Title: “WarioWare: Get It Together!”

Available on: Nintendo Switch

Developer: Nintendo, Intelligent Systems | Publisher: Nintendo

Release: Sept. 10, 2021

For how much Nintendo hyped the Switch’s portability and multiplayer capabilities when it first debuted in 2017, its library of party games has been disappointing so far. It took more than a year for Nintendo’s signature multiplayer series Mario Party to come to the Switch, and the console’s launch title, “1-2-Switch,” paled in comparison to its predecessors, “Wii Sports” for the Wii and “Nintendo Land” for the Wii U. New multiplayer games, most of them from third-parties, have trickled in over the years, but the newest entry to the WarioWare series, “WarioWare: Get It Together!” is the first time I’ve felt like Nintendo finally delivered on its initial advertisements.

The story is what it needs to be, a wacky premise to explain why you, as the player, are frantically cycling through collections of seconds-long minigames called “microgames” that are a hallmark of the franchise. Wario’s video game development company, Wario Ware Inc., has just finished developing its latest video game console. After a series of unfortunate events, Wario and his staff get sucked into the system and must play through the levels they created to escape.

By design, the WarioWare series has always embraced chaos, and “Get It Together!” is no exception. It has more than 200 microgames and just as many art styles and gameplay conventions. The screen shouts a prompt and you have seconds to make sense of what’s being asked and complete the task: One moment you’re squeezing out a giant tube of toothpaste; the next you’re lying in wait to trap a sentient sausage that’s been cut up to look like an octopus; and the next you’re hurrying to pluck out a man’s armpit hair. The humor in “Get It Together!” is crude and irreverent, teeming with fart jokes, nose-picking and the like (one game called ‘Manneken Pis’ has you maneuvering a fountain statue to put out a fire with a stream of … well, you get the idea).

In short, it’s everything players have come to expect from a WarioWare game.

Each collection of microgames is built around a certain theme, such as fantasy, nature and food. My favorite was easily Nintendo Classics, which was filled with delightful nods to other Nintendo properties like Mario and Splatoon. One game that never failed to make me laugh is a replica of the tea party minigame in “Fire Emblem: Three Houses” where you have to pick the correct dialogue option to confess your feelings to a character. There’s something about “Confess feelings!” popping up as a prompt after you were frantically smashing buttons a second ago that just tickles me.

In one of the most chaotic additions to the series yet, “Get It Together!” has you tackle these microgames with a crew of oddball characters from the WarioWare universe. Though they all have similar controls, each crew member has a unique style of movement and attack that can make some games a breeze to win and others feel impossible. Wario flies around in a jet pack and body slams targets to his immediate left or right. The (frankly adorable) witch Ashley flies around on her broom and shoots spells from her wand. Some characters are designed specifically for two players, such as Kat and Ana — twin ninjas that never stop bouncing and can each throw shuriken in only one direction.

Despite this variety it wasn’t long before I started sticking to the same three to four characters whenever possible, as those with a wider range of movement and access to projectiles definitely had an edge over those with limited movement. To wit, one character who can’t move at all and can only fire discs from afar was benched almost immediately.

In Story Mode, which can be tackled alone or with another player, the game randomly cycles through your choice of crew members or all available characters as you play through increasingly fast-paced microgames. Lose four times, and it’s game over. After winning a certain number of games, each round culminates in a longer boss battle, though, despite the name, few put you up against a “boss” enemy in the traditional sense. More often you’re completing an intricate task — at least as compared to the simpler microgames — such as operating a drawbridge to let cars and boats pass or guiding a mechanical arm on an assembly line.

One interesting consequence of having so many playable characters is that each microgame is designed to have multiple solutions. It became a challenge in itself to figure out all the different ways I could complete the same objective. Need to protect a field of flowers from being struck by a meteor? Depending on who you’re playing as, you can either fire projectiles at it, slam into it to push it away or suck the entire meteor up with your laser beam. Have to get a performer into a spotlight? Shoot the overhead light to pivot it toward them or just physically push the actor across the stage — either way, problem solved.

After beating the main campaign, a slew of side missions, weekly online challenges and other extras were compelling and addictive enough to keep me revisiting single-player mode. However, where “Get It Together!” really shines is in its ridiculous number of multiplayer options. Previous WarioWare entries have included multiplayer modes, but the range of playable characters in “Get It Together!” and the craziness that comes with randomly switching between them throws enough unpredictability into the mix to keep you on your toes even if you’ve beaten a microgame a million times. The game’s Variety Pack includes 9 multiplayer modes for between two and four players, each striking a good balance between strategy, skill and luck.

One of the most compelling, Balloon Bash, is essentially a game of hot potato where players take turns completing microgames in a tiny on-screen monitor while the other players race to inflate a balloon. Whoever is in the monitor when it pops loses. I watched allegiances rise and shatter in seconds as my friends and I alternated between working for a common goal and furiously trying to sabotage one another.

The same could be said of Puck’er Up, another crowd favorite, wherein everyone plays as the same random crew member as you compete to earn the most stars through two-part rounds. In the first half, everyone races to be the first to score a goal on an air hockey table, and the winner gets the play a microgame for a chance at two stars. However, this microgame appears in a windowed, floating screen, similar to a phone’s picture-in-picture display, that the other players can manipulate the display by squishing it, shaking it or using other effects that change each round. I was impressed by how much harder this made things; many of the games I’d easily won before on single-player were rendered all but impossible on a screen as flat as a pancake or one bouncing around like a DVD logo screen saver. Playing on single-player versus multiplayer truly felt like two distinct experiences. This added layer of chaos tackled a problem many party games struggle with: how to even the playing field between new players and veterans in a way that feels both fair and fun.

But just as the variety of characters in “Get It Together!” injected an element of randomness into these games, it also presented a serious learning curve for newcomers. Learning the movement and attack patterns for so many characters is a feat in itself, and taking the 10 to 20 minutes to walk all players through more than a dozen tutorials is even more so.

This tedious step is necessary because while you can play some multiplayer modes with just one or two characters, most force you to cycle through the entire cast, and the game doesn’t provide much context at a glance for how much players need to know before jumping in. So while “Get It Together” proved to be a fun party game, it’s definitely not the most accessible or casual one. That being said, I think that need for a certain level of familiarity makes it an excellent game option for families or groups where everyone can get in some regular playtime (I have no doubt my two sisters and I would have played this non-step when we were kids).

I’m not sure if “Get It Together!” will make a convert out of anyone who doesn’t already enjoy the series’s brand of silliness and chaos, but it’s an ambitious entry that successfully pushes the series into new territory in its own WarioWare way. It leans into its own ridiculousness to deliver a multiplayer experience that feels unique to the series and a single-player experience that has plenty of fun reasons to return even after you beat Story Mode. Embrace the chaos, and, like me, you’ll have a blast.

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