The bite-sized games in the WarioWare series never cease to amuse with their quirky ideas. Protecting cakes, noticing butterflies and swimming in synchrony are a far cry from shooting Nazis and pwning n00bs; they are ingenious and sweet, and most importantly, simple.
So simple, in fact, that Nintendo reckons YOU can make them too. In WarioWare D.I.Y., you are taught the intricacies of the developer’s toolkit, then let loose to create and export your own minigames to your friends. Ultimately, creation is what WarioWare D.I.Y. is all about, despite the bunch of pre-made content available on the cartridge.
Unlike LittleBigPlanet, which insists on hours of careful construction within a complex, multi-faceted kit, WarioWare manages to limit the scope enough to make designing your own game feel easy. All you need to do is come up with a single action (Eat Crow! Frisk Robert! Drink Turps!), and, in theory, you’re on your way.
There is one hurdle you must get through first however: the tutorial. Involving a teacher, Penny, and the typically cranky Wario, this tutorial is a rambling, button-mashing affair; and it’s mandatory. Split into three different lessons, the rules of the toolkit become relatively clear from the get-go, so by the end of the first lesson you’ll be gagging to get stuck into the game creator.
But the game won’t let you. Instead, you must listen to Wario’s constant interruptions, bemoaning his inability to understand what he’s being told. At one point he extends a jokey jaunt to the toilet and back to the point of lunacy. One can only assume Nintendo was trying to be funny, but at the 60 odd minute mark, it comes off as an awkward mixture of boring and precocious.
Once it’s over, things pick up. Your real tutorial begins in an unlocked Assembly Dojo, where you are offered challenges to complete simple game-building tasks yourself. Further, you can pack apart the pre-made games to see how they work, and then start exploring your own ideas based on similar models. Like LittleBigPlanet, the games on the cartridge were built entirely with the toolkit available to the player.
The actual process of making the games is broken down into different stages: art, music, AI and winning conditions. These are broken down further into simple, intuitive steps – the artwork stage evokes MS Paint, for example. If you’re not a particularly skilled composer or artist, you have the choice to import objects and tunes from existing games.
There is a limitation to your imagination: each game must be based around a stylus tap. This tightened scope encourages lateral thinking. How do you get an object to move without a D-Pad? Add a trigger with a stylus tap. What’s the winning condition of a game based around eggs? Break them with a stylus tap. Without the added complications of the D-pad and microphone, this keeps things simple, too.
Disappointingly, there’s not a hell of a lot you can do with a completed game, aside from play it yourself. There is no online hub for WarioWare D.I.Y., so you must have a friend code for someone else in order to share. This is a lengthy process if you don’t have any friends. It will be interesting to see if Nintendo creates a bigger space for user-generated games, for surely the point of making them is so you can share them? In the meantime, the fun must be found in the creating, and there’s certainly enough to be had here, particularly for those who crave a simple, streamlined way in which to express their own particular brand of quirkiness.