The character known as Wario really needs very little introduction: heâ€™s fat, heâ€™s greedy, heâ€™s got a hell of a moustache. Yeah, though this anti-Mario has swaggered and belly-laughed through countless previous Nintendo titles, hereâ€™s one more coming at you: Wario: Master of Disguise.
Warioâ€™s taking a long-needed break from his software empire, watching a bit of TV and wondering how he can get more cash. His favourite TV show comes on, The Silver Zephyr. The Silver Zephyrâ€™s a pretty slick guy, a master thief with a fancy top hat and wand. Wario desperately wants to become a thief like him.
At this point Wario reveals the ace card up his sleeve: a special remote control that lets him jump into whatever TV show takes his fancy. He then uses it to steal The Silver Zephyrâ€™s wand, called Goodstyle. Upon doing so, Wario becomes a master thief himself, who he dubs â€śThe Purple Windâ€ť. (Let it be known that the fart jokes from this point on come so thick and fast that you may as well think of them as an additional character.) Wario finds out that using Goodstyle allows him to change into different costumes, each with a different ability, by drawing different shapes on the touch screen with the stylus.
In addition to learning about his new abilities, Wario finds out from The Silver Zephyr that thereâ€™s an ultimate artefact to be found, something called the Wishstone, which has been broken up into several pieces and spread out over the world. Once all the pieces are found and brought together, the Wishstone can grant wishes to its owner.
From this point onwards, itâ€™s up to you to help Wario make his way through a series of different heists (ten in all), making use of the different abilities inherent in each costume, to solve puzzles, find cash, gems, treasure, pieces of the Wishstone, and additional costumes. In all, there are eight different disguises that can be discovered as the game progresses: Thief Wario, Cosmic Wario, Arty Wario, Captain Wario, Dragon Wario, Genius Wario, Sparky Wario and Wicked Wario. Youâ€™ll find yourself changing pretty frequently between each of these, in order to solve the puzzles in each room. The disguises can all be powered up as well, by gathering special Guise Gems found throughout the game.
So whatâ€™s it like to play? Initially, itâ€™s interesting. But after the first hour or so, unfortunately, the game starts to get a bit repetitive. The mini-games that you play in order to open any of the treasure chests you find are particularly miserable. These consist of tasks such as colouring in a picture with your stylus, tracing an object, sliding tile puzzles, connecting the dots or stomping roaches. They are a weird addition to a puzzle game, seeing as most are easily completed on the first go, and then get highly repetitive after youâ€™ve played through each a few times.
There are also issues with the drawing aspect of the game. While I realise that this is the premise that the gameâ€™s centred around, in some ways the game would be more fluid and straightforward if the costume changes were triggered by a button press. At times the shapes you draw can be mistaken for something else, which is not what you want when youâ€™re fighting a boss battle. Thereâ€™s also the usual problems with alternating between moving Wario around using the button pad, and then somehow having to switch to stylus mode, when youâ€™ve only got two hands.
Warioâ€™s animations are pretty good, and the different styles of each costume are cute. The rest of the creatures in the tombs are pretty simplistic however, usually with only one attack animation and another standard animation. The backgrounds are good-looking but flat.
The gameâ€™s got little replayability value as well. The only reason you might want to go through and repeat a level would be if you were trying to find more treasure using a new costume, or trying to beat your original time. Thereâ€™s no multiplayer, no unlockable levels or characters.
All up, I suspect that Wario fans will be a bit disappointed with this game. Itâ€™s good as far as puzzle games go (initially, anyway), but compared to previous titles, the silly dialogue, fart jokes and eventually repetitive puzzles will probably repel all but the most diehard fans.