WarioWare Touched is one of the first
generation of Nintendo DS games that uses the console to its full
advantage through the eyes of one of Nintendo's most insidious
characters. The story revolves around Wario’s greedy ambition to make
more money off gamers while doing as little actual work as possible
(What? You heard right my dear gamers, Wario is trying to use us to make
money for his own greedy purposes). The story is fairly wacky, though
almost serious compared to the mini-games and told with the same visual
creativity of the rest of the game. The characters are rather static,
though there are some twists involving larcenous monkeys, alien
abductions and Wario’s secret identity.
The WarioWare gameplay formula is quite simple and revolves around a few
second long mini-games that are thrown at the player, followed by
another which is often then followed by another. Fortunately these
mini-games are broken up by boss battles that do help break the monotony
of the title and periodically the game speeds up, with the process
repeating until the player runs out of lives. Touched exchanges the
d-pad and A button of the first WarioWare for the touch screen and
microphone input. Touched, as its name would imply, depends on the touch
screen for control for the vast majority of its mini-games. It starts
simply, with the first group of games involving taps on the screen, and
as play progresses integrates various gestures, such as lines, dragging
items, or quick circular motions. While many of the gestures are
similar, the mini-games have very different uses for them, giving the
gameplay a good variety. The touch screen is quite responsive and
The microphone had its own group of mini-games and the control during
these games tended to be good, with excellent sensitivity to how hard
the microphone was being blown on. A problem with the mike games is that
many are won by simply blowing as hard as possible. Not enough of them
required careful control of intensity and duration. The boss battle in
this group was excellent, giving an excellent example of why Nintendo
thinks new ways of playing games need to be found. In the game, a little
dandelion puff drifts across the screen, slowly losing altitude. Blowing
on the microphone causes it to be buoyed upwards. Delicately controlling
the puff with little breaths, trying to avoid obstacles, feels very
close to actually doing so in real life.
Although the Touched graphics are technologically unimpressive, the vast
majority are 2-D, though the occasional 3-D bits might challenge the
capabilities of a GBA. The sprites are fairly rough around the edges (pixelated)
and generally quite simple. This is intentional and part of the
WarioWare aesthetic. The visual creativity and execution are excellent.
One example that stands out is the mini-game where the player grabs the
tongue of a stick figure man, pulls it until the pieces of candy nearby
attach, and then lets it snap back into his mouth; his lips close around
the candy and curl up into a satisfied smile. These bits of visual
polish show up everywhere in Touched, giving the game flavour and the
player chuckles (and the occasional “What the hell is that?” moment).
The look will probably not appeal to someone that doesn’t like
colourful, cheerful and cartoonish graphics.
The sound effects in the game are quite adequate, with the sound quality
sufficient for the DS speakers and generally add to the atmosphere.
There are some inspired choices with the same sly sense of humour as the
visuals. The music harkens back to the 8 and 16-bit days, with fairly
simple but nonetheless very catchy songs. A couple of the themes can
grate on the ears, but overall the music works quite well within the
aesthetic. As with previous WarioWares the music speeds up as the games
do, giving players a feel for the pace of the game.
In conclusion, WarioWare Touched is a fun and unique game which it’s not
for everyone but fans of the series will certainly enjoy it. As a
demonstration of the capabilities and potential of the DS it succeeds
quite well and anyone sceptical of Nintendo’s talk of the need for new
ways to play games should give it a try, as it is the best example of
Nintendo walking the talk. The whimsical art and sound contribute
flavour and amusement while the controls are intuitive, creative, and
different from anything on the market.