Nintendo’s Intelligent Systems studio has developed some of the company’s more interesting releases over the years, including Paper Mario, Fire Emblem, WarioWare and Advance Wars. One game they co-developed, though, has been painfully without a sequel: Mario Paint. As their other franchises have taken off, they’ve never had the opening to get back to the art and music creation title. But you can tell they wanted to. With WarioWare DIY, they did it, and they did it by slamming it together with a game they were going to make anyway. And it’s pretty cool.
Of course, there’s the WarioWare part, and it’s as solid as always. For the uninitiated, you’re trying to complete three-to-five-second “microgames” in succession, and the challenges are as bizarre as they get. This time, there are 90 to start with, and you can download more. Of course, you can always make them yourself– and that’s where this game’s new features kick in.
Nintendo has created a simplified interface for creating games, but for the scope of your three-second challenges, it’s more than suitable. It’s intuitive, but in classic Nintendo style, it forces you through the tutorials anyway. (Don’t worry…the Treehouse localization team did what it could to keep the “teaching” dialogue from Wario and Penny as entertaining as possible, so it’s bearable.) Everything is touch-controlled, and programming is essentially a few lines of if/then statements. You can get it to do what you need it to, though.
Also included is a full editing suite for art and music. You can use these in your games, create standalone songs and comics, or just mess around. You can start with any element that exists in the game or start from scratch. You can share any or all of these elements with friends, and that’s certainly where the depth in DIY lies.
If you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, here it is: we’ve learned from the console versions that the staying power comes from multiplayer. And…it’s not really here. The $8 WiiWare download, DIY Showcase, adds a batch of games to the DS version, and yes, there’s a multiplayer mode. Unfortunately, it’s barebones, and since it lets you mess up opponents’ games, it’s just a matter of who randomly gets the games you can’t sabotage.
Without the sustained outlet of solid multiplayer, WarioWare DIY is just an amusing single-player toy. Of course, so was Mario Paint, and that one’s a classic.