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Land: Shake It!
Score: 8.5 / 10
Unequivocally, the world would be a better
place if there were more games like Wario Land Shake It! I haven't
played a 2D platformer in what seems like forever and it's a testament
to a neglected genre that it can still showcase a great gaming
As the name so subtly suggests, Wario Land: Shake It! includes some
rapid shaking of the Wii Remote among a few other uses of the motion
control, but most of the control is inputted by the directional pad and
the 1 and 2 buttons. For those old
enough to remember, it's a lot like playing
an 8-bit Super Mario game.
The big difference between those original Mario Bros. games and this is
that Wario Land: Shake It! has a visual style that feels so animated and
alive that it's a lot like controlling a cartoon, a fact that is not
successfully displayed by screenshots. All of Wario's movements look
really good and the backgrounds and
environments look like they had a lot of
love and attention poured on them.
As kid friendly the graphics are and accessible the levels are, Shake
It! has some really hard challenges for older players. Each level tasks
Wario with freeing a "werfle" at the end of each level then running back
through the level before the timer runs down to zero and all the loot
Wario collected counts for nothing. But that's not usually a problem.
What is a problem is fulfilling the optional tasks, like finishing the
level without taking any damage or not falling in the water or jumping
on three enemies of one type in a row. Fulfilling some of these
objectives are a challenge and if you're a completionist or just think
you should be able to conquer such a kid friendly game you'll likely
spend more hours than you should learning the secrets of each level to
find all the treasure and learn the quickest exit routes. Doing it right
is a reward unto itself but those less inclined for this kind of
perfection can buy other rewards from the shop, like heart containers
and area maps (to unlock the next area).
With the recent release of the brutally difficult Mega Man 9 -- a
throwback to the NES Mega Man games -- a game like Shake It! acts as a
good counterpoint because while it can be approached with a hardcore
attitude, it can easily be played with a much more relaxed frame of
mind. Or by 9-year olds.