For just shy of 20 years, WarioWare has been down the delightfully absurd corner of Nintendo’s repertoire with frantic medleys of bizarre “microgames”: bite-sized minigames, each lasting only a couple of seconds, played in rapid succession to hilarious outcomes. WarioWare: Get It Together continues that legacy, but with a big twist. For the first time in the series, Wario and his oddball friends are playable characters in their own game, adding a whole lot of new variables to a concept that is already chaotic by design.
Here’s how a typical WarioWare game works: you play a series of rapidfire microgames, each with its own objectives, rules, mechanics, and control scheme. A one- or two-word instruction (“Block!” “Rinse!” “Pluck!”) is the only sort of guidance you get, and you’ve got a few seconds to figure out what to do and do it, then it’s on to the next one. The longer you survive, the faster the games get, until eventually you run out of lives. It’s a devilishly simple concept, but one with unlimited potential that the series hasn’t been shy about exploring over the years.
WarioWare: Get It Together follows the same formula, only this time around, you’re not interacting with these games directly—you’re doing it through Wario or one of his buddies. Regardless of the microgame in question, each character has their own movement style and unique abilities: Wario can freely fly in all directions and attack left or right with a flying tackle; Mona can also fly in any direction, but she can’t stop moving except for when she throws her boomerang, which you control in a similar fashion until it returns to her; 18-Volt can’t move at all, but just aim and launch flying discs across the screen.
With this, each microgame in Get It Together takes on another dimension: not just how to play the game itself, but how to do it with whatever character you’re controlling at the moment, and whatever boons or limitations they bring with them. When it comes to “Pit Stop”—a game about tweezing some rogue armpit hairs from a burly marble statue—Wario can just fly right in there and tackle those keratin invaders right out of there, but with 9-Volt, you need to wait until his perpetually-moving skateboard passes underneath and time a yoyo toss just right.
In other words, where most WarioWare: Get It Together is the usual WarioWare chaos, squared. While you’re frantically trying to figure out, in a matter of seconds, how each new microgame itself works, you’re also trying to figure out what that means for whichever member of Wario’s crew you’re currently playing.
To take that idea a step further, most game modes involve some degree of randomness with character selection. In some modes, like the Story Mode, you get to choose a party of three to five members, which the game then cycles through with each microgame change—so it’s not entirely random, but you never know which of your chosen characters will land up in which game. Other modes leave things entirely to the roll of the dice, picking characters at complete random and relishing in the chaos that that brings.
Said chaos doesn’t just stem from the fact that each character is different, or that some are better suited to some microgames than others. There’s an imbalance between that seems deliberate, when you have characters like Ashley who can move about freely and shoot in any direction, and then the likes of Kat and Ana, who bounce endlessly and are limited to throwing shurikens in a single, pre-determined direction. In any other game, that would be annoying, but in WarioWare, it just adds to the frenzied nature of the game. (And, crucially, in multiplayer modes with a random element, everyone gets the same randomly-picked character, so there’s no competitive advantage to be had.)
And speaking of, those multiplayer modes are where WarioWare: Get It Together is at its absolute best. There’s a short story mode for one or two players that’s great fun in short bursts, and a few other singleplayer minigames that riff on the microgame concept, but the two-to-four player games in the Variety Pack take party game antics to ridiculous heights.
Fancy some air hockey, but where anyone who scores only gets their point if they complete a microgame on a TV in the middle of the table while everyone else hits it, shakes it, and generally tries to be as disruptive as possible? How about a game of chicken, where one player at a time completes microgames while everyone else blows up a giant balloon, and whoever’s in the microgame when it pops loses? Or even just a straight microgame head-to-head, where you’re not just working against the clock, but against other players? Get It Together has them all. You can even just throw microgames out the window for a bit and enjoy some old-fashioned arena combat with Wario’s crew and all their strange moves.
Unfortunately, most of these modes are limited to local multiplayer only. On some level, that makes sense—these are party games, through and through, and the atmosphere of playing in the same room is a big part of what makes them as much fun as they are. They wouldn’t work nearly as well in online play, and even less so with random people. But online multiplayer is still better than nothing, and especially in a time when a lot of people don’t have the option of playing locally with friends and family, the lack of at least an online option is a little disappointing. There is some online component in the form of a weekly challenge with leaderboards, but that’s not nearly the same thing.
Solo or multiplayer, the thing that keeps WarioWare ticking is how utterly bonkers it is, and it leans into that with it’s comically absurd visual style and sense of humour. Every microgame has its own art style, from messy hand-drawn scrawls to Monty Python-esque animated cutouts, crude 3D animation to snapshots of other Nintendo games, old-timey sketches to messy MS Paint drawings. The oddball sense of humour that runs through all these microgames ranges from childish toilet humour to the absolute absurdity of QWOP-style rock climbing. When it comes to the story, let’s just say Get It Together takes a suitably ridiculous approach to the old “sucked into a videogame” concept. Let’s also say “Sexy God-Wario”.
The transient nature of the microgame concept means WarioWare: Get It Together, isn’t the kind of thing you’d want to pull out for a long haul, but for short bursts of pure, chaotic delight—especially with friends—you can’t go wrong. It’s surprising that it’s taken this long for Wario and his crew to become playable characters in their own game, but their unique abilities (and flaws) are a welcome twist on the frantic nature of WarioWare‘s rapid-fire minigames.
WarioWare: Get It Together!
Developer: Nintendo EPD, Intelligent Systems
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Release date: 10 September 2021
A review copy was provided to Shindig by the publisher.