Review: WarioWare: Twisted! (Game Boy Advance)

Genre: Anthology
Platform: GBA
Rating: E (Everyone)
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 05/24/2005

The WarioWare titles are some of the most difficult-to-classify games out there. While each game in the series has featured nearly 200 minigames (that only last a few seconds!), the minigames themselves span just about every genre out there. Fortunately, Nintendo has kept things from getting boring by giving each WarioWare game its own “gimmick.” The first GBA game (WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$) started everything, so the gimmick was the game itself. The Gamecube version (WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Game$) brought in multiplayer. The DS edition (WarioWare: Touched!) used the touchscreen for everything. And now, the series returns to its GBA roots with WarioWare: Twisted!, which features a new gyroscopic sensor.


STORY

Wario’s out to get rich, as usual. However, he accidentally breaks his GBA one day, and hands it over to his friend Dr. Crygor to fix it. The Doc uses his latest invention, the Gravitator, to repair the system, but now there’s no more buttons. Instead, Wario needs to twist the GBA around to play it…and this naturally gives rise to another moneymaking scheme by the Big W. The more spin-themed games he and his friends make, the more cash he’ll rake in! As you progress through the game, each character has their own little substory as well, usually focusing on some inane task they need to accomplish. Alright, so the story is complete cheese, but at least Twisted actually has a story. That’s a rarity in a puzzle/anthology/whatever the hell genre this game would be. It’s nothing mindblowing, but it provides a decent framework for the game.

(Rating: 6/10)


GRAPHICS

As with its predecessors, Twisted‘s graphics run the gamut from pre-8-bit to photorealistic to crude hand drawings to exact recreations of classic NES games. This certainly brings a ton of variety to the table, but makes it very difficult for a reviewer to accurately score it!

Nevertheless, the graphics in Twisted deserve praise, due to the fluidity alone. Since Twisted is primarily based on rotational motion, the GBA’s powerful sprite rotation ability is used constantly here, and it looks fantastic. The “cutscenes” before and after each characters substories are rendered in a cartoony style that fits the overall randomness of the game to a tee.

(Rating: 8/10)


SOUND

The sound library hasn’t changed much in each successive WarioWare game. The MIDI-ish guitar sounds and numerous vocal samples are still here, complete with Wario yelling out all manner of amusing noises. As far as the minigames are concerned, some have no music at all, others have generic background ambience, and some have classic NES tunes (namely, the retro minigame collection of 9-Volt, the best character in the game). Altogether, the sound is a mishmash of fondly remembered music, original themes, and weird effects. Nothing groundbreaking, but nothing horrible, either.

(Rating: 7/10)


CONTROL

Twisted is loads and loads of minigames, just like its predecessors. And by “minigames,” I’m really pushing the “mini” part here; the games only last a few seconds! You’ll have some simple objective to accomplish (like dunking a basketball, or filling a hole), but you need to figure that out and complete it within an extremely short timespan. Most games are relatively easy to figure out, but other can be a bit frustrating. While the other WarioWare games relied primarily on the game consoles’ built-in controls (buttons, touchscreens, etc), Twisted adds something else to the mix by putting the control system within the cartridge itself.

Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble had a motion sensor. Boktai had a solar sensor. Twisted ups the ante with a gyroscopic sensor. There’s also a built-in rumble pack (which rumbles very lightly; it’s really only there to let you know how much you’re twisting the GBA), and as a result, the Twisted cartridge is considerably larger than a standard GBA cart.

The twisting mechanic is used to control nearly every minigame in Twisted, and believe it or not, it works amazingly well. The gyro sensor picks up any rotational motion; it can easily tell if you twist the GBA from left to right. Gravity has no effect, so you don’t have to hold the GBA parallel to the floor or anything. (The gyro sensor automatically calibrates itself when you start up the game, as well as in between minigames, so make you hold the GBA still at those times.) The gyro sensor’s very sensitive, but that’s a good thing, as many minigames require precise control. With some games, you’ll be using the “A” button, often in addition to rotating the GBA. It’s a quirky dynamic that takes some getting used to, but works so well in tandem with the random nature of the minigames that it’s a perfect match.

(Rating: 10/10)


REPLAYABILITY

There’s a ton of unlockable content in Twisted. Thankfully, you’ve got the Spindex, which records every game you’ve already played. By going through the story multiple times, you can also unlock even more minigames for each character. The minigames are given to you at random, so there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a new minigame every time you play; you’ll just have to keep trying! With over 200 minigames in the cart, there’s a lot of reason to come back. Even after you’ve unlocked them all, the Spindex has a “score challenge” mode of sorts; each game will have a set score you need to beat, and once you do, that game’s icon will be marked with a small crown. So not only can you unlock 200+ games, you’ve still got more to do after finding them all! Finally, there’s souvenirs. You get these as you play more and more minigames; these are just random little trinkets (some are even minigames themeselves), but collecting them all will take plenty of time and effort. There’s over 130 of those, so get cracking!

(Rating: 8/10)


BALANCE

The only time Twisted can seem to be a bit difficult is the first time you play through it the first time; this is simply because minigames are thrown at you randomly, and you have a matter of seconds in which to complete them. The objective isn’t always clear, but once you do figure it out, it’s a cinch. Twisted is not a difficult game, by any stretch of the imagination. Most gamers will be able to “complete” it in a matter of hours. Unlocking every single minigame and souvenir, however, will take considerably longer. And even though the story minigames aren’t tough, when you play them over and over again in the Spindex, they get faster and faster, and even throw a few curveballs your way (adding extra enemies in some minigames, altering the layout, etc). As a result of the speed and minor alterations, the difficulty just keeps ramping up, but it’s just like an old arcade game: you keep playing under you lose.

(Rating: 8/10)


ORIGINALITY

Sure, the WarioWare concept has been done before. But it’s never used a gyro sensor. Nor has any other title, for that matter. There’s been other sensor-equipped handheld games, but none like this. Previous WarioWare games have raised the bar for innovation, and Twisted is no different. Wario’s doing even better than his goody-goody other half, Mario!

(Rating: 10/10)


ADDICTIVENESS

Twisted‘s a game you can play for hours and hours, and never get tired of it at all. The game has something for everyone in it, as as a result, you’ll often be struck with “just one more round” syndrome. As such, hours of your life will be burned away on Twisted. Even someone who’s never played a WarioWare game before will play through it over and over again. The fact that there’s a lot of hidden content certainly helps, but even without it, Twisted‘s pick-up-and-play design makes it a highly addictive title.

(Rating: 8/10)


APPEAL

WarioWare fans will go apeshit over this title, as it’s easily the best in the series thus far. Nintendo’s doing a good job of promoting the game, too, as the GBA seems to have been in a bit of a slump lately. Ironically, the thing that’ll drawn in newcomers and/or casual gamers is the size of the box. Twisted‘s box is twice the size of a regular GBA game’s box, due to the oddly-shaped cartridge. But hey, if it’s an effective marketing tool (albeit an unintentional one), who are we to argue?

(Rating: 7/10)


MISCELLANEOUS

For some odd reason, we got Twisted much later than expected. Twisted actually came out before the DS game WarioWare: Touched! in Japan, and while that normally wouldn’t make a big difference, a few characters from Touched have their first appearances in Twisted. Just a minor nit in an overall great game. The only “big” problem with Twisted is that it is completely incompatible with the Game Boy Player on the Gamecube, for very obvious reasons. You’ll need a real GBA, SP, or DS to play this title.

(Rating: 7/10)


Final Scores:

Story: 6/10
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Control: 10/10
Replayability: 8/10
Balance: 8/10
Originality: 10/10
Addictiveness: 8/10
Appeal: 7/10
Miscellaneous: 7/10

Overall Score: 79/100
FINAL SCORE: 8.0 (GREAT!)