WarioWare: Get It Together! review: absurdly addictive, weirdly tame
“WarioWare: Get It Together’s character-swapping gimmick adds unnecessary confusion to a perfectly enjoyable microgame collection.”
- Wacky microgames
- Delightful comedy
- Strong gameplay loop
- Addictive crew management
- Weak character gimmick
- Lacks creative controls
- Low party game potential
Within minutes of playing WarioWare: Get it Together!, I looked down at my Switch utterly perplexed. I wasn’t confused by all the impossibly buff statues or gachapon-pooping chickens; I just didn’t understand why I was pressing buttons on my Joy-Cons instead of swinging them around wildly.
In previous iterations, the WarioWare games have taken full advantage of Nintendo’s tech experiments and thrived because of it. WarioWare: Touched! makes excellent use of the Nintendo DS touchscreen, while WarioWare: Smooth Moves is the rare Wii game that was improved by motion controls. In theory, the Switch is a perfect place for the series. The gyroscopes, HD rumble, and seemingly forgotten IR sensors all feel like features that could have come together to form another intuitive collection of 5-second minigames with creative control schemes. So why was I moving a joystick and pressing A in every game instead?
WarioWare: Get It Together! is a welcome return for one of Nintendo’s most joyfully weird series, bringing some light portable entertainment. Though it’s hard to ignore how much of a missed opportunity it is too, as it trades in enthusiastic control experiments for a strangely down to Earth character-swapping gimmick.
Structurally, WarioWare: Get It Together! is something of a return to form after the Wii U’s baffling Game & Wario. It’s a fast-paced collection of minigame gauntlets where players have to complete bite-sized challenges in rapid succession. One minute you’re squeezing ketchup over a plate of spaghetti, the next you’re putting out fires by tilting a peeing cherub statue to the right angle. The joy of WarioWare is that it doesn’t give players more than a second to process its bizarre visual gags. Games end in mere seconds, making it a constant barrage of absurd punchlines.
The main difference this time around — and it’s a big one — is that the game features multiple characters, each of which has their own special playstyle. Wario can freely move across the screen and shoulder tackle obstacles. Meanwhile, 9-Volt only skateboards back and forth, shooting a projectile straight up. Every microgame is designed so that any character can complete it, though players may need to think outside the box in some situations.
It’s as clever as it is uneven. Sometimes I’d stumble onto a surprising solution that made me feel like a mad genius who had broken the game. One microgame asks players to push a dog’s tongue up so it can swallow water from a dripping faucet. Instead, I found that I could use Penny, who has a water gun, to simply fill its mouth without interacting with its tongue at all. The ability premise works best when players can accidentally stumble on little aha moments like that.
Get It Together! often asks players to assemble a small team of characters to tackle any given playlist, but there are certain characters that I never even think about using.
Those are few and far between, though. More often, I’d find myself butting up against objectives my character was objectively worse than others at. That’s especially notable when it comes to characters who can freely fly around vs. ones who can only move by grabbing moving rings. One minigame has players searching for a cell phone signal. With a character like Wario, it’s as simple as flying past some icons to find the right one. With someone like 16-Volt, a stationary character who needs to throw a projectile at a ring in order to move, that same game is a complete struggle.
Get It Together! often asks players to assemble a small team of characters to tackle any given playlist, but there are certain characters that I never even think about using. Characters like Pyoro, who shoots his tongue out at a diagonal angle to attack, are difficult to use and don’t have any real advantages. Why would I select him over Ashley, who flies freely while shooting projectiles in every direction? The game never gives a good answer to that question, making certain characters feel entirely obsolete.
While its core gimmick doesn’t quite work, the game is still a delightful oddity. There’s a quick, but enjoyable two-and-a-half-hour story mode to complete (which seems short, but is on par with previous WarioWare games), but the real fun comes from high score chasing after. Players can dive into microgame playlists and try to complete as many as possible before losing four lives. While the microgames aren’t always the series’ most brilliant creations (save for the Nintendo-themed one, which features a hilarious cameo from Fire Emblem: Three House’s tea times), they become especially addictive when played in a high-stakes, high-speed gauntlet.
What’s most surprising, though, is how well Get It Together! links all of its little systems and modes together. Story mode and Play-o-pedia (which lets players simply play a specific microgame over and over) serve as the game’s main hook, but they’re part of a larger ecosystem. The game features achievements, which reward coins for completing different challenges. Those direct players to hit certain goals, like getting a certain score on a playlist, giving more motivation to play beyond score chasing.
Coins earned from achievements funnel into the game’s bizarrely entertaining crew management mode. Players basically use in-game cash to buy random items from chicken-shaped gachapon machines. Those items can be given to each character as a gift, granting them a certain amount of experience points. As they level up, each character gets some light customization options and some art. I quickly found myself totally obsessed as I tried to unlock every single “prezzie” and deduce which gifts are best for each character to maximize experience gain.
What’s most surprising, though, is how well Get It Together! links all of its little systems and modes together.
More importantly, level-ups increase a character’s ability score in Wario Cup, which has the potential to be the game’s lasting hook. Every week, the game will feature a different ranked challenge playlist for players to compete in. Get a high score, win some fabulous prizes. Since the game is sorely lacking online features, this ends up being its only real leaderboard. I spent hours trying to perfect the first week’s challenge, a collection of hyper-fast games where players only control the skateboarding 9-Volt. The more I leveled him up in crew mode, the higher score multiplier I’d get in Wario Cup.
That’s when the full pipeline reveals itself. Play minigames to complete achievements. Unlock achievements to get coins. Use coins to buy prezzies. Use prezzies to level up characters. Use leveled-up characters to get an edge in Wario Cup. It’s an elegant loop that had me hooked for way longer than I expected. With Wario Cup dishing out ongoing weekly challenges, there’s a good chance I keep checking in once a week to hit that full cycle.
Get It Together! Features a heavy emphasis on multiplayer, which is unsurprising given its Super Smash Bros-esque character select screen. Two players can work together to set high scores or up to four can compete in a series of minigames. While some of the multiplayer modes are simplistic duds, like a boring volleyball game that feels like it was built in Nintendo’s Game Builder Garage, the modes that revolve around head-to-head microgame clearing provide some hectic fun. Clearing a game in seconds is tough enough as is and that only gets tenser when you’re trying to finish it before three other people (or try to finish it while those three people frantically bounce the screen up and down as you try to play).
While it’s easy to envision the multiplayer working with players who all know the game, the overcomplicated character system makes it more difficult as a casual party game. In WarioWare, it’s already tough enough for a newcomer to figure out how to complete an objective on the fly (my inexperienced multiplayer partner stared dumbfounded at the screen as vague commands like “Fill” flashed on the screen). In Get It Together!, they’ll also need to learn 20 different characters and what each does. The story mode does a good job at introducing each character’s powers throughout, but there are no tutorials in multiplayer.
That’s where I come back to my disappointment about the game’s lack of Joy-con support. WarioWare: Smooth Moves is so successful as a party game because its microgames are so easy to understand. When players are asked to “answer the phone,” it’s not hard to figure out that they need to lift the Wiimote to their ear. The best WarioWare titles feature that level of natural design that make them so irresistible.
While it’s easy to envision the multiplayer working with players who all know the game, the overcomplicated character system makes it more difficult as a casual party game.
That’s not the case here. Instead, players will have to explain the already confusing premise of WarioWare and then run down the character system on top of that. And since some characters are just harder to control or objectively worse at minigames than others, I wouldn’t blame a newbie for feeling utterly baffled by what’s happening … for the wrong reasons.
Get It Together! works best as a solo high score race played in 10-minute bursts. It’s just a shame that it’s such a tough sell as a party game, because the Switch is sorely lacking in that department. Let me throw my Joy-con through my TV already!
WarioWare: Get It Together! contains a healthy dose of absurd fun thanks to a very well-constructed series of gameplay loops, but it’s hard not to think about what could have been. Its character-driven premise is weak compared to previous entries, which featured intuitive tech gimmicks. The microgames and multiplayer both suffer from a lack of creative controls. The weirdest thing about this installment is how tame it ends up feeling.
Is there a better alternative?
WarioWare has a wholly unique premise, so not really. Super Mario Party is a better minigame-focused party game, but you’d need to dig up a Nintendo DS or Wii to find a better WarioWare game.
How long will it last?
I was able to clear story mode and unlock every minigame in around six hours. Even if you’re keen on chasing some high scores, it’s hard to imagine most players getting to double digits.
Should I buy it?
No. At least, not at its full $50 price point. I did have a fair amount of fun with WarioWare: Get It Together!, but it’s undoubtedly a lean package that’s best enjoyed in 10-minute spurts that stretch its content.