Wario Land: Shake It! (My wrists hurt…)

Wario_land_shake_it!_boxart.jpgRemember Wario Land? Well I do, and man we NEED a new Wario Land. Forget F Zero and Metriod; THIS is the series that I want to come back. Wario Land is a series of platformers that sometimes delve into puzzle platformer, for the case of Wario Land 2 and 3. These games may have you doing different tasks or whatever, but they’re all related in one special way. It’s not about saving a princess or concurring evil; Nope they’re all about Wario making bank! All of the games are about you just getting treasure; heck in the case of Wario Land 1 it’s mandatory! Honestly this is really refreshing; sometimes I just wanna look out for number 1, not save an entire realm from evil (Well, you kinda do that part by accident, but I digress). Let’s talk about the “newest” Wario Land game, Wario Land: Shake it!, or in PAL regions Wario Land: The Shake Dimension.

 

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The Title Screen of Wario Land: Shake It!

Wario Land: Shake It! was released in 2008 for the Wii and put on the Wii U eShop in 2016. It was developed by the folks at Good-Feel and published by Nintendo. The story is that Wario (what a surprise) goes into The Shake Dimension to get the legendary treasure of the realm; The Bottomless Coin Sack, and any other scraps along the way (Oh and to save the queen and all of the inhabitants of the dimension from being imprisoned by the evil Shake King, but that’s more of a side goal for Wario). Just the standard story here; move along. The game involves you jumping, shoulder-bashing, throwing, ground pounding your way through; the works for a Wario game, but now with 100 percent more shaking of the Wiimote! This is a Wii game after all, and it’s an unspoken rule that every game made for the Wii had to have at least some motion controls. Sure it’s fun to shake a coin bag till it spills it’s contents everywhere the first 200 times, but then (like the subtitle says) your wrists start hurting. I had to stop playing for a while so I could ice the things so they wouldn’t hurt! Maybe that says more about me than the game, but the point still stands. All the levels are varied, each with their own little challenges like  “Don’t take any damage” or “Collect X amount of coins”, and three big treasures to collect; just a little something extra to do for the avid completionist. Sure the game is a tad bit on the short side, but it’s still a fun ride nonetheless.

 

Oh man, let’s talk about the visuals and the audio! The game uses a nice looking hand drawn art style, which complements the cartoony nature that all Wario Land games have. The background are drawn back hand and all unique from one another, making all of the levels stand out more . The sheer amount of work to make this game look the way it does is  absurd. Wario alone has over 2,000 frames of animation drawn for 200 actions, which is crazy! The music is a treat to listen to. The game has a great mix original tracks, like Foulwater Falls and Just Plains, and remixes from other Wario games, like Stonecarving City (No, he didn’t get his Smash Bros. victory theme from Stonecarving City; Stonecarving City got it’s music from his victory theme.) and Glittertown (A remix of Greenhorn Ruins from Wario World), for example. This soundtrack; heck, ALL Wario games’s soundtracks are severely under utilized in other Nintendo games (I want a remix of Greenhorn Forest in Smash, dang it! I will not rest until this happens!).

All in all; this is a great addition to any Wii collection. What more can I say about the game than; It’s a Wario game. Wario games are just dang fun to play, even if you do hurt yourself playing them (I would be looking at you Virtual Boy Wario Land, but I am now blind after playing you for too long for a time. Thanks for that.).

 

 

 

 

Okami (Truly Godlike)

Okami-wiiSo, I’m willing to bet many of you readers are familiar with Capcom right? Well, if for ever reason you aren’t; They’re the ones behind Mega Man, Resident Evil, Street Fighter and several other quality titles. These games are all great in their own right, however one stands above the rest in my opinion. This game would be Okami, if it wasn’t obvious enough from the title and the picture. Before we go into why this is my favorite Capcom game; let’s go over it, for the kids at home who don’t know much about it.

Okami is a game released on the PS2, PS3 and Wii in 2006. It was developed by the now defunct, Clover Studios and published by Capcom. The game uses several Japanese legends, folktales and myths to tell the story of how Amaterasu (nicknamed “Ammy” by your Navi-like partner, Issun); The Japanese god of the sun who took the form of a white wolf,who saved the land from enteral darkness. There’s a boatload more story than described here. I could go into more detail, but one; I’m lazy, two; I haven’t completed the game yet, and three; I want you to play the game yourself. The game isn’t your standard action-adventure journey either. Sure, you defeat baddies, solve some puzzles, see an old man with an orange on his head dance to keep a tree healthy; the usual affair. However there are somethings that set it apart from other games. For one; the Celestial Brush. You can use the brush in order to draw on the screen to do all sorts of things! It’s a fun feature and it is integrated really well into the combat system. Two, which I find really neat; the experience system. You see; if people don’t really believe in the gods; they are powerless. So in order to believe in you, you need do things like sidequests, restore nature, and feed the local wildlife. This is called praise and you need it to increase your life, ink for your brush, and other things. Sure it sounds basic, but it’s how it’s presented is what makes it special for me. There’s so much to talk about, however I feel like that would damper the experience for others if I told you everything.

Well that’s enough about the game itself; let’s talk why it’s my favorite Capcom game. For one it’s a joy to play. The puzzle are fun (besides those blasted ball rolling puzzles), the combats great, the colorful cast of characters (quite a few based on actual Japanese myths); it’s just an all around great time. Two, it’s absolutely stunning to look at; even today. I’ve always prefer a more stylized look to a realistic one; mainly because it just ages better, and Okami is a prime example of this. This game was released in 2006, and it looks better than quite a few games now (Then again I’ve always been a sucker for cel-shading). Finally, this is the game that got me interested in Japanese culture. Before Okami, I really didn’t know much about this place called “Japan”. Then one day while ‘surfing the net’, I came across a  Let’s Play of the game (Like I do with 95 percent of the games I’ve ever played). Since I was bored and it looked pretty, I decide to watch. I was blown away. After twenty or so parts of that LP; I knew I had to buy it for myself. So I did, and now five-ish years later, I’m learning how to speak Japanese, I have a very, very strong interest in their culture, heck; I’m going to Japan sometime soon. I could of learned the more infinitely useful language of Spanish (especially since I live in California), but I chose Japanese, because of video games. So yeah, that’s おかみ, I mean Okami. If you haven’t had the joy of playing this game, I recommend you buy it. Immediately. It’s really great if you like swordsmen who chug an entire bottle of sake before going out chopping a boulder the size of two-story house in half with a wooden sword. This game is weird. It’s Japanese after all, what did you expect?