Review: WarioWare Gold (3DS)

The return of the (garlic) king.

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 10/26/2018 06:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
Editor's Choice
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Tons of microgames; voice acting adds a new dimension to the series; modes provide virtually endless replay value; great entry point for new and old fans, alike
Poison Mushroom for...
Even with 300 microgames, with so many characters the selection still feels light; classic microgames suffer from needless graphical overhauls

WarioWare Gold is a fine return to form for the franchise after a nearly decade-long absence (unless you count Game & Wario, in which case it’s still a five year absence). Gold is a collection of microgames from across the entire history of the series dating all the way back to 2003’s WarioWare: Mega Microgame$! mixed with all-new ones, as well. As an anthology, Gold goes above and beyond a standard “best of,” instead utilizing both classic and fresh content to create an experience that will be a perfect entry point for newbies while also providing unique challenges to longtime fans. Let’s break down what makes Gold so special!

Gold makes a great first impression thanks to its opening cinematic, where Wario comes to life thanks to the dulcet tones of everyone’s favorite voice actor, Charles Martinet. Nintendo doesn’t always employ voice acting in its games, which can be a shame because someone of Martinet’s talent often goes underutilized, as a result. Not so in Gold. It’s obvious that Martinet (along with the rest of the exceptional cast, which includes Stephanie Sheh, Vegas J. Jenkins, and others) is having a blast cutting loose for the first time in ages. Coupled with Nintendo of America’s usual hilarious translation and localization, Gold is legitimately funny. Even better is that players can go back and re-watch any of the game’s cinema scenes.

There are a bunch of different modes to partake in, but Gold starts things off in the Story section. The majority of the animation segments originate here, chronicling Wario’s latest insane bid for cash. The basics of play are taught in Story mode and it also introduces something new to the WarioWare formula: leagues! Here are the three categories:

  1. Touch League— microgames that use the touch screen
  2. Mash League— microgames that use the D-pad and buttons
  3. Twist League— microgames that use motion controls and the microphone

There’s also the Ultra League where more microgames are introduced and the separation of types is taken away. Within Story mode, players will encounter the bulk of the microgames that the game has to offer. Each one that’s unlocked becomes playable in Gold‘s other modes, including the Index where they can be played individually.

The selection of microgames within each league is further delineated based on which character they come from. 9-Volt and his collection of Nintendo-themed microgames is always a crowd-pleaser, but other favorites like Orbulon, Mona, Jimmy T, and many others are along for the ride, too. The result of this setup means that it’s easier than ever to jump into a WarioWare game and select which microgames the user wants to play. My only gripe here is that I wish there was a greater selection of games for each character. Gold‘s box boasts that there are “over 300 microgames” to play, but with so many cast members to choose from, the selection starts to spread a bit thin. It might sound like I’m being greedy, but given the brevity of each microgame, 18 choices for someone like 9-Volt manages to legitimately come across as feeling limited.


Since I’m grousing here, let’s take the opportunity to touch on my only other real complaint about Gold, which is its art direction. The cinema scenes are perfect, boasting cartoon-like animations that exquisitely complement the voice acting. The menus are intuitive. The Nintendo-based microgames look authentic (in that WarioWare way). It’s the recreations of the classic WarioWare microgames that falls flat. Japanese game developers sometimes have an aversion to pixels that I can’t understand. Look no further than the debacle that was the re-release of Final Fantasy VI on Steam to understand what I mean. Fans aren’t always looking for upscaled graphics with smoothed edges when they play retro games. The pixelated visuals of older WarioWare entries is part of their charm. Microgames like Page Panic, High Treeson, and Crack Down (to name a few) lose much of their charm without their pixels.

Once Story mode is beaten, Challenge mode unlocks, and that’s when Gold starts to get really crazy. There are nine different stages to tackle here, and they vary from something as simple as increased difficulty (Super Hard) to the complexity of simultaneously tilting the 3DS to increase the speed of the microgames and beat them as quickly as possible (Cruise Controls). Challenge mode also has a multiplayer stage mixed in called Battle Time, which is good for those wanting to play with others… so long as they each have a copy of Gold. It’s good fun, though, setting two players to be the one to beat the most microgames from a mixed setlist with a limited number of lives. It might stink for those who are accustomed to download play in their 3DS multiplayer titles, but it’s not the end of the world.


Beyond Challenge mode there’s still plenty to see and do. As players make their way through Gold, they earn coins that can be inserted into a special Capsule Machine. Here, Souvenirs can be unlocked, which break down into categories like Minigames, Nintendo, Phones, Studio, and many more. The things unlocked here range from minor amusements (like adding your voice into cinematics in Studio) to more robust offerings (like Mewtroid in Minigames). Don’t forget to scan Amiibo, as Wario will paint some side-splitting renditions of them for you to, uh, appreciate. It’s mind-boggling how much there is to obtain and fool around with here. It’s almost a game unto itself and it lends a ton of value to Gold. Granted, some players might overlook Souvenirs because it’s not part of the “core” game, but I’d argue that those who aren’t interested probably shouldn’t be playing WarioWare. The quirkiness is just as much a part of the series as its microgames.

Rounding things out is Gold‘s Mission mode, where a number of challenges are available to undertake. These include goals like trying to score 35 in the Mash League warm-up, unlock all of Jimmy T’s microgames in the Index, get a Match 10 in Memory Match, and much, much more. It’s worthwhile to attempt Mission mode challenges for 1) personal satisfaction (this mode basically serves as an in-game achievements system) and 2) coins. Coins are earned by playing microgames, of course, but meeting Mission objectives grants players even more of the golden currency, which makes unlocking Souvenirs even faster.


WarioWare Gold is a wonderful addition to the 3DS library at such a late point in the system’s life cycle. Its presentation is largely brilliant, with bright, bold, punchy animations and a seemingly endless variety of visual styles within the microgames themselves. Although some of the magic of the classic microgames is lost thanks to the needless graphical facelifts they’ve been given, overall the vast amounts of chaos and hilarity occurring on-screen is gorgeous. With a litany of modes and content to unlock, veteran and rookie players alike will be occupied for hours trying to see everything that the title has to offer. It’s an absolute crime that this game isn’t lighting up the charts, so if you own one of the 72 million 3DS systems that have been sold, go out and buy a copy of WarioWare Gold!

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