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Wario Land Shake It! Discussion (Nintendo Wii) [game]
 
Wario Land Shake It! on the Wii
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05/16/20, 21:15  
 
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This game always got so much love on Negative World, so I was surprised to see that it didn't have a discussion thread of its own! All of the praise was spread out across threads about Kirby's Epic Yarn and Nintendo's Return To 2D Signalling The End Of Motion Controls.

I blazed through it when I first played it ten years ago. But I've been sloooowly replaying it since September or so, and really delving into the missions, and you guys were all completely right, it's just as excellent as everyone here said. Every level is like a big interconnected puzzle that you need to fully understand in order to solve. I'm getting to some of the hidden levels now, and they're just awesome!

It's kind of funny how critics so obviously misunderstood this game back in the day. I remember when Braid came out, journalists were losing their minds because "it's an easy platformer where you can just skip all the puzzles and run through the whole thing!?!? waaaaah??? ", and Wario Land: Shake It is the exact same way. If you're not doing the missions, then... why are you even playing the game in the first place?

Ironically, I actually don't think the art is as great as everyone says it is, lol. The animation that's there is beautiful, don't get me wrong, but it feels like there are only about ten different sprites in the game. It looks great and gets the job done, but I don't think that those handful of cartoons justify the game's existence alone. No, the masterful craftsmanship here is in the level design!

Anyone else play this game lately? Wario's kinda been missing since then, huh?

We all agree this is the best Wario Land game though, right? 1 and 2 are pretty straightforward platformers, and 4 is kind of a prototype for Shake It. 3 has some interesting Metroidvania stuff going on, maybe I should check that one out again! And what about World?

I've heard we're not supposed to speak of Master of Disguise...
05/16/20, 21:25   
Edited: 05/16/20, 21:41
Played this within the last year or so with my daughter. She adored it, thought Wario was hilarious and I had a great time, as much watching her enthusiasm as anything else. Wario is a little stiff in the controls compared to Mario, but it's still a fun little mid-tier platformer. It's pretty much on the same level as all the Wario games I've played, including Wario World. No one will mistake it for a killer app, but if you're a fan of platformers and you have a Wii, it's definitely worth the price.

I think the "beauty" of Shake It was more about the fluidity of the animation and the overall novelty. It came out at a time when there weren't many games that really embraced the cel-animated approach, and while I wouldn't call the game beautiful the way I'd call something like Journey or BotW beautiful, it was nice to see a game that looked that fluid on the Wii, which was a super disappointing torpor of jaggy graphics most of the time. I felt like the cel approach probably could have been applied to a lot of Nintendo properties and hoped Shake It was just an early example of the style.

Have they done anything like it since?

(Sidebar: Maybe I should go back and play Braid. I got the demo back then and thought it came across as some self-indulgent emo horseshit with an irritating lead character. But that was based on playing just a handful of levels.)
05/16/20, 23:04   
Edited: 05/16/20, 23:07
I liked Shake It a lot when it came out, and I'd like to think it holds up perfectly well. But I've also soured on the original Wario Land since its debut, and none of the numbered sequels kept my interest longer than an hour or so. So I'm not sure if I'd like it as much as I did then if I played it now. But it's definitely still a gorgeous game, it'll always have that going for it.

kriswright said:
(Sidebar: Maybe I should go back and play Braid. I got the demo back then and thought it came across as some self-indulgent emo horseshit with an irritating lead character. But that was based on playing just a handful of levels.)
It is definitely that*, but it's also a pretty great puzzle platformer. It's worth giving another shot.
05/17/20, 00:47   
Edited: 05/17/20, 00:48
@kriswright

After Mario Maker 2 raising the bar so high, next 2D Mario game has to look like this:



I love Kotabe's art!

I'm curious what you'd think of Braid. Actually, I'm curious what I'd think of Braid, I don't think I've played it in eight years! It is very wordy, but if the text annoys you then you can run past all of it and just enjoy the puzzles. Personally, I'm a sucker for its brand of meta-textual commentary; I think it has a lot to say about the nature of games and why we play them, and how that generalizes to everything that we do in life. Its riffing off of the original Super Mario Bros. is great. I don't remember if the writing itself is deep or cringeworthy, but I bet you'd personally find some things to appreciate and a lot to make fun of.

Jonathan Blow's second game, The Witness, is one of my all-time favorites. Its narrative is similarly structured to Braid's in that it's 95% puzzles and 5% philosophical monologues, but I think The Witness's execution is more refined.
05/17/20, 03:27   
Shake It is on a spreadsheet I keep called "Gaming Bucket List." I've always been such a proponent that more games should look like this, but I've never gotten around to playing it. One day! It looks great. It unfortunately just looks like a victim of "this is a Wii game, so get ready to waggle your controller."

I really enjoyed the idea of Braid. End spoilers: It does riff on the original idea of Super Mario Bros., but from what I remember, it comes right at the end, and is gone before you know it. It's a GREAT twist, but I don't know if I'd recommend it to Mario fans, necessarily. It just had too many difficulty spikes for me. I also liked the ending, but then I liked it less once I actually went back and had to read up on what the game was actually about. A bit of a stretch IMO, but Jonathan Blow is an odd guy. I've wanted to play the Witness for some time but have never gotten around to it. It's sitting on my PC in...Epic Games Store? Steam? Origin? I can't even remember at this point!
05/18/20, 17:21   
I finally beat all the missions and got all the treasure in this game! (Except the boss missions...) I'll reiterate: this is one of the best puzzle platformers ever made.

And, as fate would have it, the Anniversary Edition of Braid is coming out in just a few days...
05/11/24, 08:42   
I've been struggling to explain what makes Wario Land: Shake It so incredible, since on some level it's just another puzzle platformer. Then I realized: this is the puzzle platformer. It feels like a played out genre, but think about it. Can you actually name another traditional, non-cinematic puzzle platformer that doesn't have some gimmick on top of it? Super Mario World and Yoshi's Island have puzzle elements, but they're not puzzle games. Maybe Toki Tori?

Wario Land is the Super Mario Bros. of puzzle platformers, and the way it evolved into that is fascinating to me. The Mario Land games were bizarre takes on Mario, and that energy got translated into Wario Land 1. WL2 and 3 expanded on the thematic weirdness and realized that Wario's more stilted movement lends itself better to puzzle solving than it does to action platforming. Then WL4 went so full gonzo with its aesthetics that the series had to diverge, with WarioWare inheriting the weird style and Wario Land: Shake It using its newfound breathing room to refine the series into the quintessential family-friendly essence of Wario as a puzzle platformer.

It's especially interesting wrapping this game up as I start Animal Well, because it's making me realize how much of the latter game's "puzzle box" qualities, which it seems to be crediting to Zelda (since this is a term I've only ever seen used by Mark Brown to describe Zelda dungeons), are present in Wario Land: Shake It as well. I find it extremely satisfying to learn how an entire interconnected level shifts in response to state changes, and Shake It scratches that itch like only the best Zelda dungeons do.

Come to think of it, Donkey Kong '94 and Mario vs. Donkey Kong are another evolutionary path that trended the Mario series towards puzzle solving. They remastered Mario vs. Donkey Kong, here's hoping they keep showing Wario Land some love too!
05/11/24, 21:44   
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