Nintendo certainly knows no end on iterating on its franchises. Yet, we can't help but think that WarioWare D.I.Y. will be the last game of the microgame franchise. Don't think of that as a bad thing. Nintendo's Intelligent Systems has truly outdone themselves with D.I.Y., mixing a full-fledged sequel with a creation tool that's, quite frankly, much too comprehensive.
Players that lack the creative drive to make their own levels will still appreciate what D.I.Y. has to offer: More than 90 pre-made games are included on the cartridge, and WarioWare vets will find themselves in rather familiar territory. The seconds-long micro-games stream in quick succession, giving players mere moments to respond to the one-to-three word directives. Progression is reminiscent of previous games in the franchise, with new collections of games unlocking after "boss" rounds.
Of course, what makes D.I.Y. the potential end-all for the WarioWare franchise is the ability to download new user-created levels into the cartridge. Potentially, you'll be able to download an infinite number of games, provided they fit into the cartridge's allocated memory. (You'll be able to keep 90 additional games at one time.) You'll be able to download new levels wirelessly, but there is a caveat: only Nintendo-approved "best submissions" will be available for download freely over a Wi-Fi connection. Otherwise, you'll be relegated to trading with friends via a local wireless connection or ... the Nintendo Wi-Fi Friend Code system.
If the thought of creating an entire game from scratch (albeit a small one) is intimidating, it should be: making a high-quality original level demands a lot of creativity, time and effort. It is an incredibly rewarding experience to go through, and is made instantly inviting thanks to the game's incredibly detailed tutorial mode. D.I.Y. breaks down each individual tool and component, offering clear instructions on how to best utilize every aspect of the creator. The lessons are interactive, and each session ends with a pop quiz, reinforcing what you've just learned. It is surprisingly complex, while still approachable. It certainly increased our desire to make a level of our own.
While you'll be able to take advantage of pre-made assets, courageous inventors will want to make everything from scratch. Every asset in a user-created level can be created with a Photoshop-esque image tool. You'll be able to create layers, copy, paste, and make various shapes. A great time-saving tool is the ability to draw half of an image, and then mirror it, creating a whole. These art assets can then be animated, and programmed to interact with both the environment and player input.
To go into further detail about the creation tool would be a bit moot, if only because picking up D.I.Y. and using the built-in tutorial would be infinitely better than describing it with words. It's clear that all types of microgames can be created with D.I.Y. -- and if the Japanese response is any indication, we're bound to see some truly inventive creations.
We cannot praise the core D.I.Y. experience enough. However, a WiiWare expansion allows both owners and non-owners of D.I.Y. to enjoy a new generation of WarioWare microgames. Releasing one day after the DS retail game is WarioWare: D.I.Y. Showcase, a downloadable Wii game (sold separately) that offers 72 additional playable games. DS systems can also connect wirelessly with the Wii to upload creations and store them on the Wii internal memory.
The WiiWare game doesn't take advantage of any unique Wii controls, so don't expect to add any motion controls to your D.I.Y. creations. Instead, the function of the stylus is replaced by an on-screen cursor, controlled by the Wii Remote. The four-player competitive mode is also a very attractive addition.
Whew. Are we done yet? There's good reason to be excited for WarioWare D.I.Y. and its companion WiiWare game -- and perhaps after reading this (brief) preview, you understand exactly why this may be the WarioWare game to end all WarioWare games.