Wario Land: Shake It! E3 Hands-on

By Aaron Linde, Jul 15, 2008 11:20pm PDT Wario Land: Shake It! (Wii) is a 2D game, and it's not on WiiWare. That was unexpected. But the production values—high quality, hand-drawn spritework, and animated cinematics provided by Ghost in the Shell producers Production I.G—are the real surprise of Nintendo's upcoming platformer.

As we've seen in the first videos of the game, Wario Land employs the gameplay scheme originated in the earlier Game Boy and Game Boy Advance series entries, with little intrusion on the part of the Wii Remote.

Where the motion controls of the device—held in the NES controller style—do appear are quite appropriate, such as tilting the controller to angle a thrown object, or shaking objects to reveal the boundless treasure lying within. Otherwise, it's business as usual for the Wario Land series, at least as far as the tutorial level demonstrated at Nintendo's conference area.

The marked departure in Wario Land: Shake It! is most certainly in the visuals. Wario's movements are fluid, characterized by a bloated shake with every step and a humorous touch to the game's look—while previous titles in the series were similarly composed, watching the 2D sprites glide by on a high definition screen was extremely impressive.

Fans of the series or classic platforming in general would do well to look into Wario Land. Levels play less like side-scrolling one-shot runs and more like standalone adventure missions, tasking the player with finding routes into different parts of a level to find increasingly rare treasure. Wario's old moves remain intact, offering veterans the same gameplay as they remember.

We weren't able to spend much time with the game, but we'll likely get our hands on the title on the E3 show floor for a longer play period later this week. Stay tuned for more on this quirky platformer.

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