Waggle that Wii-moteThe opening level acts as a training session to introduce you to Wario and the waggling Wii-Remote movements that you’ll have to perfect in order to traverse the stages. Controlling Wario with the Wii-Remote, which you hold throughout in the horizontal position, is a breeze and the controls have been mapped well to his movements, with impressive and entertaining animations as he performs the likes of shoulder charges into his enemies or pounds his backside firmly into the ground to stun enemies.
Despite using the motion-sensing Wii-Remote to traverse the environment, which undoubtedly enhances the platforming experience, many of Wario’s movements, and indeed the gameplay itself, is familiarly simple.
Nevertheless, it could be argued that the beauty of Warioland: The Shake Dimension lies in its simplicity. Despite being able to plough through the game in around 6 hours, dashing across the multi-coloured locations, whilst waggling of the Wii-mote to release a sackful of coins or picking up and launching an enemy skywards by tilting the controller in order to trigger a switch block is both satisfying and fun.
Controlling Wario doesn't take long to master. Holding the Wii-remote horizontally, the control pad is used to duck, the 1 and 2 buttons to dash attack and jump, whilst a variety of Wii-remote movements are needed to shake objects or enemies, ground pound or swing from bars or ropes. There are a few ideas borrowed from previous platforming Nintendo adventures, such as being able to pick up enemies and throw them to activate switch blocks, which make other blocks appear and disappear giving you access to otherwise unreachable areas, but there are also plenty of memorable moments such as blasting out of the Max.Fastosity Dasherator and smashing through multiple blocks or turning into a giant snowball as you roll down a hill.
Despite the fun-factor and the game’s obvious visual charms, Warioland does have a few issues that may irritate hardened gamers. The most notable of those is that the gameplay is unevenly balanced, sometimes so simple that it requires nothing more than a quick hop, step and jump, yet other times so difficult that you’ll be shaking your head with frustration. Strangely, there’s no real middle ground.
Still, and despite Warioland: The Shake Dimension not being quite the classic game that I’d hoped for, the good far outweighs the bad and its beautiful visual style is sure to charm you, whilst it’s Wii-shaking gameplay, despite not breaking any boundaries in terms of innovation, will, for the most part, keep you entertained and amused.
Fun use of Wii-mote
Contains plenty of humour
Do you ever get bored of collecting coins?
Gameplay lacks depth
Entertaining whilst it lasts, but doesn't have the makings of a classic.