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Wario Land: Shake It! for Wii
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VGChartz Score
7.9
                         

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Alternative Names

Wario Land: The Shake Dimension

Wario Land Shake

ワリオランド シェイク

Developer

Good-Feel

Genre

Platform

Release Dates

09/22/08 Nintendo
07/24/08 Nintendo
09/26/08 Nintendo

Community Stats

Owners: 298
Favorite: 7
Tracked: 0
Wishlist: 20
Now Playing: 5
 
8.1

Avg Community Rating:

 

Review: Wario Land: Shake It!

By super_etecoon 03rd Apr 2009 | 2,685 views 

Wario's 2d platformer proves that the genre still has a few tricks up its sleeve.

by Mike Campa

I have a confession to make.  I haven’t beaten a single level in Mega Man 9.  Granted, I haven’t put in the time that it seems is required for the title, but then again, I haven’t felt the urge.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Megaman games and I remember playing and beating Megaman 2 when it was a new release, but something has changed.  I don’t know if it’s me or the way the games were made, but those old school games take hours to master and memorize even the smallest of levels.  Games like Ninja Gaiden and Ghost and Goblins come to mind.  Maybe I’ve gone casual in my old age, lost a bit of the dexterity and, probably more accurately, just don’t have that kind of time.  And for this reason I welcome Wario Land: Shake It, developed by nearly unknown developer Good-Feel for the Wii.  The game manages to be both casual and hardcore in the same moment with a simple level design that allows the player the option to turn up the difficulty as he or she desires.

And just how do they do that?  Simply put: making it from one end of the level and back again is a breeze.  There’s almost no reason you should die, and on the rare occasion you do, you aren’t likely to make the same mistake twice.  There are a few exceptions to this rule, but more on that later.  For those not familiar with the title, Wario Land: Shake It is a gorgeously drawn 2D game played with the Wii remote on its side.  I won’t bother you with the details of the story since there isn’t much of one - and really does there need to be?  All you need to know is that Wario has to find his way through each of the levels, obtain treasure along the way, save the sprite trapped at the end of each level, then run back as fast as he can before time expires.  How much treasure you collect on the way is your own prerogative and isn’t a requirement for passing each stage.  In fact, you can not collect a single coin (though it’d be a pretty tough feat) or a single treasure chest and still complete the game.

However, it’s those coin bags and treasure that give this game added depth and quickly ramp up the difficulty factor.  While you may be free to take your time throughout the game and dilly-dally along your way, the game has other tasks in mind for you.  At the beginning of each stage you are presented with a few tasks, including getting back to the beginning in a certain amount of time, collecting a specific number of coins, or defeating a 'golden enemy' hidden somewhere in the level.  Some of the tasks are more difficult than others, such as clearing the level without taking any damage or touching the water.  So you see, although the basic game is relatively simple and straight-forward, the developers were quick not to shunt the core gamers from the experience.  Unfortunately, there isn’t much to gain from these achievements.  The game rewards you with songs from each stage which hardly does justice to some of the feats you have to pull off.  I’m not sure when it began that developers considered soundtrack music to be an exciting unlockable, but someone needs to tell them to stop.  I’d prefer unlockable minigames to just being able to rifle through a couple dozen songs that weren’t that great to begin with.  

Well if the unlockable music isn’t enough to compel you to complete the game, the variety of gameplay certainly is.  In each of the game’s 25-30 levels a new platform idea is presented, whether it be swinging vines, cannons that boost you through rock walls, or portals that shrink you down to one fourth your size.  You’ll constantly have to adapt to the new toys and contraptions and learning what they do and how they work is half the fun.  The game does a good job of keeping its roots in the traditional gameplay of the old 2D side scrollers, while working on those themes to create a more modern adventure that makes you remember what it was like the first time you used Mario’s raccoon tail or Sonic’s super speed.  And speaking of Sonic, if you’ve got a hankering for some good old high speed hedgehog action, Wario Land’s got you covered.  Throughout the levels you’ll find speed boosters that you activate by going down them like a warp pipe.  They’ll spit you out at top speed and you’ll continue going that speed until you hit a solid wall or fall in the water.  To be honest, it’s one of the best hooks to be found in the game.  The developers have put some pretty tricky puzzles in the game that rely on these speed boosters, and figuring them out will take quite a bit of trial and error and even more thumb dexterity.

While completing this game's myriad of achievements may not unlock anything too special, the game isn't without its set of Easter eggs.  Hidden in two levels per world you will find two maps.  These maps unlock bonus levels that take all the simplicity of this game and toss it out the window.  These ten levels are robust, full of achievements, and up the ante on the difficulty factor several fold.  It really shows that the developer could have made this game as tortuous as some of those old-school side-scrollers, but preferred instead to offer a more rounded, approachable game.  As I've said before, I think this is one of the game's main strengths.  It has a very good learning curve that doesn't punish you for not mastering all the mechanics, but at the same time will reward you, at least in terms of gameplay, if you can.

Something many of you may be wondering, as with all Wii games, is how the motion controls work.  In general they’re pretty consistent and don’t really get in the way of the gameplay.  Wario’s signature move in the game is the 'shake', which you activate simply by shaking the Wii remote.  This will cause the enemies to be stunned or flip upside down and also activate certain environmental switches and bombs.   You’ll also shake money out of the treasure bags you’ll find though out the levels.  And finally, after you grab an enemy in typical Mario style, a quick shake of the remote will make Wario shake garlic from the enemies.  The characters make a pretty entertaining squeal and this action goes a long way to help define Wario as a ruthless treasure seeker who doesn’t bother to ask nicely for food, but just shakes it out of whoever gets in his path.  When he’s done shaking you can throw the enemies at switches, other enemies, or at the wall and to their death by tilting the remote in the desired direction.  An onscreen arrow appears to help guide your throw and the mechanically works pretty good, if a little broken by something I can only assume is a limitation of the Wii remote.  You see, at first you’ll never get the arrow to stop moving.  As you rotate your hand around the arrow seems to freak out and isn’t sure exactly where you’re pointing.  That’s because it hasn’t a clue.  You have to find the perfect plane, somewhere with the Wii remote tilted to you at a forty-five degree angle for the game to recognize the change in position.  Once you find this sweet spot, you’ll notice that the arrow moves incrementally with a soft click as you change the angle.  It’s actually very accurate once you’re in the right position.

 

You’ll want to keep that advice on a few of the game's more painful levels; the underwater stages.  In these levels you’ll have to navigate through an underwater automatically side-scrolling level filled with baddies and bombs in the confines of a submarine.  The submarine is completely motion controlled, so to go up you turn the remote to the left, and to go down to the right.  The control feels very clunky and if that wasn’t enough, you’ll be aiming your torpedoes exactly the same way.  I found the levels to be a chore to get through and never bothered to go back for any of the treasures I missed.  It’s the one area of the game that never evolves as you play though it from stage to stage and I’m not really sure why they decided to have one in each world.  It certainly isn’t a deal breaker, but it definitely makes you wish that you could just get back to the platforming and shaking.  Make sure that you hold the remote at that sweet spot angle and you’ll do yourself a world of help and cut down the frustration factor a bit.

 

I can say without a doubt, however, that the submarine will be the only vehicle in the game you won’t like.  The other vehicles - which include a unicycle, a spaceship and a motorcycle - are far easier to control and feel a bit more natural.  The latter even makes an appearance as a boss stage and will leave you wanting a bit more time on the bike.  It makes you wonder why they didn’t devote as much time to the other vehicles as they did the submarine to ramp up the variety.

Speaking of boss battles, there aren’t many in the game but they’re definitely fun.  They’re also a bit difficult, but not so much to make them frustrating.  Mostly once you figure out the patterns the boss uses you’ll be able to make short work of him in a few tries.  But if you feel like giving up or you just can’t figure them out, don’t fret.  The game doesn’t actually require you to beat the bosses before advancing to the level.  All you need to do is go back to the previous levels and hustle up enough cash to buy a map to the next area.  There’s a hefty price tag for each map, but you’ll have made enough by the time you make it to each boss that a few trips to a level should get you the money.

 

All in all, Wario Land: Shake It is a pretty solid first effort from developer Good-Feel.  The game does a good job balancing between the casual and hardcore audience, while at the same time not bogging itself down too much by poorly implemented waggle.  The main drawbacks to this game are the poorly implemented achievement system that doesn’t seem to offer a big enough reward for what are ultimately very well designed challenges, as well as a full-price price tag that this game doesn’t seem to justify.  Had Nintendo put a budget price on this title of 29.99 or even 39.99 USD, the game’s value would certainly be higher.  Even to this date, six months after the game’s release, the price hasn’t budged so it’s difficult to warrant the game that 'buy it' seal of approval, especially since the game isn't even presented in a true 16:9 format.  Instead they've made the game in 4:3, added bars on either side of the screen to fill up your tv, and put a few icons in those bars to make it seem like they did it on purpose.  It isn't a deal-breaker, but it certainly is a reminder that this is a game that was partially conceived in the Gamecube era.  But if you're not too concerned about aspect ratios, rewards for achievements, or whether this game is worth the same amount you paid for Super Mario Galaxy, this game is certainly worth taking a look at.  What it does it does well and it sits head and shoulders with many of the other great side scrolling platformers of any generation.


VGChartz Verdict


7
Good

Read more about our Review Methodology here

Shipping Total

1,060,000 Units
As of: December 2014

Opinion (150)

oniyide posted 21/07/2012, 07:52
finally bought it for 10 bucks, its good I still hate using motion in 2d plats(doenst belong) but its a good game
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Fededx posted 07/07/2012, 06:08
One of the best games on Wii's catalog, a true gem. Play it if you can!
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man-bear-pig posted 09/02/2012, 06:10
Like 'mole kart'
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man-bear-pig posted 09/02/2012, 06:10
Is this a rip-off of mario?
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goldeneye0065r posted 02/01/2012, 05:49
i noticed every nintendo game makes at least a mill sold
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Fededx posted 21/09/2011, 12:57
Hope it gets the Nintendo Select tratment! It's a gem of a game that everyone should play. I absolutely loved it!
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