Game and Wario’s best game turns your mother into an other-worldly, anti-gaming demon

Game and Wario’s best game turns your mother into an other-worldly, anti-gaming demon

Game and Wario

  • Wii U

$39.99 MSRP

Buy Game

Game and Wario isn’t a great title, and it’s another symptom of Nintendo’s inability to understand how many of these games we’ve seen before for free, or a buck, on mobile devices. The best games in the $39.99 release use the GamePad and the television in interesting ways to show things that other consoles can’t do, and that’s why I’m so in love with Gamer, one of the short games in the package that shows what happens when Nintendo is inspired.

You play as 9-Volt, a well-known character in the Wario Ware mythos, and yes, there is such a thing as a Wario Ware mythos. 9-Volt is trying to play a series of microgames on the portable game system he smuggled into bed, and his mother is skulking around, trying to catch him breaking the rules about gaming when he should be sleeping. That’s the entire set up, and it’s a situation most of us can relate to, but the way it’s shown is pure brilliance.

You have to split your attention in this challenge. You need to look down at the Wii U’s tablet-style controller to actually play the microgames that are being thrown at you, and that’s stressful enough. Then you have to pay attention to visual and audio clues from the television to see if your virtual mother is close to checking on you. When she comes close, you need to pretend to be asleep, although you can only hide for so long, so you need to carefully ration your faux-sleep.

You can hear her walking down the hall before she opens your door and pops in, or you can see her sneaking around outside of your window. She can also pop up through the television in you virtual room to try to catch you, like a maternal version of Samara from the Ring.

Gamer is a larger than life, playful take at just how big and fearsome our parents can be when we're small, and it's a fun way to use both screens while pretending to break the rules. It's just the right amount of innocent mischief for a game like this, and it's neat to turn getting away with something into such an interesting game.

The rest of the games aren't quite as interesting, but the entire package is filled with funny, off-the-wall stuff that can seem at times both random and strangely cohesive. These Wario titles have a feel all their own and, while I enjoyed a few of the smaller games contained here, I'd love to see an entire collection of micro games, thrown at me one after the other, just like the previous Wario Ware games. Game and Wario is uneven, and even at $40 the price is rather high, but Gamer is almost worth the price of admission alone.