Back during E3, I talked about how Nintendo had to actually kick me out of their demo area, because I wouldn't stop playing Wario Land: Shake It! and, to be honest, that was true. The game was absolutely amazing when I got my hands on it. Would my favorable impressions be the same when I got my hands on the final product? Well, now that I've had a few days to plow through it, I'm ready to determine that.
In short: yes.
But, before I start going on and on about how great the game is, let's discuss the problems. First of all, the game is incredibly linear. Aside from the missions in each level, which help to break up the monotony of just getting through each screen, there isn't much else here for you to discover. You meet challenges that are bested by Wario's abilities and you move on. Rinse and repeat.
Wario Land: Shake It! in around 6. The game is comprised of 5 different areas. Just to give you an idea, the first area only has 5 stages, including the boss fight. Aside from those two issues, the rest of my time with the game was pure fun.
So what did I enjoy about the game? Well, the missions in each stage are fun to tackle. On top of that, the game has a lot of charm (you'll be laughing at Wario's antics, trust me), the visual presentation is spot-on (unless you're playing in 16:9, in which case you have to put up with ugly bars on either side of the screen) and the controls really work out well.
As I said during my time with the game at E3, the gesture-based controls aren't overused here at all. You shake the Wiimote to punch the ground, thus prying things loose in the environment or stunning enemies around you. You also shake the Wiimote to free coins from their pouch prisons throughout each level. And, finally, whenever you need to throw something or shoot missiles whilst in your underwater submarine, you just tile the Wiimote in order to aim. It's very basic and simple uses of the Wiimote's functionality, which perfectly suit the title.
Visually, there isn't much that I can say that you don't already know. The animation work done by Production I.G. is impeccable. Wario moves so fluidly, the cutscenes look great and everything is just brought to life so well in the game. The areas in the game each have their own feel, thanks to inspired design, and it's one of the most visually-pleasing games I've ever enjoyed on my Wii.
There's no doubt about: Wario Land: Shake It! is a must-own title for the Wii. I just can't stress enough how fun this game is and how much fans of 2D titles, as well as platformers in general, will get a kick out of it. If you've got the coin, I suggest you invest in Wario's latest adventure.
Final score: 9/10