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May 30, 2014

WarioWare: Touched! (Part 1)

Yay, microgames!

Anyway, this is one of the funniest video game series, but also one of the weirdest. It might not be Rabbids-level of silly, but it can get very close to it. The WarioWare series has one of the most innovative concepts I've seen on the side of Nintendo. Sure, after seven games it's lost of its novelty, but it's still creative enough. It remains fun for a long while.

What are microgames? It's the WarioWare formula. Each character in the series is a developer at WarioWare, located in Diamond City. Wario's the greedy boss, everyone else is either a comic relief, has another job or is just so bizarre that he/she fits in with the rest of the gang. Every character creates about twenty microgames, and Wario sells them. The franchise started with WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! On the Game Boy Advance. Today's game is the fourth one released in the franchise. WarioWare Touched! features all the things you can do with a Nintendo DS. It's very fun to play.

You are probably wondering how exactly I'll review this game. I mean, each character has a short storyline with a series of microgames in-between, and that's all! Well, there's an intro and a conclusion, so that does give it a bit of a plot, even if it's small. Let's not waste any time: This thing is not a microgame, so there's a lot to talk about!

The happy-looking floating fellow wanted you to pick
ONLY ONE, Wario. You greedy jerk.
So, Wario was walking down the street, playing on a Game Boy Advance SP. He trips, though, and drops the portable console in a manhole. From it, a “Sewer Guru” comes out and asks him what he dropped. He then shows the GBA SP... and an odd machine with two screens. “Gimme all of 'em!” Wario says, before jumping on the Sewer Guru and stealing the two consoles. Did I mention he was greedy? Anyway, he starts playing with the machine that has two screens, but the microgame he's playing doesn't work. He tries tilting the console left and right (link to WarioWare: Twisted!), but it doesn't work. Angry, he shakes the machine and a small pen-like thing comes out. He tries the microgame again with it... and it works! Wario immediately realizes he can earn bags and bags of cash by having his crew make microgames for this machine!

From that point on, the plot is pretty much forgotten, as you gain access to the first stage in the normal play mode. Of course, it's Wario! The evil plumber/biker is pigging out on chocolate bars when he feels a horrible toothache. He jumps (sky-high) on his motorbike and heads to the dentist, who makes you cure Wario's teeth by tapping viruses. Wario thanks Dr. Payne and goes out on his motorbike. The microgames then begin.

"Me, cavities? As if! I am the one giving the cavities,
I don't get them!" ...Wait, that makes no sense...

First difficulty: Full target. Second: Smaller
target. Third: Even smaller target.
...That's diabolical.
Here's what the game's formula is: When the microgames begin, you get a random selection of them. Some are very simple, others are a little more complex, but they're all possible. After you beat a few, the speed increases. Then, after you beat a few more, the speed increases again. And so on. You have four lives every time, at the beginning of a stage. After a couple microgames, you reach a boss microgame that is a little longer than the others. Once that boss microgame is beaten, that part of the Story Mode ends; but once you've beaten that stage, you can replay it and it'll continue beyond the boss microgame, into the second difficulty setting. When you replay a stage and you beat its boss microgame, you earn a new life. All microgames have three difficulties and can speed up endlessly, so at the end you'll most likely lose not because you failed a game but because it went too fast and the timer ran out. Once you beat the stage's second difficulty, it goes into the third difficulty. And stays on the third difficulty, continually speeding up until you lose.

Also, you'll never unlock all of a stage's microgames on your first time playing it (as it will end at the boss microgame), so you'll have to replay them. In this game, there's 21 microgames for each stage (except the first one, which has 22), counting the boss microgames, for a total of 189. An impressive amount, huh? I'll come back to that in a bit.

So, once you beat the boss microgame in Wario's stage, we get to watch an ending cutscene: Wario stops at a bakery, starts munching on two pieces of pies... only to feel the same toothache he felt before. He jumps high, high, high, and away, away... only to crash through Dr. Payne's ceiling and land on the dentist chair. “I knew you'd be back!” the dentist says. Okay, that was funny.

You know, Wario, Payne is right: Brushing
is a small pirce to pay to be sure you won't
need dentures too early.

Ceeeeeeeeeelebrate good times, COME ON!
After each stage completed the first time, we see a night club where Wario is dancing. He is joined by more and more people as you complete the other characters' stages. Also, you're brought to a screen where a little sprite of Wario is walking around. For completing his stage, you unlock Mona and Jimmy T.'s stages. There's also Orbulon, the overly-smart alien, who comes by in his piggy spaceship; when it's shining, that means you can tap it to have an item come out; that item can then be played with or sent to the Toy Room.

So, there's five different options on the main screen: “Games”, where you play each character's stage; “Album”, where you can access every microgame played so far; “Toy Room”, where you put all the souvenirs and toys you unlock as you progress in the game; “Options”, which lets you see the epilogues of each stage, change between right-handed and left-handed, erase all your data or go back to the Title Screen; and “Arrange”, which is just... replacing all the characters on the “Games” and “Album” to the spot they should have on the screen.

Fun, isn't it? Anyway, I should also mention that every character in this game has a theme. Okay, not quite a “theme” in itself, more like a “way to play”. This game is actually the best one to learn to use the Nintendo DS and its touch screen, because every character's microgames are concentrated on a way to use the stylus. Look, Wario's games only require tapping the screen. Mona's demand that the player makes quick movement while keeping the stylus on the screen (her section is even called Cute Cuts). Jimmy's microgames make you rub somewhere on the screen.

And Number 1 on the charts is...
Mona Lisa! Er, Pizza! Yeah, I got it right!
So, what's Mona's story? Well, she's apparently Wario's girlfriend (though I really don't think they went as far as to kissing already; Wario's love of garlic is kind of... um... known), and she has a different occupation in every game. Here, she's a singer in a rock band AND a pizza delivery girl. And her song is #1 on the Charts. The artist on the #2 spot, a girl named Vanessa, is angry and swears revenge. During that time, Mona is jammin' with her band until she has to deliver some pizzas. But Vanessa and her bodyguards trap her and her pals on the roads! And they use a giant bird robot to kidnap her friend! -Wait, what? Her boss comes to her rescue; and basically, each time you beat a microgame, it's a bullet that successfully hits the robot. ...Er, woah. I knew pop music was dangerous, but I was sure they kept it to bad band rivalries, wild parties and drug overdoses... Giant chicken robots weren't part of the contract! Still, after a dozen bullets, the robot beats them... so Mona's friends find another way to get rid of it, by pulling it down to the ground. So, Mona  reaches the Hawt house, where she's having a gig. Then she remembers the pizzas she was supposed to deliver, and leaves hastily. Vanessa disguises herself as Mona and tries to taker her place... Nice costume, by the way. But the crowd doesn't fall for it. Still, later, we see Mona AND Vanessa on the stage of the Hawt House, where Wario is still dancing. The powers of the Mary Sue are strong in Mona... Just be glad she doesn't have a greater storyline.

Next is Jimmy T.! He lives for dancing! He has gotten five stars on every song of every Just Dance game! He has beaten every DDR ever made! He spends his evenings dancing at a night club... with his family! He's got his siblings Jamie and James T., and his parents, Papa and Mama T.! However, as Jimmy is dancing, a little bug decides his blue afro would make a cool home, so it lands on the large mass of hair. You rub the insect off that glorious haircut, and the family keeps dancing 'till they take out their cell phones. That's when the microgames start. They all require that you rub a section or an object on the screen. Once you've beaten the boss microgame, you see Jimmy and his family walking down the streets. The same bug comes back into Jimmy's hair to nag him, and it's so itchy that Jimmy starts doing all sorts of moves. His family naturally thinks he's still “itching” for more dancing. Hehe.

The Thang family also has a thing for
cellphones, apparently.
After Jimmy T.'s stage is beaten, you unlock Jamie T.'s stage! It's just a rehash of Wario, Mona and Jimmy's microgames, but it starts off at the second difficulty setting. Of course, if you've played every stage more than once already, you should go through this one like a breeze. What's a little harder is to reach 30 microgames beaten on that stage. Oh yeah, I had almost forgotten: You get a toy when you beat a stage for the first time, but you also get one when you get a score of over 30 in a stage. This encourages you to replay said stage a few times. 30 isn't very hard to reach, but you still need to remember what each microgame was about. Also, when you beat Jamie's stage, you gain access to three more stages! Namely, Kat and Ana's (you'll recognize them as they were an Assist Trophy in SSBBrawl) Ashley and Red's, and Dr. Crygor's.

So, what are Kat and Ana the preschooler ninjas doing? Ana was getting ready for a snack when she realized that her bananas were gone. Her dog notices some steps, so Ana leaves a note to Kat and hunts down the robber. Quickly, Kat joins her sister with her hawk... and this quest makes them go through a bunch of games where you have to draw on the screen. In all honesty, this doesn't feel much different from Jimmy T.'s microgames... Anyway, the girls reach their robber and see that it's an adorable little monkey! They call him Numchuck (by the way, that's actually written Nunchuk), and then head out to the Hawt House to dance with the others. Beating this stage the first time unlocks a mini-game version of their boss microgame, for which you must beat the high score to earn yet another toy that will be added to your collection.

Poor Ashley can't get a break. She just wants
demons to rule the world, is that too much to ask?
Next is Ashley the witch! After Mona, she was technically the second WarioWare character to get a sung theme. Someone over at Nintendo seems to like her character too, because her theme was featured in Super Smash Bros Brawl and she will be an Assist trophy in the next Smash Bros. game. During her story, she tries making a potion, or tries to summon an almighty creature... but it fails. Kinda sad, as even her little demon Red couldn't help her. The two leave her mansion, but Ashley bumps into Orbulon and gets VERY angry. Orbulon nearly shrinks and runs away. Ooooh, creepy. Ashley's hair turned white and her eyes turned really red for a moment. She tells Red that Orbulon is the missing ingredient, so Red chases after him! The microgames then begin; they require you to grab and drag objects on the screen. Her boss microgame is horribly hard. At the end, Orbulon runs away, so Ashley decides to use Red in the potion instead. (Let that sink in for a moment...) Next, as usual, the two head to the Hawt House, where Red dances with the others... while Ashley stands completely still.

Ashley must be a closet geek if her boss
stage references Shoot 'Em-Ups.

Next (and last for today) is Dr. Crygor, the nuttiest professor! He's created some darn stupid things, and then a few smart ones. Today, his new machine is amazing: It creates matter out of nothing! Or rather, it can repair stuff that is missing parts, like a bitten apple becomes full again... He gets stuck in his machine and after you've spun the wheel, Crygor's headpiece has been restored! His stage then begins; during this one, you always have to spin something. The boss microgame involves spinning a tiny car's steering wheel so that it avoids walls as it rolls away from a giant rampaging baby. No, seriously. With this super invention, Crygor also gained a new jetpack... thanks to which he goes off to explore space! Without a helmet. Man, I hope he got a Luma under his suit, then.

After you beat Dr. Crygor's stage, you unlock James T.! His stage contains microgames from Kat and Ana's, Ashley and Red's, and Dr. Crygor's stages. It begins on second difficulty, like his sister. And that's all I can say for today.

"Laaaaaaaaaaaydeys! I know I'm fat: It just means
more of me that you can love!" Joke aside though,
he's really trying to be a womanizer.

These descriptions should have given you an idea of how weird this series is; but wait! It will get weirder this Monday, with Part 2 of this review! Oh yeah, it's gonna be fun. With Wario around, it's always weird. I mean, no other fighter would have the indecency of using flatulence as a weapon. So, tune in this Monday, and this review will continue!