This time around you have a coloring book 3D world displayed when you're moving from location to location. Sawaru Made in Wario has many of the same quirky characters from the previous games like Jimmy the disco guy who loves his cell phone and that Nintendo fan boy 9-volt. All of the characters have clever movies, which are well animated. In general the tone of the game is brighter and more colorful than its predecessors.

Sawaru Made in Wario is a blast to play and pretty addictive with all of the different micro games to play. If it does suffer from one thing it's that it is gimmicky with only having stylus based games. On the other hand a mix of stylus only games may not have worked due to the rapid pace the game can get to. This game shows off how the DS can reinvent franchises even with simple ideas like left hand support. Wario Ware Touched! is one of the better DS titles out there in Japan and if you have a DS pick it up.

Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 1

There are some simple Japanese menus to navigate through and a kanji drawing game. All of the actual games are easy to learn no matter what languages you can speak.

US Bound?

Nintendo plans to release this title on February 14, 2005 in America.

Overall

Wario Ware Touched! has enough micro games to satisfy any gamer who owns a DS, even though it's not a major change from the series.