When people think of WarioWare games, certainly Wario comes to mind. He’s the one trying to capitalize on microgames in each installment. But, every game also has a cast of characters he is attempting to rip-off by stealing their work. He has these colorful people making his games, with many of them developing their own following after each game releases. Ashley, in particular, has become a minor celebrity, with her appearance as an Assist Trophy and Mii Swordfighter costume. While WarioWare Gold is about savoring
As in any WarioWare game, Wario is out to make money. This time, he has entered the competitive gaming scene. The Wario Bowl has people paying 10,000 coins to get in and participate in this streamed event. All of his “friends” are back, to contribute microgames for the Mash, Twist, Touch, and Ultra Leagues. It’s all very typical, complete with little animated segments before and after each stream of challenges that helps people better understand what each person is like. But this time, it feels like the length of the segments and voice acting both help better establish returning and new members of the cast.
Everyone in WarioWare Gold has their moment. These establish them as people. Mona can come across as a rather oblivious young woman obsessed with Wario, seeing as how she wants a dress for a party that is reminiscent of his style and suggests everyone invite Wario to the dance party being held in the Ultra League Dancing Team’s segment. Kat and Ana are so enthusiastic about being ninjas that they jump right in, even if that means taking (and passing) an unrelated test. Ashley shows her softer side by aiding a demon she summoned by defeating the bully stealing its food. Penny Crygor shows off her desire to be a pop star and her intelligence by making a potion that is essentially auto-tune in a bottle, then has a backup potion to battle its ill effects. Everyone has these shorts that flesh them out, while also being entertaining and goofy.
While that is all well and good, the attention given to Lulu is especially encouraging. She is one of the all new characters in WarioWare Gold, and all we know at first is that she has a major grudge against Wario. We aren’t exactly sure why, until we begin making our way through the various leagues in the story mode. It is there that we see that she is generally a normal little girl, one who is happy to spend time cuddling and napping with a dog or fangirling over Cricket, the martial artist. But the pacing here is rather well done. We don’t even know Lulu’s name until we have established ourselves a bit in the initial leagues. Then, we see her in positions where she is more of an ordinary girl than a young woman out for revenge. It is only when the Ultra League reaches its end and we go to claim our prize for passing that the truth is revealed. The way it is handled and the determination she shows is absolutely delightful.
We also are treated to Wario being… well… Wario. He is completely motivated by greed. We see him neglecting the Alien Bunnies’ pay. He attempts to get out of paying the people participating in the Wario Bowl. He certainly doesn’t want to give the player what they are due. But, even though it is a bit malicious, there’s a sense of idiocy there. He doesn’t realize what Luxeville’s treasure is, after all, which results in some delightful wordplay ahead of the reveal. He comes across as more goofy and buffoonish, which pairs well with characters in the story who are actually smart and possess good intentions, like Ashley and 18-Volt.
I even feel like the amiibo feature helps us better understand Wario. Wario’s amiibo Sketch allows you to scan up to three amiibo each day. When you do, Wario will draw a picture of the character. (This includes even ones of more obscure characters, like K.K. Slider, or newer releases like Pearl and Marina.) That Wario draws himself perfectly, as some sort of Adonis, while putting the minimum amount of effort into others, helps us understand how he sees himself and other people.
WarioWare Gold really makes sure everyone sees everyone in the WarioWare universe. Wario is there, sure, but everyone else gets plenty of screen time. I feel these ancillary characters steal the show, especially when it comes to newcomer Lulu. All of these people get these fun shorts, and sometimes even Challenge Mode stages where they are some of the stars. It is great to see them get such large voices and parts ahead of and after their microgames.
WarioWare Gold is available for the Nintendo 3DS.