While the 3DS is hanging on as a gaming platform longer than some gaming pundits would like, Nintendo is making the most of it by doing some really experimental stuff. For example, there are four odd modes in the newly released WarioWare Gold.
Two of these wouldn’t work easily on, say, a Nintendo Switch.
WarioWare games consist of hundreds of microgames, each of which is meant to be played and completed in a few seconds. The game will queue up one microgame after another, usually until the player fails four times. Every so often the games will speed up, forcing you to commit the same quick action—it could be hammering a nail or drawing a letter or guiding a piece of food through a man’s digestive system or electrifying a city or making Link from Wind Waker land on a platform—faster.
In a special mode called “Cruise Controls,” the new WarioWare Gold puts players on a countdown clock and challenges them to finish 15 microgames as fast as possible. The twist is that players can slow the games down by physically lowering the 3DS, and speed them up by raising it. It’s the opposite of how an accelerator pedal works in a car, but still a similar idea.
I guess you could do this on Switch, since its controllers have tilt sensors, too.
In a mode called SplitScreen (great name!), WarioWare Gold’s warrior girls Kat and Ana each take charge of one of the 3DS’ screens, queuing up microgames and challenging the player to play them one after the other: top screen game, then bottom screen game, then top screen, then bottom, etc until you fail.
The novelty here is how quickly the games come at the player. There’s no breather the way there is in the traditional WarioWare set-up. In normal WarioWare, there are a few seconds of prep time between each micrograme. The player can collect themselves briefly. In Splitscreen, the moment the player finishes a Kat game, an Ana game is waiting on the other screen. Back and forth. No rest.
Could you do this on a single-screen system like the Switch? Maybe if you divide the screen down the middle and made it a left-right thing, but probably not as well.
WarioWare games are interactive comedies. The developers are trying to make players laugh with each new bizarre nose-picking, toilet-paper-rolling and JRPG-spoofing microgame they toss out. One of the sillier microgames in WarioWare Gold challenges players to rotate virtual versions of one of the many models of 3DS or 2DS that Nintendo has released. The goal is to remove the system’s stylus.
Those virtual versions of the old systems can be unlocked in one of the game’s collectibles menus and then can be fiddled with via the 3DS’ touchscreen. I was therefore able to get my 3DS’ lower screen to display the lower half of a Nintendo 2DS, tap the virtual 2DS’ power button and play a few WarioWare microgames on it. I initially thought I was supposed to use my 3DS buttons to play the games. Nope. I had to tap the buttons of the virtual 2DS on my screen to play it.
The Nintendo Switch could definitely do this. Hopefully, however, it’s not how Nintendo will eventually (someday?) add 3DS backward compatibility to their newest handheld.
WarioWare Gold players can unlock the ability to edit the audio track for the game’s silly story scenes. When Mona goes to try on dresses or when Wario fumes about everyone around him, why let professional voice actors deliver the lines? Players can read the script on the 3DS’ lower screen, then read them, or adlib, on their own.
This would work on the Nintendo Switch if the Switch had a microphone or supported headsets in reliably non-confusing ways. It currently does not.
All this 3DS innovation may aggravate some Nintendo fans who would prefer to play on Switch, but I can’t help but smile that Nintendo remains such a bizarre outfit that they’ll do things like this even on a system that’s more than seven years old.