Short n' Ugly, Like Wario
I have a confession to make, I don't care for the 2D Mario games. Wait! Don't throw rotten tomatoes at me! I may not like those old Mario games, but I LOVE the Wario Land series on Gameboy. The mix of fun platforming, puzzles and Wario's interesting transformations made the Wario Land games some of the greatest gaming experiences I've ever had. So when Nintendo announced Wario World for the Gamecube, I thought "hey Mario was great in 3D, I'll LOVE Wario in 3D" I saw the mediocre reviews by all the major publications, but I didn't care, I slapped my $50 down on the counter got myself a copy. Well, lets just say that was a mistake.
The game begins with Wario asleep in his castle, when he hears some rumbling in his castle. Apparently, one of the jewels he looted from who-knows-where came alive and turned his castles and treasures into enemies and crazy worlds to kick some ass in. Fine, I don't play platformers for their stories.
Wario World is a side scrolling beat 'em up with platforming elements. Wario moves from left to right beating the crap out af a variety of enemies while collecting various trinkets. The combat is simplistic, Wario can punch, ground-pound, pile drive and twirl around baddies. This is fun for the first few levels, but gets boring quick. The levels themselves aren't even that large, but seem bigger than they really are because of all of the monotonous combat. The designers tried to combat this by putting in a bunch of stuff to collect, like crystals to unlock bosses, antiques, parts of a Wario statue and of course coins, but at no point do you feel that there's any importance or point to these collectibles.
This isn't the Wario of old. Where are the puzzles? Where were Wario's transformations? Where was his shoulder barge attack? Wario World takes out everything that made Wario Land special in the first place. What we are left with is an empty shell of a platformer. This game is ridiculously easy, but even if you die, you enter a nether-realm of sorts where you lose coins until you can find a jump pad to bounce out and back to the regular level.
It's a boring experience of beating up easy enemies and collecting a bunch of stuff, but there are some good points. The boss fights in particular are fun and kind of challenging, there are sub-levels in the game that remind me of the simple waterpack-less stages from Mario Sunshine. Wario's mannerisms and style also adds something to the game, but personality only goes so far. There is a bonus for GameBoy Advance owners, in Wario World, you can unlock microgames from WarioWare, upload them to your GameBoy Advance. It's a nice diversion, but you'll never want to touch it if you already own WarioWare.
The graphics are decent, nothing to write home about and the sound effects and music are bland. Wario has a few funny quips, but they're funny the first 10 times you hear them.
So, what's Wario without puzzles, transformations and just a lack of overall depth? Wario World. This game is short, you can beat it all completely in about a day. There are only 8 levels and 5 bosses in the game, much too short to recommend. Pass on it and play something else.