Developer(s) – Treasure
Publisher(s) – Nintendo
Director(s) – Kouichi Kimura & Hitoshi Yamagami
Producer(s) – Takahiro Izushi & Masato Maegawa
PEGI – 3
Release somewhat late into the GameCube’s shelf life, Wario World provided a different take on what players had seen on that particular console, but not so different from what they had already seen on past systems. I have played much worse games, but this is the first and last Nintendo game that Treasure ever developed, and understandably so.
Graphics – 7/10
One aspect I don’t think I should criticize too much is the visuals. There is some diversity present in both level and boss designs, and the enemies and characters that can be found throughout the game are not as generic as they seem at first glance. To list a few examples, the five Spritelings to be found in each level (in itself a reference to the Jinjos in the Banjo-Kazooie series) closely resemble Pikmin, the fact that the purple flying dinosaur enemies can be seen as a homage to Ridley from the Metroid series, and the Magon enemies found from the very first level closely resemble Bowser from the Super Mario series; the fact that there is a skeletal variation of the Magon would seem to clarify this even further.
Gameplay – 6.5/10
The game is a 3D platformer, but not made in the same vein as what was popular at the time; but rather made to be much more linear, and as a result, I think it suffered. It is enjoyable for a time, but it could be argued that it is far too easy; even for a Mario game, and even to complete it to 100%. Its level of difficulty made obvious to me by the fact that there are even the Magons in the first few levels that don’t attack the player. However, it is interesting to be able to identify different influences the developers took to create the game’s play; not just from Nintendo games. For example, the level and world layout are very similar to the first three Crash Bandicoot games, and the ability to spin enemies around and throw them hearkens back to the strategy of defeating Bowser in Super Mario 64.
Controls – 10/10
Another thing I shouldn’t complain about is the game’s control scheme. Although it is an easy game regardless, it could have done with no complications in terms of controls, and thankfully, there are none.
Lifespan – 4.5/10
As a 3D platformer made in the same vein as classic Crash Bandicoot, the linearity of it, unfortunately, made for a particularly and disappointingly short experience of about 5 hours. Particularly from Nintendo’s point of view, I imagine that it would have seemed like a particularly underwhelming experience, since many other games released on that system, including 3D platformers, were made to last considerably longer, and provide much more entertainment.
Storyline – 6/10
The story of the game follows Super Mario antagonist Wario, who is on a quest to reclaim his riches after they are turned into monsters by the evil anthropomorphic black jewel, which Wario had recently acquired. The only good thing I would say for it is that it is slightly different from most other plots across the Super Mario franchise since it tells a story from the point of view of evil as opposed to that of good, but it still can be seen as nothing overly special and pretty mundane.
Originality – 4/10
Although the game does have its charms here and there, in lieu of Nintendo tradition, it’s still bland enough and far too packed with recycled elements for me to be able to legitimately call it original; especially in terms of gameplay. After pioneering the 3D platforming genre with Super Mario 64, and then going on to make a ton of successful games in the same genre, it seems to me that with this game, Nintendo was actually going back on themselves; something that they rarely do. Nintendo had always pioneered themselves as innovators, but it’s evident to me that innovation wasn’t a watchword at Treasure during development.
In summation, Wario World isn’t the worst game ever developed, but it’s certainly not one of the best either. It was below par by any level of standards ever set by Nintendo and gives testament to the fact that not all developer collaborations can work out well.