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Following the success of WarioWare: Mega Microgames on the Gameboy Advance, WarioWare was released on the Gamecube. Like its portable counterpart, and although this had shades of Mario Party's varied quick fire rounds, WarioWare Inc.: Mega Party Games was unlike anything previously released on the system. WarioWare breathed new life into the mini game genre with its imaginative, time limited, quick fire, wacky games.
Party games have existed since video games first began. They are typified by their short duration and simple tasks. More recently, the entertainment of mini-game based releases has focused on variety, novelty and quantity of experiences on offer in a single package.
Although the concept of mini-games has been around for sometime, WarioWare Inc.: Mega Party Games delivers a collection that turns the genre on its head. Each game is limited to mere seconds, and you are only provided with a one word instruction before being plunged in at the deepened. Rather than each mini-game requiring the skill to achieve each task, WarioWare Inc.: Mega Party Games challenges the player to quickly identify what it is they need to achieve. These games continue one after the other, until the player fails to make the right move in the allotted time.
Each mini-game is a riddle in its own right. The challenge is to make the connection between the one word instruction, mini-game visuals and a real world task. The written and graphical clues are such that any player young or old should be able to take a guess at what they need to do.
These riddles often draw on older video game references. Although players who didn't play these games should still be able to complete these levels, those that share this history will get the most out of the game.
Although the concept is a little odd at first, give the game some time and it starts to shine. The obtuse clues and nuanced connections force you to access an instinctive part of your brain, if you are to get through the later levels. Once you have cracked a particular mini-game you can repeat play it to see how many you can solve in a set time. WarioWare here shows its depth, as it takes each mini-game and stretches them to creative breaking point, adding tricks and speeding things up to try and out wit you.
The Gamecube version of the game has the advantage of simultaneous multiplayer over. This enables certain rounds to be played by up to four players head to head. The skipping mini-game for example has all the players pressing a button to jump rope at the right time. The last one to miss a jump is the winner.
Although this is a mini-game experience, WarioWare levels tie together a string of themed games and take a good five to ten minutes each. It is worth setting aside a good half hour to play this game. WarioWare not only has plenty of replay value, but should last a good eight to ten hours first time through.
Novice and experienced players alike should be able to enjoy WarioWare Inc.: Mega Party Games. The quick fire levels suits younger player's shorter attention spans. As we mentioned, those with a longer video gaming history will benefit from the various Nintendo references.
It should be noted that because the action relies on restricting the available time, and one word introductory clues, very young players may struggle. That said though, with a little help the multiplayer option and the whole family should be able to get involved. My five year old for example was foxed by the limited time and the sheer variety of tasks. When she played with the rest of the family as a group however, she really enjoyed the experience.
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