Game & Wario is one of those games that had so much potential to highlight innovative uses for the Wii U's GamePad. The keyword in that sentence is 'had'. The best word to describe Game & Wario is disappointment. Of the game's 12 single-player games, only a handful are good and the rest border on, or simply are, entirely lackluster. A couple of the mini-games return to premises from the recently-released Nintendo Land, whilst others focus on the controller's gyroscopic controls without even including the console's second screen.
Most WarioWare titles are simple and short, but Game & Wario is disturbingly short and empty of innovation. The best mini-game in the collection is called 'Gamer'. In this game, you take the role of a child playing your handheld GameBoy in bed. You're up way past your bedtime and your mom is constantly checking in on you to make sure you have hit the hay. The reason this mini-game is the best of the lot is that it fully utilizes both the GamePad and the television screen. On the GamePad you're switching between a variety of crazy actions such as flicking a tiny guy off of a record, and on the television screen you're trying to keep and eye out for your mother so you can hide your GameBoy from her. This concept keeps you, the gamer, focusing on two screens at once in a genius and inventive approach to the game.
Unfortunately, this is as good as Game & Wario gets. The rest of the mini-games do not show nearly as much creativity. A large portion of the games use minimal gyroscope actions that hardly show any originality. In Kung Fu, for example, gamers tilt the GamePad to guide Cricket over platforms. Or in Pirate, players have to move the GamePad around to block flying arrows. These are hardly creative uses of the GamePad.
The biggest problem with these mini-games is not that they are simple, it is the fact that they all use the GamePad in the exact same way. There is no innovation going into their design. Game and Wario is already limited in mini-games, and most of them act in the same fashion.
Game & Wario's lackluster games are not the only aspects of the title to fall short. While the WarioWare franchise has never been known for its presentation and graphics, this game does little in the looks department to impress. The game is filled with quick 2D animated cutscenes that mostly consist of colorful backgrounds and cheaply drawn characters. Being a title that focuses on mini-games, this does not necessarily hinder the game in anyway, but I feel little effort was put into these scenes.
Playing the games in Game & Wario rewards you with tokens that can be exchanged for a variety of odd items ranging from figures to toys, and even smaller sub-mini-games of sorts. It is interesting to note that the wackiness that we have come to expect from the WarioWare games seem to be more present in the unlockable treasures than in the actual game itself.
Another aspect of the game that is lackluster is the multiplayer. One of the best parts of WarioWare: Smooth Moves was its ability to be a great party game with a group of friends. Game & Wario's multiplayer, by contrast, is the complete opposite. There are only 4 multiplayer games and they leave little to be desired; the best is simply a Wario version of Pictionary.
The WarioWare series is best known for its creative and zany mini-games. Though simple and short, they bring a lot of life and fun to the table. Game & Wario does none of this. The game selection is minimal, the fun is non-existent, and the game as a whole feels rushed.
This review is based on a retail copy of Game & Wario for the Wii U.