WarioWare Gold plays like a greatest-hits retrospective of Nintendo’s unlikely, Wario-centric franchise. Users are challenged to complete a barrage of 3(ish)-second microgames—some 300 in total—usually with only a couple of words providing the mission objectives. This leads to lots of trial-and-error… and even more fun.
In a story presented across a series of increasingly ridiculous (and fully voiced) cut-scenes, WarioWare Gold once again finds its titular character doing what he does best: being a greedy, slovenly miscreant. This, of course, serves little purpose other than setting up a loose framework for each themed microgame collection.
Grouped roughly by interface-type, the earliest games are throwbacks to the simple, d-pad and A button-controlled antics of the GBA’s original WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames! (Mash League). From there you’ll move onto motion-controlled (Twist League) and touchscreen (Touch League) gameplay, and finally, a dash of blow-into-the-system-mic titles (included in the catch-all Ultra League).
Along with rehashing some of the series’ best microgames, WarioWare Gold brings back familiar characters like Nintendo fanboy 9-Volt, young witch Ashley, and disco-dancing Jimmy T. They help breathe life into the surreal setting of Diamond City and move along Wario’s
latest scam epic gaming competition, much to the chagrin of newcomer Lulu.
Like the preceding WarioWare titles, WarioWare Gold is at its best when it’s lampooning gaming in general and Nintendo properties more specifically. This is especially true when it challenges you complete rote tasks like moving Link into a dungeon or throwing a shell in a nod to the ill-fated Virtual Boy. But don’t think that Gold is just a retread of classic WW gameplay. New microgames will also have connecting Joy-Cons to a Switch and moving an amiibo onto a New Nintendo 3DS XL’s NFC-enabled touchscreen.
The only drawback to all this madcap action is that the core story mode is painfully short; you can easily blast through it in a single sitting. Thankfully, there’s plenty to supplement this initial offering.
Gameplay unlocks rewatchable videos and replayable microgames in the character-specific Index, as well as earning you the obligatory coins. These can be spent on an in-game capsule machine to add content to the Toy Room. There you can score (slightly) more substantial minigames, character cards, musical selections, and much, much more.
Unsurprisingly, this bonus content easily falls within the bounds of “the weirder the better,” with highlights including the Studio and Wario’s amiibo Sketch. The former encourages you to re-record cut-scene dialog, while the latter sees Wario drawing each scanned amigo figurine—with predictively hilarious results.
At this point, even I, a longtime 3DS cheerleader, must admit that Nintendo’s stalwart handheld’s time is waning, but games like WarioWare Gold prove that there’s still meat on that bone. And despite its intentionally constrained portions, its a more than satisfying serving.
Review materials provided by: Nintendo of America