Crispy Gamer

Impressions: WarioWare Snapped

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Looking through my GDC notes just now reminded me that I actually got a chance to try out WarioWare: Snapped for the new DSi during my brief time on the GDC demo floor. I'm a huge fan of the WarioWare games so I was really looking forward to this new version, which is controlled via movements detected by the DSi's built-in camera. I didn't really get enough time for a full preview, but here are some quick impressions.

Hot:

  • The after-game photos: As you may have seen in the keynote demo, the game actually takes still pictures of the ridiculous movements needed to complete the quick-fire mini-games (swat a fly, stick two fingers up a nose, etc.) The resulting comic flip book is definitely chuckleworthy when it works, although I wonder how long the amusement value will last. I was also a bit disappointed that the game seemed to ocassionally take the pictures at the wrong time, resulting in boring, nonsensical pictures. Still, the feature did make quite a first impressions
  • Surprising two-player mode: Imagine my surprise when starting up the last of the GDC demo's four mini-game collections to be confronted with not one but TWO head holes for camera calibration. Since I only have one head, I asked the, I asked the cute Nintendo rep watching over my shoudler to help me out (even more shocking, she hadn't yet seen this mode during three whole days of giving demos!) These two-played mini-games definitely required some coordination - at one point we the game even asked us to press our cheeks together (If my wife is reading this, I swear it meant nothing!) More than the specific execution, the potential for single-system, multi-player DS gaming intrigued me.

Not:

  • The Camera: A game like this lives or dies by the quality of the camera based controls, and this one largely dies by them. The detection setup required incredibly precise placement to calibrate to my face and hand. Even after that, the grey outline used to show your position was choppy and slow to react to my movements. The game seemed to have trouble actually figuring out what I was doing, on occasion. In one game I succeeded without actually moving; in another it wouldn't detect my slapping motion no matter how violently I flailed. Sigh...
  • Lack of portability: So let me get this straight... it's a portable game, but I can't play it in the car or on the subway or standing in line at the grocery store. Apparently not, because the DSi needs to be able to detect your face and both your hands to complete many minigames, meaning you need a stable table or some other flat, unmoving surface to rest the system on before playing. Didn't Nintendo learn anything from the Virtual Boy?

Overall: The poor controls seem poise to keep this one from living up to the WarioWare name.