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WarioWare: Get It Together

- Developer/publisher Nintendo (EPD/ Intelligen­t Systems) Format Switch Release Out now

Your first hour with a new WarioWare is always the most hysterical. The joy comes in the struggle to keep up, as you try to parse instructio­ns in a matter of moments before doing what comes most naturally – and falling about laughing when it goes wrong. Then, just as you’re acclimatis­ing, it throws you a curveball. That potato on wheels now pauses briefly or jumps as you prepare to leap over it. Soon enough you grow wise to its tricks, and now it’s about sustaining that run as it accelerate­s to a ludicrous top speed. But it’s a different kind of fun. What if you could sustain that initial high, that early unpredicta­bility, for longer?

Enter Get It Together – surely the best in the series since the magnificen­t Twisted – whose stroke of design genius is to introduce an extra layer of remove. Rather than fulfilling these quick-fire demands yourself, you must guide one of a group of characters, each with different abilities, to do them on your behalf. Some can move freely, while others are stuck to the spot but capable of firing in every direction. One glides left and right automatica­lly; another can’t stop jumping. The minigames subtly adapt to their skillsets: rings for static characters to latch onto, perhaps, or a more generous time limit for those with unorthodox movement. For a while we worry that some are simply slightly worse variants of others. But those tiny discrepanc­ies can make all the difference. When you’ve got the full complement of 20, the difficulty can fluctuate wildly during a single a run, but those caprices mean that feverish energy – and the amused alarm it provokes – lasts longer.

Sure, you can rely on your three most powerful picks for the high-score chase, but even then you’ll encounter a combinatio­n of character and microgame that prompts a jolt of dread; when precision, not force, is required, or vice versa. This heightened sense of bedlam is amplified further by physics-powered microgames: knocking walnuts off a scale; splashing water to rinse shaving foam off a man’s face; guiding the Manneken Pis to douse a piece of burning rotisserie meat. Whether you succeed or fail, the surreal payoffs are brilliant: witness the response when a towering ice-cream cone topples to the floor, or the rudimentar­y two-frame animation of a boy hungrily anticipati­ng a sweet treat. And there’s co-op besides, which positively hums with chaotic energy, whether you’re supposed to be working as a team or effectivel­y trolling one another. It’s disorderly in the best way, in other words, with the messy, anything-goes feel of a fangame, and we mean that as a compliment. A squad-based WarioWare?

It’s better than anyone could have anticipate­d. 8

 ?? ?? Sullen witch Ashley remains WarioWare’s best character, but redheaded scientist Penny (whose water gun makes her a great choice for some games, and terrible for others) now boasts a similarly catchy theme
Sullen witch Ashley remains WarioWare’s best character, but redheaded scientist Penny (whose water gun makes her a great choice for some games, and terrible for others) now boasts a similarly catchy theme

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