READY TO RUMBLE WITH WARIO?
You'd BETTER be ready, punk! Some evil jewel transformed all of my treasure into monsters, and now I gotta go to this weird world and beat it out of 'em! There are plenty of goons waiting for a shot at old Wario, but don't worry about me, babyóI'm ready to brawl! I'll be throwing punches, charging through crowds, and piledriving ugly mugs right and left. What you gotta worry about is keeping me alive. Can you handle that, or do I have to give you a knuckle sandwich too?
Review will be up soon. It's getting a 2/5.
Game: Wario World
Release Date: June 23, 2003
Directors: Kouichi Kimura and Hitoshi Yamagami / Treasure
Solve all your problems with your fists!
Boisterous - Wario has got the moves. Our mischievous and greedy anti-hero must plow through 8 stages collecting treasure and fighting bosses in his first 3D adventure. Unlike his past games this is primarily a brawler mixed with several simple puzzle and platforming sublevels. Everything is present in great character control, but thatís where the prowess ends. His moves are fun to use, but of no real satisfaction against our feeble opposition and finally, the platforming and ďpuzzlesĒ are too shallow to get any real satisfaction from.
Wario controls great. He is different from Mario when it comes to a lot of things. He can jump and turn his body around to any direction in midair. (i.e. he can jump off a platform, turn around in midair, and grab its ledge unlike Mario.) He cannot shimmy on ledges, but can jump freely out of a ledge grab. He can dash and dash-cancel by punching for evasive purposes. He cannot triple jump for added height. His means of travelling far and fast are with a move called the corkscrew conk (a spin attack dash jump). This move launches Wario in a spinning arch in one direction -- controller input resumes after Wario touches ground. Now to talk about combat.
Wario has several moves to put the hurt on his antagonists: shoulder bash, punch, punch (x2) + headbutt, jump punch, corkscrew conk, buttstomp. Whatever you choose your enemy will always end up getting stunned. Then all of these options of attack are rendered completely ineffective on the dazed enemy. Advanced moves (throw, wild swingding, and piledrive) are required to finish enemies off. With the exception of small ďbabyĒ enemies, enemies cannot be flat-out killed unless you employ one of the advanced moves. This makes the combat of stage enemies become monotonous. This feeling of monotony certainly isnít helped by enemies undergoing only a visual aesthetic change on new stages.
Enemies have been dumbed down to only having 1 attack: an invincible bumrush or a powerful hit. The attacks come out after much delay. The enemy AI is extremely confusing with its inconsistency on attacking you. Some enemies romp around without much ado when in your presence unless directly engaged. Some will come up to you and go into a standstill. Some will even go as far as to move you around by pushing against you as they continue walking. I call this unpleasant phenomenon ďfirst stage fatigueĒ where the AI is severely disabled early on that they act like training dummies for you while you figure out the controls and such. So stage 1 has throwaway AI outside the boss fights. Why bother with them as most enemies respawn anyway. So right away there is an empty feeling, the feeling that you are playing an early learning game that holds everyoneís hand. And this feeling never fully goes away.
Later on in the game you do realize that enemies function as nuisances when in the middle of doing something rather than as real combatants. So youíll get hit while Wario is in the process of hoisting a dazed enemy above his head to k.o. multiple enemies which worked well before that. You wonít get hit when safely attacking by corkscrew conk jumping around. Most time you donít notice yourself lose health when hit. Most of the time you are going to get hit by a one-off projectile. Ironically the most aggressive enemies are the ones found in the underworld who donít hurt Wario, but spill his coins.
Before the monotony settles in there were two factors along with the seemingly wide breadth of moves that were seductive. The first is that when you hit an enemy a visual effect of a large circle burst is produced and second is the boingy/punchy/beefy sfx oomph when punching something. Punching anything (walls, enemies, etc.) gives off a big sound effect. (Sound is great on shitty games for some reason.) One recurring new and cool platforming device that also demonstrates all this is the glue globe. These are yellow levitating balls that Wario snaps onto that give off an extremely satisfying sfx (sounds like a crisp potato chip crunched on) while simultaneously emitting colorful sparkles on contact.
So there is a big impact feedback/response in the game. This makes this little thing that struck me as flawed in combat especially bewildering: When attacking an upright enemy wielding a club there is an interruption in attack feedback when the club is knocked out -- their hitbox is a momentarily disabled with no visual indication as they lower to all fours. During this Warioís punches come off exactly as if air was being struck. This isnít the only off putting thing regarding fighting.
Youíll be forced to battle occasionally. A few timed one minute battles with no real point (you can fight or just as well jump on top of a column and wait till time runs out). What is the point of ring enclosed battles that only yield coins? The only thing that can be purchased -- outside of an unlikely continue from game over -- is health for a certain amount of coins that never exceed 100. No purchasing new moves or powerups. Maybe savoring all the coins with nothing to spend them on symbolizes the real greed of Wario but it is more apt to say it feels like a millionaire only being able to spend his money at the dollar store.
There are also enclosed battles in the middle of a stage that do force you to defeat an enemy that blocks your progression. These are the minibosses. Unlike bosses these foes take 3 projectile attacks to stun or kill. This changes up the simple hit->stun repeat till dead pattern. Avoiding getting hit is fairly easy since it is hard to pin down such a highly mobile character like Wario. The only miniboss with a truly devious attack is on the snow stage who launches sliding ice chunks in a STG bullet pattern formation. Wish the game had more of that type of projectile barrage in it to dodge instead of the homing/guided energy particle shots. One issue that can come up during these fights is the camera.
If you go inward on the screen a large enemy can obfuscate Wario. Another result of moving inward is that the camera cuts off view of the enemy who was at the bottom of the screen. The camera on certain minibosses should move back so that the boss on the right side isnít in view when you move far to the left. Camera should lock-in place.
After collecting the required amount of stage gems you can drop down into the bossís lair. Bosses remind me of Donkey Kong 64 bosses: they are like large demented toys that are sometimes in a darkly lit stage. They are toppled just like normal enemies: stun, then throw or pile drive. Little things that struck me as flawed: pile driving an object into bosses not doing damage; nothing happening when throwing the Shivering Mountain boss into an eruption when said eruption knocks this floating boss down; and the fact that lightly throwing the World 1 boss into a pool of lava does nothing but chucking him in does damage. World bosses are consistent on providing good entertainment value and challenge. The stage bosses are not, with the last world having the lamest and easiest bosses. The last world boss had 6 attacks and a great stage where the developer had you catapulting back and forth between two ships -- dodge large explosions, throw barrels, perform skyhigh piledrives! The final boss is a big disappointment to encounter after all that with its boring flat stage and 3 attacks. Now itís time to discuss the non-combat parts of the game.
The most straightforward bareboned hub Iíve seen in a platformer. A center circle with 4 branching paths -- only one world is open at the start. Once in a world you scroll to the right or left. The camera control only lets you shift the camera a smidge forward or back -- very lacking and only utilized on 1 stage in particular. They are mainly flat stages that lead to closed off forced battles with minimal platforming thrown in. With the exception of wild swingding mechanic being used in a lame non-combat way to jump like one centimeter higher to grab onto a platform, all the stages could be breezed through rather quickly, if not for the aforementioned forced fights. Stages feel clogged. Too much items to collect devalues creating a stage designed around giving rewards since they are literally everywhere: treasure, gold, spritelings, trapdoors.
Going in and out of the sublevels makes the stage feel larger than it is. Having to reemerge at various points in the stage breaks up the formulated continuity of knowing whence you came and causes temporary states of unfamiliarity. Under these trapdoors sublevels of either puzzles or platforming are accessed.
On the platform stages: Here the stage is no longer a flat tracking with minimal platform bits thrown in. Like Super Monkey Ball levels these sublevels take place suspended high up in the air. Unfortunately, stages are too miniscule to provide a real sense of accomplishment. And donít think anything of screwing up a jump. Youíll be brought back to the start of the sublevel without any loss of health or coin. There are no bottomless pits of death to be found in this game. To be denied this death is to remove life from a platformer. Whereas in Super Mario Sunshine, you had a timer that left you no time to fool around and 8 red coins strategically placed throughout, this game only offers you an endpoint to reach with one or two rewards placed there. And with such small length the fleeting feeling of a well-designed room leaves one desiring not only more, but to not continue as the soul-crushing reminder of the world outside of it sinks in. A wish to no longer return.
On the puzzle stages: The puzzles arenít even mildly challenging till the last stage. They are all confined to a small box-shaped room. High majority will take less than 1 minute to complete.
Very much a kidís game. Aside from boss fights there is little to see here. A failed execution of a fun moveset. Sorry Wario, Iíll be sticking with Mario.
That's the best review ever made for this game. Anyhow, I have uploaded videos of stuff in the game on my youtube page. Check em out. I will be posting post-game review commentary later.
The best level in the game:
Showing off enemy AI discrepancy in Wario World. Enemies are all from the same level.
Miscellaneous cool stuff:
Showing off cool stuff in Wario World. First is showing off how corkscrew conk jumping down a mountain looks like Sonic spinning. Second part is showing off Wario's aerial mobility and glue globes. Third part is showing off aerial punching and ledge grabbing. Last two parts are of nice looking ice boulder explosions and an awesome boss attack.
edit: Will be posting more commentary on the videos tomorrow.
Last edited by vert1 (Sep 01, 2012)
POST-GAME REVIEW COMMENTARY
1)You can exit out of a stage at any time (yes, even when fighting a boss). This should be removed and have an object that allows you to exit the stage in the beginning.
2) Discovery: Corkscew conk is cancellable if you press back on the control stick before going into spinning motion. I originally posted the discovery here and have not seen it mentioned anywhere else.
EDIT: Actually you cannot cancel a corkscrew conk. The cancel is only for the dash. The dash cancel was not mentioned in the manual or game and I haven't seen any mention of it online.
3) I didnít mention the music in my review but I will mention it now. The sublevel platform stages have a really pleasant bgm. The first bgm that plays when you touch a golden glyph on stage 1 is also quite nice sit back and let loop. Too bad it can only be heard once. The boss music isnít anything special though the circus boss bgm sounds reminiscent of Gunstar Heroes music. IGN and co already mentioned the really wacky pause menu bgm (ďnaa-na-na-naaa-naĒ). Asides from the two tracks I mentioned in the beginning it would be a pathetic soundtrack.
4) Two little things that struck me as flawed in hyper-suction: not being able to suck up unscattered coins and canít suck in butterflies in the courtyard .
5) Some enemies have a diving move that does not damage player and slightly bops Wario up as they slide underneath you. Unlike in Viewtiful Joe where diving enemies latch on and hold the player down from escaping enemy attacks (often fatal; i.e., gunfire), this does not have any noticeable disadvantage / effect on the player.
6) Cool top down/overhead camera angle unique to platformers (at least Nintendo ones). This allows you to directly see (you look down) what is underneath you when making big descents.
IMPROVING WARIO WORLD
1) Make enemies damageable and killable with regular moves when stunned. For example, make stunned enemy launchable with shoulder bash attack against other enemies.
2) Add timed events for completing platforming sublevel or have player retrack to beginning of stage with minimal stage change thrown in.
3) Make underworld creatures and the lair water rob hearts. Perhaps have them as a boss battle where they can be destroyed.
4) Make enemies aggressive and give them more moves. Give them explosives to lob. Give them grab attacks. Have them do more damage.
5) Make bosses have a health gauge. The higher you piledrive the more damage you do. This could give the piledrive meter a purpose or keep it superfluous. (Piledriving is great to watch especially as power meter builds and the air becomes fiery the longer you spend descending, but is not used for anything required/useful.) It also would be great to see a meter bar deplete on a boss from punches rather then one hit when stunned deals a heart damage.
6) Remove treasure items on stage.
7) Improve the main stage design by having it solely dedicated to platforming and only introduce a group of enemies or a mini boss that have to be killed to progress midway in the level and at the end of it.
7) Bigger and more complex sublevel stages.
8) Coins should buy things other than health (i.e. powerups)
9) Health should cost a lot more to buy.
10) Make chucking things faster.
11) Add a boss rush.
12) Give the ability to accurately toss enemies from a wild swingding.
13) Add suits
Last edited by vert1 (Oct 28, 2012)