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WarioWare: Twisted! – GBA

WarioWare: Twisted! – GBA

WarioWare: Twisted!Platform:  Game Boy Advance

Release Date (NA):  May 23rd, 2005

Developers:  Intelligent Systems, Nintendo

Publisher:  Nintendo

Genre:  Puzzle

Nerd Rating:  8.5 out of 10

 

 

The WarioWare series of games doesn’t get much attention in the upper circles of gaming, which is surprising considering how unique the premise is.  WarioWare is perhaps the most novel take on the puzzle genre, and though these “microgames” aren’t for everyone, they’re worth a look from anyone who hasn’t played them.  Wario is the perfect candidate to drive and connect these games; his “career” started off in Wario’s Woods and  his prankish, mischievous, self-serving personality is perfect for adding humor, an element in not short supply throughout the series.

WarioWare: Twisted!

In case you didn’t know…

WarioWare: Twisted! is the franchise’s second installment and comes in the form of a rather bulky GBA cartridge, nearly the size of my GameShark SP or GBA Action Replay.  The bulbous nodule houses a gyro sensor as well as weight for haptic feedback.  If you’ve never played a WarioWare title before (or the latest Game & Wario), you might be in for a bit of a shock, no matter which of the several options you choose.  If you don’t know what you’re in for, these games can be fairly jolting because of their unconventional nature.

WarioWare: Twisted!

It’s large!

Of note here is that the instructions state that the cartridge is not compatible with the GameCube’s Game Boy Player add-on.  However, this isn’t exactly true.  Impractical?  Definitely.  But incompatible?  Not even.  You can in fact insert WarioWare: Twisted! into the Game Boy Player and actually tilt the entire GameCube + GBP unit around (it works!) while performing any necessary button pressing on the GameCube controller.  Most people though, myself included, will find it pretty damn difficult to manipulate the wired GC + GBP with one hand while using the controller with the other.  Technically it’s totally possible.

WarioWare: Twisted!

In this twist on Kid Icarus, all you need to do is run around at the bottom for a few seconds without getting hit.

Like others in the series, Twisted! is comprised of various “microgames.”  What is a microgame?  A microgame is a quick 1 to 5 second “game” in which a simple task must be performed.  The key is speed, and games utilize all sorts of simple mechanics and objectives.  Making quick decisions about what buttons to press, interpreting brief instructions with nearly zero time to process them, and making precise movements with the handheld are just a few of the actions that the player must take.  A variety of visual styles are used: familiar animations, scribbled and hand drawn pictures, photographs, pixelated 8-bit images, and more.  One of Twisted!’s main features is the inner tilt sensor, allowing the player to actually tilt and turn the GBA to accomplish certain feats, much in the same way that current games use the Wii Remote, 3DS, and PS Vita.

WarioWare: Twisted!

Shoot!

Still don’t understand the microgame?  It’s not an easy concept to explain, and even citing examples will prove painfully inadequate without the urgency conveyed in title itself.  A few examples: following a figure with a spotlight by tilting the GBA left and right; kicking a soccer ball with either the left or right foot; dodging obstacles via “steering” with the handheld; pushing A repeatedly to advance an evolution chart; keeping the GBA perfectly still as to not crack an egg; and selecting any number of objects by tilting and then selecting with A.  It’s all about speed and it gets really addictive in its own way.  The microgames cover a a wide range of difficulty; while some are as simple as pressing A or not moving, some require precise turning that’s difficult to nail down in the 2 or 3 seconds given.

WarioWare: Twisted!

In this game, the goal is to get the cat to the other side. The catch is that the wind is blowing, so the player must tilt the GBA back and forth to keep the critter on the right track.

WarioWare: Twisted!

Shoot!

To the untrained eye (so to speak), WarioWare: Twisted! may look like a haphazard hodgepodge of inane exercises, but there’s an extraordinary amount of creativity and, for the time, technological innovation going on.  My description makes it sound like the game consists of little more than tilting the device and aggressively pressing A, and while that’s true, it’s pretty incredible how fun these simple acts end up being.  It’s difficult to describe the microgames as truly engaging, but the need to master the seemingly childish tasks will drive anyone nuts…in that good video game kind of way.  We’ve seen gyro sensors in a few games before Twisted!, but this would really set the stage for the upcoming DS and Wii Remote standards.  It isn’t quite flawless, though it comes close.  Both when turned on and after each individual microgame, the cartridge recalibrates itself (instantly).  One’s naturally shifting hand motions don’t become a problem; if they did, the game would almost surely fail as any form of enjoyment.  Most of the time the tilting feature functions without incident and with a natural and intuitive feel – an impressive feat for a mere cartridge and nothing built into the handheld itself.

WarioWare: Twisted!

Even the menus use spinning/tilting. The GBA’s D-pad is virtually unused.

The main menu greets the player with several selections, the most obvious being “Story.”  What could be called a “story” here is dubious, though Nintendo does play it whimsical and silly with Wario at the forefront of a scheme to get the world hooked on GBAs that no longer function via button presses but instead use gyrometers.  His supporting cast of characters (Dr. Crygor, 9-Volt, 18-Volt, Kat & Ana, and more) shows up to fill in the gaps.  No attempt is made to tell a story with the microgames, just a few animated cutscenes here and there.  Within Story Mode are a dozen icons.  Each of them lead to a series of microgames, but depending on which option is chosen, different types of microgames (based on theme and/or gameplay mechanic) are presented, such as those centered on tilting only, those based upon classic NES titles (my favorite; includes quick reimaginings of Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, Excitebikeand several more), and those focusing on Wario among several others.

WarioWare: Twisted!

Microgame based on Super Mario Bros. 3

Also available is the “Spindex,” a mode in which the player can explore any one single microgame.  This is great for practicing or just seeing the increasing difficulty within a game.

WarioWare: Twisted!The other option of note is the “Souvenirs” section, devoted to “prizes” won throughout play.  After each boss battle in any subset of games, the player is awarded a prize from a virtual gumball machine.  These are eventually stored in the Souvenirs and are little more than novel virtual “toys,” but they are kind of cool.  They aren’t exactly games themselves, more like gadgets and doodads that can be “played with” using the tilt feature and other aspects of the GBA.  You probably won’t find yourself doing much besides going “that’s neat” and moving on, but it’s clear that this was meant to show off some ideas and concepts that developers never worked into full microgames.

WarioWare: Twisted!

An example of the sometimes off-beat visual design.

When it comes to graphics and sound, WarioWare: Twisted! isn’t about flawless presentation.  Instead, it relies on a manic, ever-changing style to maintain the frantic pace and keep the player from getting too comfortable with doing the same thing over and over.  The eclectic visuals sufficiently covey each game and makes it feel as though the games are totally individual and discrete elements rather than a series tied together by a common style or motif.  The frenetic, cartoonish sounds can get mildly grating depending on how long you hunker down with Twisted!, and you may find it easier to have some music or a TV going in the background.  Aside from a couple of games, sound isn’t required to complete most of them.

WarioWare: Twisted!

The cutscenes have some nice graphics and animations going on, but the microgames are all about simplicity.

WarioWare: Twisted!

It’s easy to overshoot and get confused about which direction to tilt during this game, requiring one to focus on the image.

Twisted! isn’t without its flaws, but they are easily forgivable.  Only a couple of things get in the way of the near-perfect execution: the occasional severity of the angle of tilt, and the sometimes ambiguous instructions.  The brief instructions leave little time for reflection, and there’s no time to experiment when the microgame starts.  Most of the time the objective is clear, but every now and then it takes more than a couple confrontations with a particular game to really understand the goal and even hope to complete it on time.  Generally, tilting is limited to no more than 45° in each direction.  However, a few games require more, and it can be a little uncomfortable for the hands and wrists.  At times it seems like the only course of action is to completely readjust one’s grip to continue turning the GBA, and this can make for an altogether awkward scenario when working in such limited time constraints.  Fortunately the unclear instructions become an almost non-existent issue as one plays through more and more of the games (plus there’s always the Spindex for honing one’s skill on a particular microgame), but the periodic unnatural tilting is just a hiccup to be endured.

WarioWare: Twisted!

One of my favorites! The player moves through a version of World 1-1 (via tilting and jumping), complete with mushrooms, pits, Goombas, and a flagpole! A modified World 1-2 follows as well as a completely original dungeon/castle for World 1-3.

Does it all add up to fun? Certainly, if you approach it with the correct mindset.  If nothing else, WarioWare: Twisted! (and other games in the series) brazenly push the conventional boundaries of what we define as a video game.  Some will take an immediate dislike to the format; true, it is offbeat, quirky, and potentially difficult to digest as entertainment.  It takes the bygone notions of speed, reflexes, and repetition from older games (think Breakout, Pong, even Pac-Man) and polishes them up with modern and recognizable visuals and concepts, culminating in a game that eschews tedium and monotony due to its well placed humor and variety.  Perhaps most importantly, WarioWare: Twisted! never takes itself too seriously and keeps itself grounded through a self referential vibe throughout.  So no, Twisted! won’t appeal to everyone, but everyone should spend a few minutes with it and find out for themselves.  It’s surprising how quickly these brief games can become a borderline obsession…

Reviewed by by The Cubist

Wario
Main Series
WarioWare
Other

 

Written by The Cubist

The Cubist


Co-founder, Head Author, & Site Technician

Find out what these ratings mean and how I rate video games.

I collect as much video gaming paraphernalia as I can get my hands on, especially when it comes to hardware. With over 40 systems including oldies like the ColecoVision and Intellivision, obscurities like the CD-i and 3DO, and the latest and greatest including the Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, 3DS, and PS Vita, I get easily overwhelmed. Most of the time you can find me firmly nestled sometime between 1985 and 1995 when it comes to my games of choice, but I’m also having a great time seeing what the 8th generation has to offer.

Currently in love with: Mortal Kombat

Email me anytime, about anything: thecubist@nerdbacon.com

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