Video-game review: 'Wario Land: Shake It!'
For: Nintendo Wii From: GOOD-FEEL/Nintendo ESRB Rating: Everyone (comic mischief, mild cartoon violence) "Wario Land: Shake It!" is, both figuratively and literally, a sight for sore eyes. On the figurative side, the arrival (and, more importantl...
For: Nintendo Wii
ESRB Rating: Everyone (comic mischief, mild cartoon violence)
"Wario Land: Shake It!" is, both figuratively and literally, a sight for sore eyes.
On the figurative side, the arrival (and, more importantly, fan anticipation) of "Shake It" reminds us not only that 2-D games continue to be viable on the big screen, but remain capable of creating experiences that a third dimension takes away.
That's not necessarily a gush about the game itself, which doesn't break ground so much as adequately use the tools at its disposal. The "Wario Land" series has been a Game Boy fixture for years now, and "Shake It" liberally borrows from the ground rules established by its predecessors. Wario's primary arsenal still consists of running, jumping and bull rushing and butt-stomping through blocks of stone and steel, and you need only the Wiimote's face buttons and D-pad to pull these moves off. The nunchuck attachment isn't even utilized.
Shaking the Wiimote triggers a special, landscape-altering attack that comes into play here and there, and "Shake It" employs tilt controls for a few secondary moves (throwing and shaking objects) and during the occasional diversionary stretch. (A motion-controlled submarine level, in particular, proves surprisingly fun.) But even with these extra advances, most of what transpires in "Shake It" could easily be interchanged with anything that happened in previous "Wario Land" games.
That isn't necessarily a bad thing. "Shake It" isn't too big on taking risks, but it sure knows how to have some fun with those pre-established conventions. Two-dimensional action moves at a different pace and commands a different sense of urgency than the 3-D stuff, and "Shake It" embraces this bent while also giving dedicated players numerous genuinely challenging bonus objectives to complete on each level. It's old-fashioned, but as long as we're enjoying ourselves, what's wrong with that?
Ironically, it's while discussing "Shake It's" graphics that the conversation changes considerably. This is, on almost every level, a stunningly pretty game: Wario, his allies and his enemies sport a distinctly hand-drawn (and, more importantly, hand-animated) quality, and the action takes place in front of backdrops that tastefully mix watercolor and highly stylized line art. If this is what 2-D games will look like on consoles from now on, there's no reason for this revival to end anytime soon. The only downside: "Shake It" doesn't support widescreen even if you play it on a widescreen display, using black bars on each side instead of extending all that beauty across the screen.
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