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June 2, 2014

WarioWare: Touched! (Part 2)

Part 1 can be read here.

Hello and welcome to this continuation of my review of WarioWare: Touched! Gotta get all the bad puns out of the way immediately: Although it's the point, there's nothing touching about the game. Zing! It doesn't tap into my emotions. Re-zing! It's like there's a screen between me and them. Though I gotta admit, those characters sure don't lack style-us! Re-zing-a-ding!

Okay, enough with the stupid humor, now let's go back to looking at each character's stage in this game. Who's next... Okay, I completed James T.'s stage, so that means... Oh yeah! It's Mike's turn! What, you don't know Mike? It's the most useless robot maid ever... But the best karaoke singer of all Diamond City!

He's Dr. Crygor's most recent invention (after the “matter transcreator apple thingy stuff word salad whatever”). He was created to be the handyman in the lab, but the poor robot has talent mostly in karaoke, so he doesn't like his work too much. At every given occasion, he blasts through the ceiling to go sing karaoke among the aliens. No, really. All minigames in his stage require that you blow into the Nintendo DS's microphone. The Mic. If you can't do that for too long, that stage could make you dizzy. Anyway, after Mike is done karaoke-ing with the bunny aliens, Dr. Crygor arrives and takes him back home. Then, the two try a duet.... but Dr. Crygor's singing is absolutely horrible. I know what it's like. I'd say that Mike's stage blows, but... that's not even the case, it's just as fun as the others. Maybe not breathtaking, just a bit tiring, but still fun.

"My singing rocks, your singing sucks! How did Crygor
put that in me if he sings like a screaming goat?"

Wow, those 8-bit graphics are great! But on a
GameCube... It's kinda less impressive.
Next is 9-Volt, the little Nintendo fanboy. His microgames are all based on retro Nintendo games. He has been around since the beginning. So, what's his plot? Take a wild guess. Here it is: A new video game comes out, so 9-Volt and his overgrown pal 18-Volt go buy it. They head back to 9-Volt's house, where they play the game for many hours. After playing, 9-Volt goes to his turntables and the microgames start. They play all night and fall asleep in the game room. When they wake up, they realize they're late for school and hurry out. ...That's it. 9-Volt might be a big Nintendo geek, there's very little else for his character, so I personally find him a bit bland. Other than that, he's fine, I guess, if you are a Nintendo geek too...

By the way, this is only halfway through
Wario-Man's boss stage. Yes, it's a nose.
Oh yeah, by the way, when you beat 9-Volt's stage, Wario's face on the main screen turns blue. Huh... that's not normal. When you select his stage, you see a whole new cutscene! Wario is sick in bed, and feels “awful”. ...Isn't he always awful? Anyway, he goes to the fridge and takes out a garlic that looks really odd. He still eats it, which makes him feel better... and turns him into his superhuman counterpart, Wario-Man! Well, Wario clearly didn't get the memo that a superhero name should NOT contain the name of his secret identity. Superman wouldn't call himself Clark Kent-Man, right? So, Wario-Man's stage begins. All the minigames in his stage feature Wario in a way or another. What an egocentric. Ah, so THAT'S what was missing from Wario's stage at the beginning! Anyway, the stage begins at that point. Once fifteen microgames have been beaten, Wario-Man shows how un-powerful he is by trying to stop a train and failing miserably.

Then, we get reports that WarioWare Touched! Is a success with the Diamond City population. This story ends where it began: During that time, Wario falls right into the manhole his GBA SP fell in at the beginning. He comes out, back in his pajamas, still sick. The Sewer Guru comes out and whacks him with his cane, then waves goodbye to us. The end.

"Fear my un-manly pink pajamas!"

Main screen at the end.
This is gonna be hard, so bear with me.
Oh, but wait, there's more! The WarioWare series is famous for having a lot of post-Story Mode stuff! Once Wario-Man's stage is beaten, you can go to it anytime by feeding the weird garlic to Wario on the main screen. You also get access to the first Bear Stage. What's a Bear Stage? It's like Jamie and James T.'s stages, except they contain every single microgame from the nine stages. The difficulty for those bonus stages comes from the fact that it picks among all the microgames you've unlocked (and there's 181 in total), so you must be prepared to face anything; you never know what's gonna come next. First is the Pink Bear, which starts with microgames on their first difficulty and then progresses like a regular stage; then it's White Bear, for which you have only ONE life, and the microgames start on second difficulty; Last but not least, Yellow Bear has microgames on first difficulty that begin at a very fast speed, so you have to think quickly.

Also, when you unlock every single microgame, you earn Pyoro T., from the series-within-a-series Pyoro. The little bird has been in the first game, then in Twisted! and in Touched!. It's the big reward for unlocking all microgames. And it's also always a lot of fun.

Years later, the Angry Birds
would show up. Coincidence?

However, unlocking all microgames is a piece of cake compared to the real final task in this game. You're not gonna believe it. It's been another staple of the series since the beginning, and it's always been the longest thing to do. It's another fun part, but it's also unnerving and sometimes kind of a pain to complete, because it can and will keep you busy for days. You have to beat a high score on EVERY. SINGLE. MICROGAME. That means over 180 microgames for which you must beat the high score. Just imagine the time it takes. Only once you've completed this task do you earn the final toy for your collection.

And boy do you need some dedication to get there. If you take about three minutes per microgame, it still means about nine hours. Nine hours playing microgames! Holy crud! And yes, that includes the boss microgames, which are often very long. When you get all of a character's microgames, a silver crown appears on their head on the Album Menu. When you beat the high score for all games in a character's album, that character's crown turns golden.

By the way, here's one of the toys: A videoclip!

For a WarioWare game, it's hard to review the graphics of the microgames because it changes every time; sometimes you have crudely-drawn characters, sometimes you just have symbols, other times you have actual photographs... So that's technically impossible. However, I can tell you that the sprites on the Stage Selection screen look very nice. The nine characters have their own sprite, and after a while they'll wander around the screen. Sometimes they might do funny poses or reference their own stage. Likewise, the graphics for the cutscenes are very good; it feels like you're watching actual cartoons, not necessarily of the kind that would air on TV, but it's still good. After all, the voice acting is limited, so most of the dialogue is written on the screen. It's still fun to see the characters moving less like video game characters and more like cartoons.

As is the case for most WarioWare games, the plot is just an excuse to make you play the microgames supposedly “made” by the staff at WarioWare. Wario sees an opportunity to earn money, jumps on it, you're playing the results, he gets his comeuppance at the end. Just the first game: He tried escaping with all the money, but he failed. Each character's story arc is self-contained and is either a slice of life or something really crazy. Then again, when you live in a city where there's a mad scientist, a young witch, ninja preschoolers and a fat antihero who can turn into a “superhero” in literal pajamas... Yeah, even the slices of life are crazy in Diamond City. You see some of the interaction between the characters, but some of them hardly ever interact with other developers. If anything, the first WarioWare game did give them personalities that shined through each character's microgames: Wario is egocentric and is in everything he creates; Mona has a weird mindset, so she makes weird games; Jimmy loves dancing, so his microgames are based on sports; Kat and Ana are all about Japanese culture; 9-Volt the Nintendo geek makes microgames based on famous Nintendo titles. And then some less famous ones. And so on and so forth.

I should also point out that the cast of WarioWare changes in every game. Not literally; I mean that some new characters often appear, other characters leave – or aren't making microgames for this one, it's possible – and some seem to be there every single time. I know Wario, Mona and Jimmy T. were in every game so far. The new ones for WarioWare Touched! were Ashley, Mike, and Jimmy T.'s siblings (Mama and Papa T. appeared in WarioWare: Twisted! previously).

But is it worth buying? Is WarioWare Touched! fun enough that I recommend it? Well.... yeah! I mean, what's so great with a concept that simple is that you can tell anyone how to play it and they'll be able to play it. Every microgame is simple and you only have to know the basics. It also greatly helps that all the microgames are classified by how you play them (Tapping for Wario, quick cuts for Mona, rubbing for Jimmy, drawing for Kat and Ana, grabbing and moving for Ashley, spinning for Crygor, etc.). Only the last two stages are a mixed bag, which does make them a little harder, but nothing impossible. You can just hand the DS to someone, even a person who hardly, if ever, plays video games, tell them how the microgames work for a stage, and encourage them to guess how each one works. Or just give them one microgame to play and see how far they can go, since each microgame is so simple. I know I had fun giving this game to my mother, giving her the instructions for the game, and see how far she'd go (It would also spare me from having to beat every microgame's best score, but that's another matter entirely). The point is that even moreso than minigame collections like the Raving Rabbids games, the WarioWare games are REALLY for everyone.

Each stage is very easy the first time (the only challenge being to guess how each microgame works), but when you replay them you can have a lot of difficulty reaching higher numbers. Seriously, reaching 30 isn't THAT hard, but I usually set myself the goal of reaching 50 for each stage, and trust me, that's a lot harder. The speed increases every time you beat a stage's boss mode, so it becomes very fast at some point, inhumanely fast. Fast to the point that you can't keep up. It's usually the speed that makes you lose all your lives by the end.

It's also very easy to unlock all the microgames, as you unlock one as soon as you see it in a stage. Now, seeing them is another matter entirely, as they're always selected at random and, therefore, you might have to play each stage a few times before you unlock all of that stage's microgames. Again, from personal experience, reaching 50 on each stage the second time you play is usually a high enough number that you've seen all the microgames once. Or at least there won't be many left to find. Trying to reach 50 on each stage should keep you occupied for a few hours... but trying to beat the high score on every microgame takes the cake. This is the long task. And trust me, it takes many hours.

The toys you collect as you beat stages, or stages' high scores, are all fun, but most of them are one-note at best and become kind of boring after a while. There's only a few of those that will keep you interested, like their version of Mario Paint (which you can use to color the faces of the WarioWare characters) or the turning table. The unlockable minigames are also fun, though again, you might forget about them once you've beaten their high score.

The game also has a nice little option: When you start playing, you pick between right- and left-handed. I think many parts of the game get flipped around if you change the playing hand. The bigger change is that the countdown at the bottom of the screen for every non-boss microgame is flipped around so that left-handed people can see how much time is left.

And that's it. Do I recommend this game? Oh yeah, for the whole family. It can get challenging enough for expert players and it's a nice introduction to the Nintendo DS for the non-gamers. It's definitely one I recommend, both for this reason, but also for the colorful characters, the comedy and the ideas for those simple, simple games. Buy it, play it, enjoy it.

And I swear I'll someday cover the other WarioWare game for the Nintendo DS: Warioware Do It Yourself, which I like even more than this one. And this Friday... I'll be participating in a hunting game! No worries, I'm not killing any real animals. But it's still gonna get violent. Okay, bye!