Wario Land 3 is a unique take on the platforming genre. While featuring basic coin collection and platforming elements, the Wario land series puts a twist on the genre by making Wario an indestructible character. While Wario may be invulnerable, he suffers different effects when he is attacked by his enemies. While this may seem to be a disadvantage, the conditions his enemies inflict upon him actually give him new abilities that allow him to overcome the obstacles in his path. Wario must use this asset and his wits to find and collect different colored keys to open color-coded treasure chests. The contents of these chests allow access to new areas, new powerups, or change in previous levels. The difficulty of accessing the various chests combined with Wario's invincibility make the game a very puzzle focused affair.
Wario is cruising along in his plane one day when the engine sputters out and he crashes down to the woods below. He quickly discovers a cave, and heading inside finds a music box on a stand. To Wario's surprise, there appears to be a tiny little world inside the box! As he inspects it closer, the box begins to glow, and Wario is drawn into the world! He finds himself inside a temple, where he is addressed by a large, shadowy figure. The figure tells Wario that it was imprisoned by an evil being, which took it's power away and sealed it inside the temple. Only by finding five magical music boxes and restoring the being to it's former status as ruler of the music box can Wario leave. Of course, he is more motivated by the being's promise of allowing him to keep all the treasure he finds on his way.
As it would turn out, the figure was actually the evil Rudy the Clown. After a somewhat short final battle, all the enemies in the game revert to their original form as innocent citizens of Music Box Land. Wario is hailed as a hero as the village elder tells him that Rudy the Clown put the curse on all of the people before he was sealed away, they tryed to stop Wario but they never guessed that he could actually beat Rudy. He is sent back to his world with a massive bag of treasure. He winks at the screen and runs off.
Wario Land 3 plays like a typical two-dimensional platformer, with a few twists. Just like he was in the previous game, Wario is completely invincible and cannot die. Often the stages require Wario to alter himself in comical and unique ways to get through a level. Such conditions include lighting Wario on fire, eating an item to make Wario even fatter (it's apparently possible), or inflating him to float through a level. Time of day also factored into the stages, with nighttime bringing zombies or other creatures that could either help or hinder Wario depending on the situation. The various ways in which the levels and Wario himself can be altered mean plenty of backtracking and non-linear gameplay, along with many multi-part puzzles. Wario Land 3's unique presentation was enhanced by colorful character and level design and a catchy soundtrack.
Since Wario Land 2 had diverted the series from a Mario spinoff into its own unique platforming series involving invulnerability, this game (And WL2) has instead focused hugely on Wario being afflicted by various coniditons which some enemies or objects can place him under. A detailed explanation of each coniditon is included below:
Fat Wario is able to bounce off enemy attacks and break blocks underneath him that regular Wario cannot break. This is done by eating a donut thrown at Wario from one of the enemies.
Spring Wario can jump far higher than regular Wario, but he also uncontrollably bounces around. This powerup is given to players when they are hit by an enemy that has a hammer with the ability to crush Wario into a spring.
Wario becomes a green, slimy zombie when hit by certain enemies. In this form, Wario walks slowly and falls through thin floors when he jumps on them which he wouldn't fall through otherwise. Touching water or a source of light will immediately dezombify him.
When covered by snow, Wario turns into a giant snowball (with eyes and a moustache.) and can move onto a slope to roll down it. Like a real snowball, as he rolls he will grow bigger, giving him the ability to break certain blocks. However, the snowball has to travel directly once it starts rolling and cannot stop.
When bitten by a flock of bats or hit by certain enemies, Wario will turn into a Vampire. He has two forms. In regular form, Wario floats around with a ghostlike lower body. In bat form, he turns into a bat. If Wario touches any light or water, he will return to his regular form.
When stung by bees, Wario ends up getting an allergic reaction, causing his face to swell up to gigantic proportions and him to float like a balloon. As Balloon Wario, Wario can float upwards until he hits a ceiling or an obstacle, in which case, he will deflate and begin to fall.
When Wario is set on fire, he runs back and forth with his arms up, panicking. When in this form, he destroys all in his path and eventually burns out and returns to normal.
When Wario has been squished into a pancake, he can jump short distances in the air and gently float downwards like a piece of paper would. This also allows him to enter small crevices and walk across small pits which he'd fall through otherwise.
When a crazy scientist throws one of his potions at Wario, it can turn him invisible. This can be useful in some situations. Of course there are ways to remove this invisibility.
More of a hinderence than anything. Some enemies can freeze Wario, causing him to slide backwards until he collides with a wall, at which point his frozen body breaks and he is back to normal.
Some enemies (such as ghosts) can land on Wario, temporarily blinding him until he collides with another object.
The game also features a golfing minigame where Wario attempts to knock an enemy into a golf tee within a certain number of attempts. The game only takes place in two dimensions, so all Wario really needs to do is alter the power of his shots. If he times his shot incorrectly while setting it's power, he will trip and lose a stroke. Also, there are several obstacles located on every hole, like bodies of water or lava pits. Hitting the enemy into one of these will also cost Wario a stroke. Playing this game is actually necessary to open up certian paths through stages, so practicing it is a good idea. Also, each stage contains eight giant coins with a musical note on them. By collecting every musical coin the game has to offer, Wario will unlock an extended version of the Golf game where he will play through an entire course and get a total score at the end.