Mother of All Wii Game Reviews: Part One

by redshift

We at Halffull don’t take the easy route. It would be too simple to write ordinary reviews. Let’s up the ante.

How about fourteen Wii game reviews?!

1. Super Mario Galaxy: 5/5

This is an easy place to start because the game is delightful. It’s a true spiritual successor to Super Mario 64 and is every bit as fun to play.

The addictive elements are there – quick gameplay, content that’s always fresh, beautiful graphics, and intuitive controls. You can play for 10 minutes and feel a sense of accomplishment by getting a star, or you can play for hours and complete whole worlds.

The controls are intuitive, even in a vast 3d setting, and the levels are forgiving if you misstep. Motion controls are used just enough not to be cumbersome. You point at the screen with the remote to shoot projectiles, and shake the remote to spin Mario like a top, which is now one of the main gameplay mechanics.

The game design is classic Miyamoto. You never repeat the same puzzle twice. Each level feels like a new adventure. Visually, you can see the trend towards a younger audience that started way back with the Yoshi games on SNES , but it’s almost endearing. Plus, if you really don’t like the children’s stories, they’re entirely optional. You still get a great game. Highly recommended if you’ve ever liked a Mario title.

2. Warioware: Smooth Moves: 4/5

Reviews of Warioware have been polarized. Metacritic shows generally favorable reviews, but scores range from 56 to 100 and user reviews average 6.5. I assume this is because of the nature of the game – a sort of extreme version of the minigame trend we see with many Wii games.

Personally, I like minigames, whether standalone or baked into full games. They give you an opportunity to try different things at a rapid pace. Warioware takes this to the extreme with just about the shortest games imaginable – 3 to 5 seconds on average. It gives you just enough time to get a sense of what’s going on, then you immediately have to solve the puzzle by moving the remote in whatever seems like the correct way. There are so many microgames that they built a full game on 3-5 second experiences. Sure, it won’t last you as long as Super Mario Galaxy, but it’s the type of game you can return to many times because you definitely won’t remember all of the challenges.

The games are based on a set of controller styles, such as “The Elephant,” which involves you holding the remote straight out from your nose like a trunk, or “The Waiter,” where you balance the remote flat on the palm of your hand. You have to change styles very quickly between microgames , particularly near the end of the game where you’re only given a second or two to change posture. This keeps the energy high and keeps the strange looks coming.

The game was challenging enough to stay interesting for the 3-4 hours it took to beat. (This does not include any time going back and replaying the games.) For the most part, the controls worked as expected, though there were one or two games (out of around 100) that I couldn’t figure out. Recommended if you like minigames and have a sense of humor.

Read the rest of this entry »