Wario World

The world was first introduced to Wario, the “anti-Mario” as the villain of Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins on the Game Boy in 1992. He would then go on to star in his own series of Mario Land spin-offs – Wario Land which released on the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance, respectively. Wario also appeared as a playable character in games like Mario Kart or Mario Party, but it wouldn’t be until 2003 that he would star in his own adventure on a Nintendo home console.

Wario World was first released in June 2003 on the GameCube and was developed by Treasure, the studio behind games such as Gunstar Heroes, Sin and Punishment and Radiant Silvergun. The game begins with Wario sitting inside his castle, pleased with the riches he has accumulated. Suddenly, the evil Black Jewel is awakened after being stolen by a greedy treasure hunter and transforms the castle entirely and the riches located inside become a legion of enemy monsters. The titular antihero then embarks on a quest to put a stop to the Black Jewel and restore his humble abode to its former state. Wario must navigate his way through four worlds, each consisting of two stages and a final boss fight.

credit: MarioWiki

I played a small portion of Wario World shortly after its release, but for one reason or another had never made much progress. I was curious to return to the game and evaluate my experience in 2022. Having finished it recently, I can say I’m actually a bit upset I didn’t play more of the game back then. It’s a delight to play and has held up very well for something released nearly two decades ago. 

One of the very first things I noticed when starting up Wario World again was how the controls still feel remarkably nice for a game released in 2003. GameCube games haven’t suffered the ravages of time to the same extent of many N64 games, but can still feel dated by today’s standards. As with most other Nintendo platformers, Wario’s movement sits right in the middle ground between feeling too heavy and too floaty. I still find it interesting how I spent so many years playing games with exclusively inverted camera controls. It’s a little jarring going back to early 2000’s games after spending some many years with games where inverted controls are an afterthought(thanks, Halo).  

While the primary gameplay mechanic of comparable GameCube games like Super Mario Sunshine or Luigi’s Mansion centers around a particular item – F.L.U.D.D. or PolterGust 3000, Wario World takes advantage of Wario’s greater level of physicality than the brothers Mario, making the game a much more straightforward action/platformer as the garlic-breathed antihero can punch, grab and slam enemies. Some advanced maneuvers such as the spinning piledriver or screw attack-esque Corkscrew Conk will need to be utitlized in order to reach certain areas of a stage. The red jewels needed to complete a level can be found in underground treasure rooms; some consisting of little more than stone pillars to pulverize or platforms to ascend, and others require you to traverse a sprawling expanse of 3D platforms very similar to the ones found in Mario Sunshine. I’m reasonably confindent in saying I felt the camera controls in Wario World are noticeably better than Sunshine, making these sections less nerve-wracking.  

credit: MarioWiki

I was also pretty impressed with the boss fights in Wario World, each one of them feeling innovative and enjoyable. There was only a couple boss fights that presented any significant challenge – one being my battle against Red Brief – J., this being (just about)entirely due to the fact I hadn’t grasped the fight “gimmick” just yet. I was able to knock the Speedo-clad bull into the liquid-hot magma by doing a ground pound on the metal platform where the fight took place. I don’t know if I’d call Wario World a “difficult” game, especially when compared to some of Treasure’s other games(Hello, Radiant Silvergun). It’s a very approachable action/platformer, but certainly ratchets up the difficulty in the later levels. One thing that makes Wario World much more forgiving than other Treasure games is the ability to purchase a continue whenever your health is depleted; it can also be acquired by eating bulbs of garlic dispensed by vending machines in each level. Garlic and continues are purchased using the gold coins scattered across the levels and dropped by defeated enemies. I accumulated plenty of gold coins throughout my time in the game, so I never really felt I was in danger of running out of continues – this could be considered a pro or con, depending on the person playing.    

 The significant interest/demand in GameCube games the past few years can be easily attributed to the inevitable wave of nostalgia for something around 20 years ago – hell, I’m writing this while listening to music from Majora’s Mask, but combined with the perceived “failure” of Nintendo’s adorable little hexadron has resulted in many games becoming hard to find…as well as quite pricey, almost unreasonably so. This is unfortunate for games like Wario World(or Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, F-Zero: GX, Metroid Prime 2…I could go on) as it is an excellent game that could should have reached a bigger audience. The biggest criticism of Wario World at the time was concerning the game’s length(6-10 hours) and that perhaps it wasn’t “unique enough” to stand out against other first-party Nintendo GameCube games…again, like Mario Sunshine or Luigi’s Mansion. Wario World is a very approachable action/platformer, but can still provide enough of a challenge to keep longtime fans of the genre engaged. A solid game and heartily recommended…   

Thanks for reading!

credit: MarioWiki

Omnivore Update-February 2022

Greetings! It’s already the middle of February. The days are starting to get a little longer and the end of winter is slowly approaching, according to a few groundhogs at least. I’ve been working on getting back into the habit of writing somewhat regularly, so I decided to sit down and write a little update as to what I’ve been playing recently and a few other game-related tangents. I’ve also mentioned in the past that I wanted to come up with a better name for my (sometimes)monthly update posts than “Weekend Gaming Review”; for the time being, I decided to use “Omnivore Update”. Lately, I feel like I’ve played a little bit of everything, but not much of anything at the same time. I have a few games that I’ve been playing for a few months that I’d like to get finished up, especially before games like Horizon: Forbidden West, Elden Ring and Gran Tourismo 7 get released. There’s also a few indie games that I still want to sit down and play like Nobody Saves The World or Inscryption. There’s one game I was able to cross off the list a couple days ago…

Death’s Door

Last weekend I started playing Death’s Door, a game I’d had my eye on since it was released last summer. I fell in love with it almost immediately and seriously regret not playing the game sooner. The gameplay, art style, soundtrack….I love it all. It’s pretty clear the game takes much of its inspiration from The Legend of Zelda in terms of gameplay, but much of the story, visuals and beautiful soundtrack remind me of games like Hollow Knight or the Ori and the Blind Forest, but with more Zelda and less Metroid. Upon completing Death’s Door, I can safely say this is absolutely one of the best games of 2021 that I’ve played.

Halo Infinite

I’ve still been chipping away at the campaign in Halo Infinite, as surprising as that may sound. I was as hyped as anyone to finally play Infinite and the multiplayer modes, despite some hiccups with 343 Industries’ progression system and matchmaking problems with Big Team Battles, have mostly lived up to expectations. It pains me, however, to say that I’m pretty lukewarm towards the main campaign. Don’t get me wrong, Infinite plays AS GOOD, if not BETTER than any previous Halo game; I just haven’t been completely blown away by the shift to an open-world experience. Halo has always had its share of big, set pieces and small, enclosed battles alike, so it seemed like a natural evolution of the series. A big issue with this is Infinite seems like every mission occurs in one of two different locales – open, rocky terrain with an outpost or inside corridor. This would be similar to the entirety of Halo: Combat Evolved taking place among the small outposts on the rocky expanse of the first halo or inside the inner corridors of the Truth and Reconciliation. I still have a few chapters to go to reach the conclusion of Halo Infinite, but thus far I’d have to say that I kinda…prefer Halo 5’s campaign, divisive as it was. Master Chief’s new grappling hook is just awesome enough that I’d say it almost makes up for my complaints about the campaign…almost.

Nintendo Direct

Nintendo Direct have turned into such an event that it’s hard to NOT hear about it on social media when one is announced. There has historically been a February presentation the past few years, so it’s not entirely surprising one was announced two days before. Either way, there was a lot of games shown during the Direct and I was pleasantly surprised by many of them. RPG fans were treated to a number of announcements – an HD remaster of Chrono Cross, another Triangle Strategy demo, former Japan-exclusive Live A Live being released on the Switch, along with Earthbound and Earthbound: Beginnings(Mother 1) being added to the Switch Online library of SNES/NES games. The Direct even ended with Xenoblade Chronicles 3 being announced with a September 2022 release date. I’m not the biggest Xenoblade Chronicles fan myself, but I do know of many others who were thrilled about the news. Hell, the Portal games were even announced as future Switch releases…yes, Valve games actually on a Nintendo console and right before their own handheld – the Steam Deck is released. Here are couple of announcements that also stood out to me…

Mario Strikers: Battle League

In the first few years of the Nintendo Switch we’ve seen Mario participate in a few different sports games – Mario Tennis Aces, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games – Tokyo 2020 and last summer’s Mario Golf: Super Rush. This summer, Mario and friends are returning to the pitch in Mario Strikers: Battle League. I’ll admit I was a little disappointed overall in last year’s Mario Golf, so I’m going to remain cautiously optimistic about a new Strikers game. It’s still good to see the series return; the last game – Mario Strikers Charged was released on the Wii in 2007. It’s been long enough of a wait…

Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series

Klonoa is a series I’ve wanted to play for some time but have never had the chance. The platforming games have historically not sold well, but still achieved a cult-like status among fans, making them pretty rare(and pricey) to find out in the wild. Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series includes Klonoa 1 & 2 and I’m looking forward to checking them out after their release on July 8.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

One of Nintendo’s 2022 releases I’m looking most forward to is Kirby and the Forgotten Land, which I’ve been wanting to play since seeing the reveal trailer last fall. The most recent trailer released by Nintendo shows the pink puffball hero rescuing kidnapped Waddle Dees from a number of enormous worlds. Alongside Kirby’s iconic copy abilities, there are now a number of new forms from the new “Mouthful Mode” which shows Kirby devouring anything from traffic cones to vending machines or even a car(you may have already seen the numerous “Karby” memes). From the looks of the trailers provided so far, it could be anywhere from simply a Mario Odyssey clone w/Kirby or something that feels as fresh as Kirby’s Adventure did back on the NES. I’d honestly be fine with either…

That’s all for now! What’s everyone else been playing lately? Did you watch any of the Nintendo Direct or have any games getting released soon that you’re excited about? Let me know.

Thanks for reading!