38. WarioWare: Twisted!
Developers: Nintendo SPD Group No. 1, Intelligent Systems
Year: 2005 in USA
Format: Game Boy Advance
Yes, this game does not have a European release date. Despite the fact that most hardcore gamers (I assume) import titles from around the world as if their very lives depended on it, I only own one game that was never on sale in the UK. And in actuality, when I bought it I presumed that it was a UK version, only realising my mistake when I got home. So...yeah.
Anyway, WarioWare is a sort of distilled gaming. You get a five-second “microgame” where you have to do something – shoot an alien, catch a ball, pick a nose. Do that and you get the next one. And the next one. And the pace gradually speeds up until you’re giggling uncontrollably/dead. It’s brilliant.
Twisted! is the second in the series. As a rule, each WarioWare has a different gimmick, and Twisted!’s comes from its distinctive cartridge, which is motion-sensitive. (A dry run for the Wii?) The majority of the microgames thus involve spinning your GBA as if your puny human life depended on it. Need to slice some confetti with a katana? Spin your GBA. Need to tune in a radio? Spin your GBA. Need to control a giant robot, making it punch away a colossal onion about to impact the Earth? Actually, for that one you just press A. But most of them you spin your GBA.
It’s simply a gigantic amount of fun. WarioWare games are always a great laugh, both for the sheer enjoyment of the core series mechanic and the delightful abandon the designers employ in developing the scenarios and wildly varying visual design. But Twisted! is the best of the ones I’ve played thanks to that motion sensor. It’s unerringly precise, and it has a little rumble motor that helps with immersion no end, as well as clicking satisfyingly when you’re scrolling through the menus. And you can just about play the game by sitting in an office chair, holding the GBA still and spinning the chair instead. Delightful.
MAGIC MOMENT: there’s a truly vast amount of unlockable stuff to collect (I think I still haven’t 100%ed it yet, actually). It’s hard to pick a single moment, but I think the record of the Super Mario Bros. theme you can unlock pips it – it’s placed on a little record player, and of course you can scratch it by spinning the GBA. Wickety-wick!