This image is from the official announcement trailer for "WarioWare: Get It Together!," owned by Nintendo

Of all the side characters for Nintendo to devote a game to, Wario is the perfect choice. The garlic-loving, suspicious-looking loudmouth is emblematic of the absurd chaos that is “WarioWare: Get It Together.”

Like the other games in the series, “WarioWare: Get It Together” is comprised of “microgames,” or short mini-games which the player must complete in less than ten seconds. There are multiple game modes, which unlock after the story mode is complete. The story is short and sweet, clocking in at around two and a half hours, and can be played alone or co-op. In it, Wario and company are sucked into their new handheld game console. In order to fix the game and find his friends, Wario travels through each companion’s level. Beat the microgames, beat the level, unlock a playable character — sounds easy, right?

Far from it, as many of these microgames are the farthest thing from what I would call “easy.” Each one is a puzzle in which the only instructions are one or two word phrases. In one microgame, the player’s only prompt is “tweeze,” and in another the player gets no hint other than “feed.” Within less than a minute, I delivered a present, made a giant appear behind a windmill and got rid of computer viruses. Even after you’ve figured out what to do, the ever-increasing speed catches you off guard every round. Urgency is the name of the game, and with only four lives it’s impossible to look away for even a second. 

The story mode serves as a beefed-up tutorial to unlock every character, but that’s not a bad thing. Goofy cutscenes followed by themed challenges make for an enjoyable single player experience. However, the game is best when played with friends. As if trying to decipher instructions in mere seconds wasn’t challenging enough on your own, adding a second, third or fourth player creates pure pandemonium. It’s far too easy to swing that pocket watch in one direction, only for the second player to get in the way, and it becomes too late to hypnotize that watercolor Wario in the background.

Speaking of playing with others, the character variety is truly admirable. There are over 200 microgames, and every single one works with all 14 characters. The ability to design the sheer amount of games that are functional in 14 different ways is a testament to the skill and creativity of the “WarioWare” developers. Some characters, like Ashley, can fly and shoot in any direction, but others, such as 18-Volt, are stationary. Although some are similar, every character has a different play style. Of course some characters will be more effective than others for specific microgames, but there is never a moment in which a character is completely ineffective.

This creativity shines brightest, though, when examining the wildly different art styles of each microgame. This wacky variation combined with lightning speed is what makes the game so special. Some microgames — such as “straighten up,” in which you have to make a jumping man land upright — appear as though they were designed in Microsoft Paint, while others ask you to draw a detailed sword from the body of a hyper-realistic knight with Wario’s head. From nonsensical, childlike scribbles to the art of “Fire Emblem: Three Houses,” the developers of the game clearly made an effort to include a little bit of everything. This makes every microgame feel fresh, as though you’re playing an entirely different game every ten seconds.

A key feature of the game is the in-game currency; players can earn coins through completing missions, most of which involve playing every microgame and reaching a certain score. Players spend this money either on continuing the game once you lose all four lives or on gifts to level up characters, which take the form of anything from a shower cap to a baseball bat. This comes in handy during Wario Cup, an online, ranked game mode in which the characters’ levels determine how much your score is multiplied. For the fierce competitor, the weekly challenges in this mode are not to be missed. Sadly, this currency isn’t very useful outside of Wario Cup unless you want to pay for more lives. Sure, there are costumes and character art to unlock, but if you (like me) aren’t interested in your rank, then this system becomes somewhat useless. 

Ultimately, the main draw of the game is how much fun it is to play with friends. My boyfriend and I have already spent far too much time deconstructing a plan of attack for each microgame, but in the end all sense of order explodes into a goofy, chaotic race. I’m not exactly the best when it comes to quick thinking, so I have caused many deaths by my dumbfounded reactions to the instructions he’s already figured out. There are already plenty of party games — for example the “Mario Party” series — in which it’s (silently) encouraged to ruin your fellow players’ days, but in “WarioWare: Get it Together” teamwork is equal parts necessary, messy and exciting.

Extreme speed, an abundance of zany microgames and the ease of multiplayer make “WarioWare: Get it Together” a great experience, but what makes this game worth the money is the fact that it’s just plain weird. The randomness keeps the player coming back for more, and the extremely fast pace never loses its excitement. Losing that fourth and final life feels like Wario himself is rubbing garlic in your face, and I came crawling back to beat my high score every time.

Daily Arts Writer Harper Klotz can be reached at