(Pocket-lint) - It's been a fair old while since we've had an all-new WarioWare game - three years since WarioWare Gold for the Nintendo 3DS, which was a compilation of sorts anyway.
We've also never had a WarioWare game for the Nintendo Switch, utlising the unique talents of the console. Although, in many ways, we still don't - as we'll explain below in this review.
However, we do have an excellent, fun collection of mindless mini-games wrapped up in the best presentation yet. And that will make WarioWare Get it Together enough for most.
Our only real gripe with WarioWare Get it Together is that it doesn't really use all the features of the Switch - there are no motion games, for example, nor does it use the touchscreen. But then, it is universal in that you can play just as capably when docked or in handheld mode, and the Switch Lite is not left behind with an inferior experience.
That's because this new outing for Mario's generally less-amiable counterpart harks back to early predecessors, such as the original WarioWare Inc on Game Boy Advance, with simple controls and button presses. The innovation in Get It Together is in the variery of the mini-games on offer and their scalability.
- Top Nintendo Switch games: Best Switch games every gamer must own
- Best upcoming Nintendo Switch games to look forward to
The latter is the real key. The game can be played solo in its entirety. Or you can have a second player join for co-op play, in the story and other modes. Indeed, you even get a collection of games that unlock after you've completed the story that can be played by up to four on the same console or over a network locally.
The beauty is, especially when playing as a twosome, each mini-game will experience slight tweaks depending on the amount of players on screen at once. One might have player one have to perform an action for player two to benefit from, or the win might be able to be achieved by just one of you. Either way, the mini-game will likely be a little different depending.
Add to that, Get it Together is the first WarioWare game where you play as multiple characters, each with their own abilities. One might be stuck jumping up and down, another might be able to play but not shoot any projectiles. These abilities add variety to the stream of games, especially as, again, they often adapt the objective a touch depending on which character to play as.
In play, this all seems fluid and second nature, but when you step back a little you realise that there's so much cleverness going on under the hood.
Wanna tell you a story
The story mode is front and centre of Get it Together. You have to complete significant chunks of it just to unlock the various characters you can control, plus other game modes.
Wario has overstretched himself to get a new game onto the shelves in time, but in the process has introduced a myriad of game-breaking bugs to each level. This results in him and his team being sucked into the game and tasked with ridding each zone of bugs, beating a boss level each time, and progressing to the next.
Each individually themed level hosts a different character (from the world of Wario and former games). One of our favourites is based on retro Nintendo games - from Game & Watch to Animal Crossing New Horizons.
If you're au fait with most WarioWare games from Inc and onwards, you'll know that four-second mini-games will be thrown at you, with a loss resulting in one life lost of four. Lose all and it's game over, although you can also pick up coins along the way to buy a continue.
Where this game differs from its forebears is that you assemble a team of characters to take on each level, whether playing in single or two-player. One will be mandatory - the level designer, so to speak - but the others can be chosen from a pool of those already unlocked.
This adds a little stategy to the proceedings as you might prefer the skillset of one over another. Or, some of the mini-games on that upcoming level are better suited to a certain type. Knowing which will take some trial and error, but that adds to longevity which is needed. The story mode is rather short.
Luckily, as you progress in the story you unlock other modes accessible from the main menu screen.
A 'play-o-pedia' section opens up all the mini-games you've played already, to jump straight into your favourite by yourself or with a friend. You also get the Break Room with all the characters, including stats, practice areas, and more.
Perhaps the best mode outside the story is the Variety Pack. It contains a selection of slightly bigger mini-games for up to four players. Some are co-op, some competitive, most (if not all) are great fun as party game fodder.
The last mode is the Wario Cup which presents weekly challenges - curated collections of levels with different settings, such as double speed and/or set characters you must play as. This mode can be ranked with scores posted onto an online leaderboard. However, you do need Switch Online to post a ranking, and we couldn't as we had to play with online turned off for our review.
We did get to play an unranked Wario Cup challenge though, which adds an extended slice of madness to the overall experience. We doubt it'll be enough to have you coming back each week for a new challenge, but it's fun to see what's been cooked up each time.
WarioWare Get it Together is a great addition for the series. It's weird that the various abilities of the Nintendo Switch are largely ignored, but offering you and a friend a whole story mode to play through while huddled around the screen (built-in or on TV) is perhaps enough for some.
We do wonder about longevity though. The story is fun but very short - we completed it in a day. There is the possibility of going back and redoing sections with a different mix of characters, plus high scores you can beat, but once you've unlocked everything we can't imagine many will. In single-player, at least.
Where the game excells though is in two-player co-op play. Playing a succession of mini-games with a friend is superb, especially when you don't know what's coming next and which of you is meant to take the lead.
Adding up to four-player fun for the games in the Variety Pack is a genious move too. Certainly, it's refreshing to have a title that doesn't take itself too seriously, albeit one that you probably only get out when your chums are around.