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December 5, 2014

WarioWare: D.I.Y. (Part 2)

Read Part 1 here!

Hello, and welcome back to this review of WaroWare: Do It Yourself! In which you... do your games yourself. Yeah. We've got a game that requires creativity here! Oh, the horror!

So, we've been through the tutorials, then we saw Wario's jobs, and then we met Mantis and Cricket in the Assembly Dojo. Now, we see what happens next... That is, when you start creating. Once you're ready, head to the D.I.Y. Studio.

Or... just tap it with the stylus and then tap OK, that works too.

In the Studio, there are three options: The Super MakerMatic 21, the D.I.Y. Forum, and the D.I.Y. Data. The Super MakerMatic is where you'll make all your microgames, records and comics. It's where you go to create. I mean, this is the studio, right? This is where you create, right? Well, yeah, obviously.

Oh hey, an old computer!
Aside from this machine, there's a computer on which you can access the D.I.Y. Forums. Before you ask, no, these are not real forums. A bunch of in-game developers got together on a forum to discuss game-making techniques. Some of the threads are funny, others are just meh. However, many of the threads actually give some pretty cool advice. Heck, some of that advice is not given to you in the Assembly Dojo! One new thread appears every day starting when you begin the game. What I find funny about this feature is that every developer has a personality, even though they're just forum names and avatars. There's AAAaaah, who keeps screaming in rage at the difficulties of game-making, blobmob really likes to say “lol”, KAGE always hands out useful advice, D.I.Why stats off saying smart stuff but devolves after some point to trolling, Javier gives out helpful advice but he's got Phonee, a forum stalker constantly praising him, yogaguy approaches game-making (and forum-posting) wisely, there is a trio of users who almost always talk about WarioWare D.I.Y. Showcase for the Wii...

Here's a quick list of tips you will get on that forum:
-Be careful not to override movement commands with other movement commands;
-The MakerMatic will make names for your game or graphics if you can't think of any;
-You can take a phrase out of any record or game to use in your own. Apparently, Diamond Software and WarioWare are very lax on copyright laws;
-Use Freeze to disable taps after the game has been lost;
-To place objects with more precision, keep L or R pressed while moving the object;
-Make it clear where the player should tap;
-Upload games from Diamond Software into the MakerMatic to learn some AI tricks;
-Playing the same sound effect twice plays it louder (Ever tried synchronizing the exact same song so it plays louder?);
-To see a switch from an object outside of the game field, set it on the left or at the bottom of the field. If the trigger button is On, you'll still see the switch indicators;
-Games are harder to beat on D.I.Y. Showcase, so keep that in mind when you make your game.

And so on. There are 60 of those “threads”, and many of them are an entertaining read. You can read them all here.

But there's something else in the Studio: The D.I.Y. Data! This diploma on the wall will tell you everything you did in the game: How many microgames were bought from you (this number is actually completely fictional, as it's in-game people who buy your microgames. Who in real life would pay for a single eight-second microgame?), how many shipments you've done, how many contests you've entered, how many of Wario's jobs you have completed and how many connections with friends you've had. So far, I have sold 4,895 microgames, though I've actually created 101. I also made 58 records and 28 comics (which are all pretty bad, both the records and the comics). I entered no contest and never connected with a friend in the same room, but I completed 38 of Wario's jobs.

Though I'm pretty sure you don't care about my data. Wanna hear about the 120 medals in the game instead? I won't quote them all, but I'll give some examples, and then I'll cite a few problems I have with these.

There's the stuff you'd expect from this game: Get all the microgames from one of the Diamond Software developers (Mona, Jimmy, Ashley, Orbulon, 9-Volt). Unlock all modes in the Game Blender (I'll explain that one soon). Score 40+ points on each character's solo stage. Unlock all of a developer's records in the Shop. Collect all the comics. Fill your games, records or comics shelf completely (that means 90 of each!). Have your games sell for a total of X (up to 4,000). Have one of your microgames sell X copies. Complete all of Penny's Tutorials. Ship all Job microgames at least once. Master all techniques in the Dojo (you see now, why I said you pretty much had to do all the Tutorials and jobs?). Ship X games, records, comics from the MakerMatic. Spend X hours with either the game, record or comic MakerMatic. Connect with a Wii or with a friend's DS.

The last bunch of medals is annoying. I hate them. As you know, Nintendo terminated the Nintendo DS online connection in May 2014. You can still trade with people around you who have WarioWare D.I.Y., but you can't send microgames to other countries over wi-fi. Wouldn't mind so much having to connect to a friend's DS... if I had any friends with this game! Yeah, it's sad to say, but Warioware isn't Pokémon. Your chances of meeting someone who has WarioWare D.I.Y. and is willing to trade with you are slim. Kinda sad that you cannot get some medals because of that. There are also medals for shipping or receiving products from a friend's copy of the game. As for the rest... Meh. You can ship products to the Warehouse (I'll explain that one last), or connect yourself to the NinSoft Store. There's even medals for whoever has registered up to 10 friend codes... which are now obsolete. There are 14 medals you can't get if you don't know someone who has WarioWare: D.I.Y.!

There are also 3 medals for when you enter design challenges. Those were monthly challenges put up by the developers. There was a theme each time, you had to make your own microgame and submit it, and then there would be a competition to see who has produced the best microgame. Sounds fun? The last contest ended on April 6th, 2011.

Did I mention that the design contests were open in the USA and in Canada, but not in Quebec? Raaaaaauuuuuuuugh! I do not find this funny at all! (If you're new here, quick recap: I'm from Quebec. And I'm mighty damn proud of where I live. ...most of the time, anyway.)

In other words, impossible to get those goddamn medals. And why does it suck? Because you unlock music from Diamond Records through unlocking medals. Yeah, having medals that you cannot earn means there are records by developers of Diamond Software that will be harder to get. That's really dumb. Whatever. I like the idea of medals and achievements in a game, but I don't like it as much when medals become unavailable over time or because there's no contests anymore or the connection was terminated or whatever.

Don't be fooled by the appearance; this is not a gift shop.
So, yeah. Now that we've seen all the stuff at the Studio, time to head to the D.I.Y Shop! In there, you can access all games, records and comics published by Diamond Software... and all of yours, too! The place is separated in four sections: Games, Music, Comics and Sales Charts. The Sales Charts only covers games, but it gives the charts for both the games unlocked from Diamond Software and the ones in your shelves. One thing I quickly noticed: Your games hardly ever beat the Diamond Software developers' when it comes to sales. Taking an example from my own game: Since I've owned the game, Mona's highest-selling microgame has sold 316 units, while my highest-selling one had 170. Also, back when I could access the Warehouse, I downloaded a few microgames, and THOSE sold more units than mine. Urgh. I knew I wasn't a salesman at heart. Anyway, the game always seems to imply that no matter how much you try, it will be long before you beat any of the established developers. I can understand that, but still, it's kind of cringe-inducing, especially considering all the medals that require your microgames to sell a lot of units.

Anyway, when you begin, your shelves are obviously empty. There can't be anything on them as long as you haven't created anything! Sure, your Games shelf will first be filled with, say, the three Tutorial games given by Penny Crygor, then maybe Wario's 16 Jobs. That's a good start. The Diamond Software shelves also start out empty.

First shelf almost full; keep working!
Only 73 games left to make!
In the Games section of the shop, there's the Game Blender. In there, all the microgames in a section of the shop will be shuffled and played. There is one regular stage for each developer, and there is also one regular stage for each of your five shelves (and thus, 18 games in each stage). Under Diamond Software, there are two special stages: The Shuffle stage, and the Ultra Hard stage, which both include all the 90 microgames from Diamond Software. Shuffle is just a random selection of the 90 games, while Ultra Hard has the same selection but starts at a quick speed. Those two modes are also available under your five Stages. Then there are Mix All Stages located in the center of the screen: These mix both the Diamond Software AND your games. Once again, there's the Shuffle stage and the Ultra Hard stage. There's also a final, bonus stage: Mirror! All the microgames will be mirrored, which makes everything quite challenging. In total, if you've made 90 microgames, there are 17 different stages. Impressive. By the way, there's also an option to erase the high scores on your shelves' stages, and there's a second option that lets you pick one of the Diamond Software developers' stage cutscene as if it was yours. That's fun.

And of course, Ashley's Blender story has her being spooky
for no reason other than she's a witch. What else is new?

One Diamond Software stage is unlocked on the day you start playing, and one more stage is unlocked every following day. And in order to unlock a microgame in a developer's shelf, you have to encounter it in that developer's stage. Sounds fairly easy, doesn't it? ...It is. Yeah, it totally is. Just play that stage again and again until you got all of that developer's microgames.

Listen to all the songs in the game if you want! There's about
two and a half hours of music made by the game's developers.
But wait! Aren't there also shelves for records and comics? Why, yes! I was gonna get to those! Give me some time, goddarnit! In the Music section of the Shop, there's a shelf for your songs, a shelf for the Diamond Software developers' songs, and a Jukebox. Going over the Jukebox quickly: It's a feature that lets you listen to a playlist of songs you've picked among the 180 that can be a part of your collection. Ironically, there are less features there than if you were to listen to the songs by other means in the game.

How do you unlock Diamond Records? By winning medals. As I mentioned earlier in this post, each time you earn a medal, you get one random piece of music among the developers you've unlocked so far (and since you unlock one per day, all five are unlocked pretty fast). That means 1 out of the 90 possible songs. Thankfully, it is impossible to delete those songs, and no song will appear twice (duh). Sadly, as I mentioned, we're past the option to use the Wi-Fi Connection for Nintendo DS games, and as a result some medals are unobtainable unless you have a friend who owns WarioWare: D.I.Y.. Thankfully, it IS possible to get all 90 songs despite these problems. It's just really, really difficult. As of writing, I still need to unlock two of 9-Volt's records. ...sigh. You'll tell me, “that's just two!” Yeah, but the missions to get them are painfully long and tedious.

Moving on. The last section is Diamond Publishing. Just like the games and the records, there are 90 comics to unlock. Like the stages, you unlock some of them every day. However, you unlock only one line of 6 comics per day, which means you need to play during fifteen days to unlock all the Diamond Publishing comics. I don't really have preferences, but the fourth shelf of comics is a story split among the 18 comics on that shelf. It's a funny tale of a guy who unwillingly becomes a RPG hero with overly-silly weapons and tools (a popsicle stick for sword, a tennis paddle for shield, he battles a demon that uses bubbles to attack, retrieves the princess of a village where everyone, including the women and children, are bald and have large mustaches... ...No, I didn't make that up, and the end is even WEIRDER). It's without a doubt the funniest series of comics. It's the only long series of comics in the game, anyway.

Oops. I just realized that this wasn't the right game.
Oh well, I feel too lazy to correct that mistake now.

Guess that's all I had to say for today. We've taken a good look at the Studio, then the Shop. Next time, we look at the Distribution Center and the Options Garage, and then I'll give my final words on the game. See ya then!

(Part 3 will be published Monday and the review of D.I.Y. Showcase will be published next Friday.)