Wednesday, April 8, 2009

WarioWare: Snapped! review

As a series mainly used to showcase new technology, Nintendo brings Wario out once again, in the form of one of the first DSiWare titles, to show off the Nintendo DSi's camera. Does WarioWare do the camera justice, or does this game make the feature feel unnecessary?

First Thoughts
One thing you will notice when you boot this game up, is that it's not like any WarioWare game you've played before. There's no real menu listing, there's no special features, or even options menus. There's just four character icons, a button to read the in-game manual, and another button to the credits, but I'll get into that later.

That thing about this not being like any other WarioWare game ... yeah, let's get into that. Basically, those four character options lead into different character's microgames, only 5 games per character. Yeah, only five, meaning just twenty microgames total. And if you're alone, it's technically 15, because the Kat & Ana microgames are designed for two people; though, since the way the camera works, three fingers can become a head and two hands with some clever distancing tricks.

Which brings me to the main focus of the game, the cameras. You'd think if your game utilizes a camera as it's central control system, you'd at least test the thing in numerous lighting situations to make sure it works... Because I shouldn't have to move to three different rooms just find a place to play that only kind of works. Before you can actual play a set of microgames, the game will have you set up in the right position, which for whatever reason has trouble finding the pale guy in a black t-shirt in a beige painted room. But once that's all settled you can finally play.

Before each microgame, a little face and/or hand icon will show up, allowing you to get in place. However, unlike say WarioWare: Smooth Moves on the Wii, which showed you the Wiimote position quickly before you had to play, Snapped! gives you infinite amount of time to set up due to the camera's somewhat unreliability. For me, this ruins the frantic style of the WarioWare gameplay, considering in the end it won't matter what body part is actually being read, as the camera is just looking for a light and dark separation.

But, the game doesn't stop at the 20 microgames. No, in fact, the credits are a game in themselves ... a game that actually seems to last longer and is in my opinion a bit more fun than the rest of the title since you only have to get set up once. The credits game is essentially an on rails shooter ... without shooting, that you control with your head and aim for names and items as they come towards you. And it hit me while playing this, if this works so well, why didn't Nintendo just make some sort of on rails shooter that you control with your head and .. maybe with the mic make sounds to fire? I'd much rather play a hands free shmup than have to constantly set up for a 2 second microgame.

There's not much extra to this downloadable title. However, after playing each series of microgames, you will get to see how you looked while playing. But as amusing as that is, the game won't allow you to save the photos; and even if you just close the DSi the pictures are erased. You'd think a system that can hold up to 32GB on an SD card would at least let you save these photos to play with on the Nintendo DSi Camera.

But the game's memory loss does even end there. With the credits game I mentioned before, you'll rack up a score that will have taken sometime to get; and that score will be shown above the Credits option on the main menu. But guess what happens when you leave the game? Your score is gone! Making the entire part of showing your score, or even trying to get one in the first place, completely pointless. I mean, if I'm giving up five dollars for this title, the least you can do is save my score! What's that memory file even doing, huh?

Final Thoughts
Well, I'd by lying if I said this was my favorite of the WarioWare titles (my real favorite is Twisted! on the Game Boy Advance). When the camera mechanic works, especially in the credits game, it works well and the game is quite fun. However, when the game makes you run around to find proper lighting and then that aspect screws up the gameplay, then it's not fun. And while I understand it's just five dollars, I could find a NES game on the Virtual Console that lasts longer than Snapped!'s 20 microgames, for the same price... and that would even save my progress; this game won't even save my score, let alone my photos. Also, no 9-Volt level? Tsk tsk.

If you were a fan of the WarioWare titles, like me, and wanted some gameplay with your DSi Camera, then maybe you already bought this game. However, if you're looking for an engaging camera played experience, I say hold onto your 500 Nintendo Points until something better releases (even if they are from the 1000 points Nintendo gave you).

Overall Score: 6.8/10

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