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WarioWare: Touched!
Unleash the kajiggers!

Written : 03/30/05

So... WarioWare. Touched. Yep, it was pretty inevitable, and thinking about it, probably one of the most obvious franchises for use on the Nintendo DS. It's probably the most original game idea out there since forever, and it matches perfectly with the most original handheld idea ever. Or so I like to think. Well, not that I like to think, just that I beliive they go hand in hand. Both concepts are way out there, and putting them together makes good sense, right?

Now where am I to start for this one? I'm afraid it's still early in the article and I'm at a loss for words. To be honest, I don't really get rolling until the fourth or fifth paragraph. That aside, I'm going to be taking this article in a bit of a different path than you might be expecting. It's not just gonna be revew, filler, more review, and end. No, this one's gonna have a stunted review, less filler, and focus almost entirely on the assorted "souvenirs" that the game offers as unlockables.

While the game starts with a little cutscene explaining why exactly Wario is now making DS microgames (play the game or read another review to find out), the first thing that's really gonna grab your attention is the title screen. You could just tap the big blue "start" button, but you'd be missing out. And how. If you just let it sit, all sorts of crazy stuff starts to go down. Little wario noses start bouncing around, bals will roll in, giant noses you can attack with those balls float by, and all sorts of other crap. Once, I even saw a shining golden garlic with a star on top, but I neglected to poke it to see what would happen, in fear that it would cause me to implode in the messiest of ways.

The game progresses in the same way as its little brother, starting you off with Wario's scenario, and upon completion, opening more scenarios to play. The way it's done though is pretty cool, as you'll see in a screenshot to come. Rather than a ladder of characters, the selection screen is now like a little waiting room, and when you finish so many scenarios, the new characters get a lift in via taxi. It's not a huge thing, but I think it's neat. There are some really big new things here though, and it's time you got a whiff of the full poop. I mean scoop. Oh, my attempts at being funny are mediocre at best...

Most notably of there new things are the new characters, Mike and Ashley. They both fit in really well with this oddball crew, Ashley being a reclusive wannabe-witch, and Mike being a karaoke robot. Also introduced to the game is Jimmy T's family, each as disco crazed as our main man himself. Sadly, these new characters come with a price. While you get two new scenarios for Mike and Ashley, Orbulon and Dribble and Spitz no longer have their own scenario. Orbulon shows up in most cutscenes, and his ship floats around the character select screen tossing out souvenirs, but Dribble and Spitz are not present at all, unless you assume the taxi that drops off new characters is driven by them. Oh well. Another thing I should note is that this is the introduction of some of these new characters in North America. WarioWare: Twisted! came out first in Japan, and apparently had some of these new kids in it, but the releases were reversed over here in the N to the A. In fact, Twisted is still currently unreleased here due to a last minute delay.

The characters no longer rely on genre of microgames to define one from the other, and now each comes equipped with a different way of playing his or her games. Mona's games for example, have you "slice" the touch screen, generally to cut things. Dr. Crygor's, on the other hand, make you draw circles to twist or spin things. And Mike's game are all, fittingly enough, controlled by the microphone. A couple of the characters, like 9-Volt and Wario-Man do present a hodgepodge of control methods. Oh, and none of the games use buttons at all. It's all either touch- or mic-controlled. The only problem this presents is that while the microgames themselves are usually pretty varied, repetitiveness does set in a bit quicker than some would like, as your touch options amount to dragging, scribbling, and poking. It personally doesn't bother me, but I've heard many express their discontent with this minor issue.

As I said, the games themselves are pretty well designed. Take the two above for example. The first, "Famicom" has you blow into the mic to control various games (the Famicom controller actually had a mic built in... who knew?), and on the hard level, you have to slide the volume switch to the max, and then blow on it to win. The second one, "Game On" has you setting up a GameCube for play. You'll have to either put the disc in, plug in a controller, close the top, and hit the power button, or a combination of those, depending on the difficulty level. This is probably my favourite microgame, based solely on concept. I dunno, it's different.

The graphics are pretty much teh same as the game's former incarnations, if slightly better due to the DS' increased graphical capabilities. And yes, while most of it is presented in two dimensions, the game does make acceptable use of our dual-screened friend's powers of 3D. One game has you twisting around various handhelds in search of a button, and they're impressively well-rendered. We all know the DS isn't the mightiest of systems graphics-wise, but the 3D stuff in this game is pretty convincing. And of course, the games are presented in a wide varitey of styles, from intricate anime-esque drawings to stick men to pixelated glory, so it all fits together somehow, in that it's all so different. This is what we've come to expect from WarioWare, and we would be more than disappointed if it were suddenly uniform.

There isn't a whole lot to say about the music, as for the most part, the tunes last for about five seconds. But the other stuff, like the title screen theme and credits music and so forth, is all good. Catchy stuff, some of it. The part that wins me and pretty much everyone else is hands-down the themes for our new characters. Rather than generic instrumentals, Mike and Ashley both get full-blown theme songs. The vocals are slightly grainy, but unless you're nitpicking, it's negligible. On that point, Ashley's theme has a very Rare (the game company) sound to it. Maybe it's the instruments, I'm not sure, but it sounds like it would be right at home in a Banjo-Kazooie game.

And now that I've summed up what goes on in this game, it's time to get to the real meat of this article: a review of each and every (except one) souvenir you can acquire throughout the game. You'll notice that a good portion of them look like they were drawn very quickly in Paint, and that's because they were. It's the kind of thing where I needed a screenshot for each individual thing, and could in no way get one for each, so I just made my own. And I did it with just more than half an ass, so if you think they look like crap, tough noogies. That's how it's gonna be, because I don't give a damn as long as it looks vaguely like what it's supposed to be representing.

The most prevalent new feature in WarioWare: Touched! is the Toy Room. When you accomplish certain tasks in the game, a little icon is chucked into Orbulon's UFO, and tapping it will make him relinquish the goodie, which you can then play with to your heart's content (which will range from about 2 seconds to infinitely).

There are 34 of these distractions available in the game, but only 33 are reviewed here, due to the fact that you have to own WarioWare: Twisted! to get the last one. I was trying to wait until it was released so that I could get them all, but the delay was announced like three days before release, and I just couldn't put off the article any longer. So without further filler, here we go, the 33 souvenirs of WarioWare: Touched!.

1. Snow Man

The first souvenir (though not necessarily the first you'll acquire) is the Snow Man. It's simple enough. there's a snow ball, and you drag it around for a while, and once it gets big enough, it'll grow arms, a face, and a bucket hat. From here, you can poke him to make him blow up in a flurry of snow-bits. New snowballs will respawn infinitely, so if popping snowmen is what turns your crank, you'll certainly love fooling arund with this one. I find it amusing, and usually get through at least three snowmen before I decide to find something more interesting to do.

Rating = 3/5

2. Wario Spinner

It's one of those optical illusion things. You blow into the mic, and if you spin it fast enough, the two images will come together and look like one. Sadly, it doesn't work all that well, but I'll give them points for trying. Other than that, heap big waste of time.

Rating = 1/5

3. Whistle a Tune

This is the worst thing ever, due to the fact that it's the reward you get for completing everything in the game (essentially). You blow into the mic, it makes notes. The same notes, over and over. You can adjust the force of your breath to change the notes, but it's kinda difficult, and kinda stupid, so you'll never play this more than once, just to see what it is. This thing probably caused a lot of broken DS units, as I can imagine many people slamming their DS when outraged that all their hard work yielded an item worse than crap. Seriously, a log of crap that you could poke and deform would be a lot more fun than this.

Rating = 0/5

4. Calculator

It would be really handy, but it cannot multiply or divide, or do anything much more than add and subtract. I mean, you don't use calculators for addition or subtraction, those are easy enough that I can do them in my head. It's the multiplication and division that need calculation. Essentially worthless, but a nice try. If it had more functions, it would have been gold. On a separate note, the pic is of the "calculator" microgame, not of the actual toy.

Rating = 2/5

5. Juggle Boy

Slap his hands to make him juggle! Yep, that's it. The first real mini-game of the bunch, and probably the hardest. It sounds really simple, but it took me a good seven tries to top the high score. Kinda fun though, if you get into it. And it does get progresively harder too, every so often throwing in another juggling... thing. It's a notable entry, only slightly less cool than the Snow Man.

Rating = 3/5

6. Piano

I guess if you know how to play a piano, you could derive some sort of entertainment from poking the keys for a while. Me, I can't play piano, so I tossed it to the wayside and have never looked back. (I secretly looked back once, just to make sure.)

Rating = 2/5

7. Orbit Ball

Now here's a real winner! This game is great. A variation of Kat & Ana's boss game, this mini-game has you bouncing the little head into space and beyond. Basically, you draw a line on the bottom screen, and your little friend uses it as a trampoline to bounce further into the sky. Once you get high up, it starts ricochetting off stars and bouncing really fast, so it gets a little tough, but it's fun to play, regardless of how bad one may be at it. That, and the title screen looks really cool.

Rating = 5/5

8. Air Toss 2000

Mesmerizing fun. blow into the mic, and the little ball floats up. And it makes a woogly sound too. ...I don't know how else to describe the sound than "woogly". And even that's off by a lot. It's the simple things that are really fun, and I can't get enough of this doodad. In all honesty, I've always wanted a real one of these things, just to see if they actually work.

Rating = 4/5

9. Metronome

I don't understand... The only Metronome I'm familiar with is the attack from Pokémon, and this is certianly not it. You can adjust certain things on it, but I still don't get it. And why would you possibly need a portable metronome anyway? The calculator could come in handy (provided it could do complicated math), but this? Worthless.

Rating = 0/5

10. Wario Paint

If you like to colour things without the hassle of staying inside the lines, this one's for you. Me, I'd prefer to have actual brush control, but I guess if you can only fill, you can only fill. It's fun for a while, but once you get over the thrill of giving everyone evil red eyes, it wears a bit thin.

Rating = 3/5

11. Pong Ping

One of the two things in the game that use buttons, Pong Ping is a pleasant diversion, assuming you have a friend available or enjoy playing ping pong against yourself. It's a standard game of ping pong, one player sits on each side of the DS, and uses either the L or R button to swing their paddle. You can't move the paddles, so it's really just a game of timing, but it's entertaining anyway. And a bit thrilling too.

Rating = 5/5

12. Kitchen Timer

If it weren't for the fact that it has a very slim chance of actually being handy, this would be just as crap as the Whistle a Tune thing. I've come up with a practical use for it - using it as a break timer at work - but other than that, it doesn't see much action. Now what would be nice, is if you could turn it on, and then play something else while it counts down in the background. But if they were going to do that, they'd have done it with the DS' built-in alarm thing.

Rating = 1/5

13. Pet Brine Buddies

Sea Monkeys, people. Sea monkeys without the five billion little packets. The cool thing is that there are random amounts of little life forms in the jar each time you check it out, and a bunch of different things that can appear. Well, not that many, but every once in a while, you can find a tiny little mermaid. And dragging the light bulb will turn it on and draw all the little brineys to it. They don't do anything else to my knowledge, and they're about as entrancing as real sea monkeys. So you'll stare at it for five minutes and then never look at it again.

Rating = 2/5

14. Wind Chime

You blow in the mic, the chime goes ding-a-ling. Even I can't stretch it out any further than that.

Rating = 1/5

15. Reel-to-Reel

Spin the reels to make the Chain Chomp movie play. I think it might be randomized, but he pretty much just crashes through walls. Once I saw him fall down a hole. That was the greatest thing ever. He popped out and was so angry...

Rating = 1/5

16. Bubble Blaster

This one's even more fun than the Air Toss 2000. Just blow into it, and out come the bubbles! And they react like real bubbles too! You might be surprised to hear that this is my second most played-with toy in the collecion. You'll have to wait to find out what the first is. Maybe it's the nostaliga of being like three years old that makes me love this so much. Or maybe I just like blowing bubbles. Sadly, you cannot pop said bubbles.

Rating = 5/5

17. Clacker

Ooh, the Clacker. I can remember playing with similar gadgets as a kid. As if you don't know how it works. Just drag one bead upwards, let go, and let it smack into the other. A good amount of fun, but it doesn't beat the Bubble Blaster. The real deal is a lot more entertaining.

Rating = 3/5

18. They Hunger

It's not totally dumb... You touch the stylus to the screen and they'll zip right to it and follow it around, should you move it. And if you just leave them alone for a while, they'll start making shapes like a star, a circle, and a ...triple helix? I'm not sure if that's what it's called. There may be more, but they just cycled through those three for me. I even only saw the circle once.

Rating = 2/5

19. Spirometer

This one wins a lot of nifty points. If you don't know what a spirometer is, you blow into it, and the ball goes up, measuring your lung capacity. Or something to that effect. If you do really good, you can even pop the top off the thing. And just for good measure, the ball colour is randomized. No big deal, but I noticed it and that means it's worth a mention.

Rating = 3/5

20. Play by Ear

It's pretty dumb. You blow in the mic to make the harmonica play, and use the buttons and d-pad to change to note. Yes, this is the only other occasion where you're going to be pressing buttons. It's cooler than Whistle a Tune, but only by so much. If you know some notes, I guess you might have fun, but I don't have enough coordination to both blow into the mic and press the buttons at once. Yeah, I think it's dumb, but it's still at least piqued my interest a little. I played with it for a couple minutes before giving up, and that's saying enough.

Rating = 1/5

21. Air Dude

This is neat, but dumb. The point is to blow into the mic to keep Air Dude afloat for as long as you can. The trick is, that if you blow too hard, he'll end up falling over backwards, and descending as fast as he would were you not blowing at all. I'm sure that any better writer would have made some kind of pun about how this game blows. It is slightly entertaining though, so I can't say it's bringing down the collection.

Rating = 2/5

22. Party Tooter

Possibly the only toy of its kind that I think to be a waste. The Bubble Blaster and Clacker are fun, but this one wears thin really fast. Like I've said many times before, if you've got a thing for tooters, you'll get a kick out of this, but you're much better off with the real thing. At least you can poke people in the eye with a real one.

Rating = 1/5

23. Turntable

The diamond-in-the-rough for us music lovers, the Turntable is a great gizmo. While it only plays three songs, they're all songs that warrant being there. Firstly is Ashley's theme, because it's funny. Then you've got the theme from Hogan's Alley and some song from Mario Paint (having never played the game, I can't identify the track). The only downside to this toy is that they didn't include Mike's theme. Mike's theme is awesome, with the techno, and the singing robot, and the "Go! Go! Mike!" space bunnies...

Rating = 5/5

24. Yo-yo

It's a yo-yo. That's for sure. The only thing interesting about it is that you have to turn your DS upside-down unless you like the idea of a gravity-defying yo-yo. Other than that, it's a pretty substandard yo-yo. You can't even bust out any sweet tricks with it. Just up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down...

Rating = 1/5

25. Big Hurl

Again, this screenshot isn't of the mini-game itself, but of its microgame cousin. But that aside, the mini-game is pretty much the same. Draw circles on the touch screen to make the dude twirl around, and then take your stylus off the screen to make him chuck the hammer. It's got a high score thing, so you can gauge how well you've done and stuff. Oh, and I should mention that all of the mini-games have preset high scores, and topping those scores will net you another souvenir. At least they give you a little incentive to play them.

Rating = 1/5

26. Grandma Simulator

Possibly the most oddball concept in the entire WarioWare series, and that's saying a lot. Grandma sits there, and if you blow into the mic to "cool off her tea", she'll share with you some excellent grandmotherly advice. Most of them are stupid and nonsensical, but at least one had me laughing pretty hard. I can't remember what it was. Oh well, as grandma says, "celery happens".

Rating = 3/5

27. Pet Parrot

This is really cool. The DS mic had never really been used as a microphone until now. As you may have guessed, you say something into it, and the parrot will repeat. It speeds it up and increases the pitch, so it sounds more like one of the Chipmunks than a parrot, but it's still fun to play with. And the best part is that there is no limit to what you can record, though it does only play short bursts of long recordings. I once had the parrot record all four minutes and one seconds of a remix of the AirMan theme from MegaMan 2. My life is action packed.

Rating = 5/5

28. Light Show

As if you would draw anything different. And now my site doesn't lack wang, as a Penny-Arcade banner that's sitting on the old main page would like you believe. It's a neat thing, as you draw, and what you draw changes colours. Sometimes it just goes from white to one colour, but if you're lucky, it'll go all rainbow on your ass. Sadly, the lines you trace disappear rather quickly, so you can't do much other than watch the pretty colours.

Rating = 4/5

29. Snore Rope

Bo-ring! ...Anyhow, it's a dumb game. You blow into the mic to keep the geezer afloat, and you have to keep him in the confines of the "jump rope". It gets tough after like 10 points, when the rope begins to move up and down, forcing you to actually try. There's a microgame similar to this, but you have to keep the geezer from beng smacked by flying objets or eaten by the monster below. It's a lot more fun.

Rating = 1/5

30. Game Credits

It's the credits, give it a break. Nothing to do here but try to smack the thousands of tiny little triforces, hearts, GameCube logos and W's. You can't even poke the names or anything. Oh well, I guess necessity breeds boring toys. Or something to the effect...

Rating = 2/5

31. Pet Chameleon

Just like the parrot, but he does chameleon stuff rather than parrot stuff. This includes lashing out his tongue if you poke the screen, rolling around his big eye, and changing colours to match the wallpaper. You can make the wallpaper change by pulling down the new sheets that appear at the top of the screen, and he'll change to match it! Astounding!

Rating = 1/5

32. Pyoro T

The third-best (in my opinion, of course) toy in the collection, Pyoro T is easily the one most people will get the most use out of. The object of the game is to defend the flowers on Pyoro's planetoid from the invading bugs by licking them. And how is this accomplished? By pulling Pyoro's tail on the touch screen and snapping it back at him to make him lash his Yoshi-esque tongue. It's even better than the two Pyoro games on the original WarioWare. Combined. I can't wait to see what kind of Pyoro WarioWare: Twisted!'s got cooking.

Rating = 6/5

33. Custard

...jigglejigglejigglejigglejiggle... It's just so entrancing. Maybe it's because it was the first souvenir I unlocked, but I love this thing. My favourite toy of them all does nothing more than jiggle around a bit when you poke it. You can pull on it a bit, but it'll snap back into place after a little jiggling.

Rating = 5/5

And that's the whole gamut. You've seen every little diversion packed into WarioWare: Touched!. Except for one, but that's aside from the point. A lot of them are good for no more than several seconds of oddity, but a couple of them really shine and will have you coming back more than the actual game itself will. And speaking of that, It's certainly worth it's weight in garlic. And quite moreso, as it weighs like nothing. I do have to give it a pretty high recommendation. While some find it repetitive and complain that it has less content than other WarioWare titles (Twisted! apparently has around 130 souvenirs. That'll be a fun review), I found it more enjoyable than the first, and slightly less than the GCN version, as multiplayer rocks my socks. And it's made some pretty cheap review material. Approximately 4200 words with minimal effort and time. Until next time, suckers.

E-Mail: Mr_Hotshot64v2[at]hotmail[dot]com