Aside from dozens and dozens of ready-made single player games, there's plenty of music and artwork to mess around with
- Tons of mini-games to play and oodles of content to explore, in-game design tools are easy to use despite their complexity, connectivity with WarioWare: D.I.Y. Showcase on the Nintendo Wii is a smart perk
- Very little accessibility for the DS microphone, DSi camera support is disappointingly non-existent, creation tools are clever but could use a bit more variety, automation and accessibility, especially for the common gamer
Although it's the most inventive and ambitious title in the WarioWare series so far, D.I.Y. still has a few issues that make it a little hard to handle, especially for casual gamers. Regardless, Intelligent Systems has crafted a fantastic addition to the WarioWare series that DS owners should check out.
From 8-bit sound effects to the occasional 1980's-era Nintendo reference, it's apparent that the WarioWare titles are lovingly crafted for hardcore fans. But what makes the series so fun are the hilarious mini-games which are accessible and varied enough to grab anyone's attention, even if they've never played a Mario game (if those people actually exist, that is).
But even though I absolutely loved the previous games, I'm not quite sold on the newest instalment, D.I.Y., and I can easily see how the eponymous "Do It Yourself" sections will frustrate and annoy some gamers. The titular D.I.Y. game-making mechanic not only allow players to create custom artwork, but they can also adjust the actual design of their games as well. Unfortunately, painstakingly crafting the "artificial intelligence" that governs each game can be a real headache if you're not a patient designer. This is exacerbated by the fact that the tools might not be enough to do everything you want. People that want to create reasonably detailed mini-games are eventually going to run into walls, and after hours of work, I can guarantee that abruptly hitting those walls can get pretty frustrating.
I spent an entire weekend trying to create shooter-based mini-games in the vein of StarFox, but I could never get the art to animate just right. So far, my only real success has been shooting Princess Peach out of a cannon through a ring of fire, and even that looks pretty bad. Looking back on my success and failures as an artist and designer, it would've helped a lot if the "drawing" aspect of the game incorporated editable layers ala Photoshop to cut down on the need to frequently erase objects.
To its credit, D.I.Y.. does a decent job of simplifying the process, and you can take apart some of the pre-built games in order to see how they function. I'm also glad that artwork can be freely copied over from pre-existing objects; having this reference material can act as a good starting point if you can't get something to look exactly the way you want it. Ironically, I only started having fun with the game when I stopped trying to make masterpieces and went with easy themes that were simple to draw. Only accomplished artists are going to be able to make mini-games that rival the ingenuity and quality of the original content, and even that angle of the game will hit a few snags due to the "tap-only" elements of the gameplay, not to mention the limited use of the microphone and no support for the DSI's built-in camera.
Despite this, D.I.Y. still gives you a lot to do. There are just as many mini-games in the basic single player mode as there were in previous WarioWare titles, and that content is beefed up considerably by the "Design Jobs" section, where Wario contracts you to add artwork to some of his incomplete games. As I powered through D.I.Y., more and more unlockable content became available to me the further I went, and discovering every last quirky mini-game got especially rewarding when I had the full in-game selection at my disposal. Even if you aren't interested in creating and sharing your own WarioWare works with other players, D.I.Y. still has enough content that you'll want to uncover everything in the game, at least for completion's sake.
Aside from dozens and dozens of ready-made single player games, there's plenty of music and artwork to mess around with, and being able to share your work with other gamers should make for some interesting YouTube videos. In that sense, the "Do It Yourself" part of this new WarioWare definitely doesn't take anything away from the overall experience -- and to someone who's been looking for a crash course in Mini-Game Design 101, there's no other title outside of LittleBigPlanet that's got as much charm and unique flair.
I should also note that the game is a natural fit for the recently released Nintendo DSi XL. The difference between 4.2 inches of screen space and 3.25 inches is like night and day. For one thing, it makes drawing your in-game art a lot easier, and the interface of the creation system benefits from both the sharper screen and improved audio capabilities on the DSi XL.
Art students, old-school gamers, and people with wild imaginations (and lots of free time) are going to love making their own masterpieces in WarioWare D.I.Y.., but if you have trouble drawing stick figures, you'll at least be able to enjoy a sizable new crop of fun, quick mini-games with tons of personality. Maybe I can't draw my way out of a paper bag, but I'll still be playing along with this series until the next title comes along.
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