theuselessgod's Atsumare!! Made in Wario (GameCube) review

The very definition of a cheap cash grab. Wario would be proud.

The Short

Pros

- 200 microgames playable in both single and multiplayer

- Eight multiplayer modes of a wide variety that focus on the microgames

- Minigames and modes are fun, especially with a group of friends

- WarioWare charm shines through

- Can play on a GBA with a link cable, though I have no idea why

Cons

- All the minigames are exactly the same ones in the GBA Warioware: Mega Microgames

- As such, the graphical quality looks like a GBA game

- While there are some really good multiplayer modes, a few are genuine duds

- Not as many wild unlockables as in the GBA versions of the game

- No real story mode for single player; mostly just playing through the minigames back to back

Send a cat to space.

The LongI guess I should have expect it. After all, the premise for WarioWare: Epic Microgames on the GBA was that Wario wanted to wring as much money out of people as possible by developing quick, easy games that ripped off other games. As such, I suppose this Gamecube iteration, WarioWare: Mega Party Games follows the ideology well: it's a complete rehash of the GBA game, just in multiplayer form. As such, I don't know if I should be mad at Nintendo for releasing what is essentially a cash grab, or praise them for making reality match the fiction set in the Wario universe.

I'm really overthinking this.

WarioWare: Mega Party Games is just that: a bunch of party games. However, unlike games like Mario Party where it's 75% awful board game and 25% fun minigames, Mega Party Games gets the balance right. It's streamlined, fast, and all the games are unlocked from the get go.

It's just too bad there's really no original single player content here to speak of.

Playing space minigame Othello. Yeah, why not.

Mega Party Games has no "story" to speak of. That's right, they even got rid of the phoned in versions they made for Mega Microgames and Twisted. If you are the kind of person who is buying this game to play single player: you probably shouldn't, unless there is no way at all to get your hands on something that plays GBA games. The single player is a very stripped down version of the GBA original (again, with all the same microgames as the original) and as such lacks a lot of the charm and hooks that made the original so endearing. While, yes, the games are still a lot of fun single player, it's very obvious it was phoned-in for this installment.

Mega Party Games is meant to be played multiplayer, and as such that is where the most fun will be had.

An impossible level of coordination.

Mega Party Games has eight themed multiplayer modes with two little throwaway bonuses (jumprope and paper airplane race). Each of these modes ranges from "mediocre" to "great," and in order to unlock them all you have to play through each at least once. There's even one that's cooperative, oddly enough, where one person plays and the others shine lights so they can see what's going on. But the rest are full on competitive.I have to give them props for variety. One is space othello, where in order to capture a square you have to play a required number of minigames correctly (as one would guess, corners require long chains). Another is simply random microgame assignment with lives, where sometimes all four go at once. A Mario Party esque one in terms of random winning is an e-card one (based on the failed GBA e-reader), where one mess up can send you from first to last. It's a solid assortment.

Some are fantastic. Our house favorite is the balloon one, which is a variation of hot potato. One player is put through a microgame while the others pound the A button to fill a balloon. Once you beat the microgame the next player cycles through, and whomever the balloon pops on loses. It's fast and frantic with a good mix of random and strategy, so it works.

Then you have the weird ones, or just plain bad. Mona's requires someone to play a minigame while doing something "weird" (such as covering one eye, holding their breath, etc) in real life, and after accomplishing the game the rest of the players "clap" to vote on how well they did. The microgames actually do nothing when it comes to scoring, so it's really just an example of what happens when you run out of ideas.

Clap away, puppets!

I will say this: the frantic pace of WarioWare makes for some excellent multiplayer. While I wish it had more options in terms of difficulty and speed, the game does scale based on performance, meaning better players will have harder challenges as things progress. Most modes last around five minutes, enhancing the whole "let's go one again!" mentality that party games are supposed to evoke. With a group of friends (intoxicated or otherwise), Mega Party Games can be a chaotic hoot.But I've been avoiding the elephant in the room: the microgames themselves. And how they are exactly the same 200 from the GBA game released just before this one.

They go so far as to show it being played on a GBA on your TV. Shameless, much?

I kid you not: there are maybe a dozen original microgames in this collection, and all those are the four-player specific ones. The rest of the microgames are cut-and-paste identical to the GBA release Mega Microgames. So much so that you can even plug a GBA in through the GBA+Gamecube connector and play them on your Game Boy instead, at the same graphical fidelity. Are you even trying, Nintendo?To be fair, all the original microgames are fantastic, but as someone who played the first game to death I was genuinely disappointed to not see an original game in the bunch. Not to mention that since I had played the first game and none of my friends had, it made for a rather dramatic unfair advantage. If the idea behind the microgames is they are just a few seconds long and incredibly easy to create, why the heck did Nintendo not make a few more specific to this game?

Dance!

It gets even worse: not only are they the same games, they are the same graphical resolution as well, meaning they look pretty mediocre on the Gamecube. I thought the minigames were funny and had decent graphical quality on my tiny GBA screen, but blown up big-style on my TV I could absolutely see the GBA fuzziness. It's like they didn't even try.The sounds are all directly ripped from the GBA version, with only a few originals in the mix. They're all just as memorable and catchy as before, but the digitized voices which were passable on the GBA because of the inferior hardware still sound like they are coming off a cartridge when we all know they're on one of those Gamecube minidiscs. For shame, Nintendo. For shame.

This game made sense on the GBA, because the GBA looks like that. On the Gamecube...not so much.

Despite me not wanting to say this, I still like Mega Party Games, if only because the WarioWare formula works so well for a frantic multiplayer experience. This game is an absolutely shameless cash grab (and at least Nintendo seemed to know it, as they released it at budget price of $30 back when it first came out) and undeniably lazy, but despite that I still had a lot of fun with it. If you are getting it because you want more single player WarioWare: don't. This is not a single player game, even though it touts such on the back of the box. But if you want a frantic multiplayer experience and are sick of the obnoxious Mario Party games, WarioWare is an excellent alternative.Just don't think too much about how Nintendo survives of selling you the same games over and over and over until the end of time. Three out of five stars.

The eReader: Truly ahead of its time.

More at http://nathanvsvideogames.blogspot.com

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