During the heyday of the Nintendo DS and Wii, one of my favorite go to game series when throwing a party was the WarioWare set of games. These wacky, fast-paced mini-game collections were the perfect way to, not only have some hearty laughs with friends but to show off the more unique and underutilized side of Nintendo hardware. However, it’s been quiet on the WarioWare front for the better part of a decade now with the last ‘main’ game in the series released when the Wii launch in 2006 leading to the series becoming just one among many of seemingly forgotten Nintendo franchises and leads me to ask… what happened to WarioWare?
Now the franchise hasn’t been completely dormant since WarioWare: Smooth Moves helped launch the Wii with its hilarious ‘poses’ and non-nonsensical styling. In the time since we’ve gotten a small DSiWare game, WarioWare Snapped! which made use of the system’s cameras and was fun for about… 5 minutes, until you realized that the cameras just didn’t have the resolution to make for a solid, fast-paced game. This was followed by 2009’s WarioWare: D.I.Y., a game that made us make the mini-games, which was fine but like Super Mario Maker, was heavily dependent on the community’s creativity to be enjoyable. Lastly, we have Game & Wario, which… I don’t even feels warrants being mentioned here but is technically a spin-off. The game released in 2013 featured none of the fast-paced, mini-gaming the series was known for instead opting for longer, more ‘traditional’ games. Despite releasing at a time when Wii U owners were starved for content Game & Wario failed to live up to expectations and was quickly forgotten, though its ‘Gamer’ mini-game lives on as a (pretty great level) in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
So what happened to the series over… oh the last three Nintendo systems?! Smooth Moves showed us early on what the Wii Remote was all about but could you imagine a refined game that used the power of the Wii Motion Plus? Maybe even couple it with the Wii Balance Board (back when everybody had those) for some micro-games. But at least the Wii got a WarioWare game, so far the 3DS and Wii U have never gotten in on the action and that’s a pretty big omission (especially when you consider the 3DS is about to get its 3rd Mario Party game). The 3DS hardware though doesn’t lend itself all to well to having a unique WarioWare experience since it doesn’t really offer anything that couldn’t have been done in WarioWare: Touched and D.I.Y. though that doesn’t necessarily exclude it from the possibility. Nintendo has been on a tear lately of remaking games for the 3DS with Metroid: Samus Returns and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga being the most current examples. Well the system could also be the perfect home for a ‘best of’ WarioWare collection since the hardware could recreate almost every game from the series without issue, including Snapped‘s camera game and Twisted‘s motion controls.
And then there’s the Wii U, a console that never got a full WarioWare game but arguably could have benefited the most from its inclusion in the lineup. Now I don’t want to spend a ton of time discussing what a potential Wii U WarioWare would be like since Nintendo has moved on from the system but a micro-game collection that uses all of the Wii U’s features could have made for a fast, frenetic and fun game as you juggled the GamePad ‘BopIt’ style to complete the task at hand. Multiplayer could have added Wii Remotes into the fray or maybe even the fabled ‘dual GamePad support’ that was announced but never came to fruition. Needless to say there was a lot of potential here but for whatever reason we were left with the sub-par Game & Wario instead of a full, proper WarioWare game on the Wii U.
But all hope is not lost, as Nintendo’s recently released Switch console is still all young, fresh and full of potential and would be perfectly suited for a WarioWare micro-game collection. The Joy-Cons alone are jam-packed with tech that would lend itself well to the series. With motion controls, the IR camera and HD Rumble providing fresh new ways to play and that’s not even considering what the console itself with its multi-touch screen can bring to the table. 1-2-Switch was a decent beginning to mini-game collections on the Switch but its time for WarioWare to show the world what mini-gaming is all about, one zany micro-game at a time.
It’s a total mystery why Nintendo and Intelligent Systems have left the WarioWare series on the back-burner. Yes Game & Wario flopped, but that was a spin-off released in the middle of the Wii U’s worst software drought and never really had a chance when compared to its more direct predecessors. That being said, it seems like Nintendo is leaving a lot of potential great gameplay experiences on the table by not releasing a new game for the 3DS and Switch. Here’s hoping that something is being worked on that brings the series back from the dead. Heck at this point I’d even settle for WaluigiWare.