A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that WarioWare Gold is the latest collection of mini-games for the Nintendo 3DS. Players try their best to accomplish tasks in abbreviated game sequences which take three seconds or less to succeed or fail -- these tasks are designed to test a gamer's reflexes and patience. Gameplay also speeds up, further challenging their skills. There's comic mischief of pushing people over, breaking blocks, shooting aliens, and more, but the cartoonish, stylized imagery and fast pace of each game limits the impact of violence. Players will note that some mini-games are based off of classic Nintendo franchises, like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Duck Hunt, and others. The game also supports amiibo figures, which are sold separately. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content.
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What's it about?
WARIOWARE GOLD is the latest installment in the mini-game franchise, where the infamous villain discovers that he's completely out of cash. Looking to make a quick buck, Wario creates a video game tournament in Diamond City and enlists his friends (and frenemies) to make the mini-games for the competition. Players have to pay 10,000 coins for a chance at winning a grand prize of 10 million coins, but of course, Wario plans on skewing the results so he keeps all the dough. Gamers will take on more than 300 mini-games, all of which last only three seconds. So you're always on your toes to hit a button, turn the system like a steering wheel, draw on the screen, or blow into the 3DS mic. After a few rounds, the speed of each game accelerates, so you have to react even faster. Completing games earns coins, which can be put in a machine to unlock bonus content such as mini-games, soundtracks, and movie clips. Are your reflexes fast enough to foil Wario's money making schemes?
Is it any good?
This fast-paced mini-game collection is the largest one yet, adding more bonus content to keep you tapping, scratching, and shaking your handheld for hours. WarioWare Gold builds on its twitchy formula by including more than 300 mini-games to test your reflexes. For the most part, the mini-games are easy to grasp and play; you'll be asked to swing a bat at a ball, count frogs leaping across a lily pad, and so on. But you only have three seconds to recognize what you have to do and succeed, or you lose a token. Lose four times, and it's game over. The manic action quickly accelerates to a breakneck pace, but these bite-sized games are perfect if you don't have a lot of time for a dedicated gaming session.
The gameplay also doesn't take itself seriously. This is shown by the wacky dialogue, which finally has voice overs for the first time in series history. You even get the chance to dub these movie clips with your own voice if you think you can do a better job. That's just one part of the extra content, which includes soundtracks, bonus mini-games, and cutscenes. There's more than two hundred extra items you can interact with, and you can even use amiibos to earn coins for more loot. Add this to a huge list of challenges, and you've got a lot of gameplay at your fingers. If anything, there are only two problems that slightly dull the shine of WarioWare Gold. The first issue is that it can be hard to figure out what you're supposed to do in some mini-games, especially when the pace has sped up. When you've got split seconds to read, react, and hopefully pass each game, this raises the difficulty level substantially. The other minor issue is that some games are the same ones previously included in older WarioWare titles, which doesn't feel very creative or clever. But if you're interested in testing yourself against one of Nintendo's more amusing villains, you should go for the gold with WarioWare Gold.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about positive character strengths like perseverance. The fast-paced, reflex focused mini-games can be very challenging, so how do you keep yourself motivated to possibly master these tasks? Can you apply those tactics to help you clear obstacles in real life?
Are mini-games as engaging as larger plot-driven experiences games? Are they perfect for players that are looking for a quick bit of entertainment in the middle of a busy day?
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