[VR Review] The Only Good Virtual Boy Games, Part 14: Wario Land

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I’ve saved the absolute best for last. Yes, Virtual Boy had a Wario Land game, and it’s a shame it was never ported to 3DS in the virtual console along with the other good games from the VB library. It was a flagship title for Virtual Boy upon release, and Nintendo didn’t hesitate to hype it up in their usual weird way:

It’s an extremely tight, refined, well designed game. Nothing here is wasted and there’s all sorts of neat details. You can power up Wario using animal themed hats, similar to the animal themed suits in Super Mario Bros 3, or the bunny ears from Super Mario Land 2: The 6 Golden Coins.

Wario is sometimes evil, but mostly a morally neutral character. He fights not for justice, but to amass treasure for himself. In this game it was stolen from him as he slept by tribal creatures and taken underground. Ostensibly the primary goal of each level is simply to find the key and bring it to the exit:

However the secondary goal is to recover your stolen treasure. Somewhere in each level is a hidden entrance to a treasure room, where one of your 10 priceless treasure items is being held. Which ending you get will depend on how much treasure you recover by the end, and how quickly.

There is nothing at all to fault here. The only drawbacks of the game are inherent to the limitations of the Virtual Boy platform, namely the red and black color scheme. Depth is used to accentuate parallax mapping and Wario can jump into background layers of the environment, then back to the foreground using special spring blocks.

This game is tremendous fun, especially if you play with a determination to find every last treasure and beat the game as quickly as you can in order to see the best ending. Like Rise of the Triad I want to give this game a 10. It’s very special. But this time I’m actually going to, because the game is simply that good.

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