Wario's Woods
Box Shot
Wario's Woods
Platform: NES
Publisher: Nintendo
Designer: Nintendo
Genre: Puzzle
Players: 2 (Simultaneous)
Published Date 1994
Reviewed by: Adam King

Imagine, if you will, video games in 1994. The NES was almost extinct, yet Nintendo still made one last game for it. In December of '94, Nintendo deciede to take one last stab at it, so they released Wario's Woods. This was the last NES game ever released (it's also the only NES game to be rated K-A by the ESRB).

There's not much of a story. The evil Mario wannabe, Wario, is terrorizing the Peaceful Woods with monsters and bombs. Our favorite Mushroom Retainer, Toad, takes it upon himself to stand up to the invasion.

Basically, this is another in the long line of Mario puzzle games. Instead of vitamins or cookies, you need to move bombs and monsters. The gamefield is inside a tree, filled with monsters and bombs. The object is to get rid of the monsters. To do that, you need to make a row of three objects (one of them must be a bomb), either horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, and the monsters in the row disappear (sound familiar?). Toad can do this by lifting either one thign or a whole row. Be careful, not all of them can be destroyed by just placing them with bombs. Some monsters can only be hit with a diagonal row, some need to be hit twice, and some need to be hit, then hit again while they're flashing.

In each level, a pixie will create bombs to fall, and you need to move it around while Birdo watches from the upper right corner. After a set time, Wario will appear, and Pidget (that little thing on the magic carpets in Super Mario Bros. 2) will drop bombs and more monsters for you to destroy. Wario will also cause the ceiling to fall down a notch, reducing your workspace (matches of at least four items will raise it back up). Then Birdo will come back, and this goes on until you either win the level, or you get squashed. If you complete the level in time, you'll be rewarded with coins, and 30 coins equals a continue (a battery saves you game after every 10th stage).

There are several play modes. Game A is you basic game. Game B is the same, except you have to fight a boss every 10 stages (to damage the boss, make a match that touches him or her). Versus modes lets you and a friend duke it outin a best-of-5. If you don't know how to play, there's a Lesson mode which will teach you how. There's even a Time Trial mode, which tests how fast you can clear the stages.

The graphics are great. The enemies are colorful, and all the characters have good animations. The sounds aren't bad either, with bouncy tunes that change every time Wario comes along. The controls let Toad do a variety of things. This game has varied challenge. It starts out easy, but by the time you reach Level 30, things really heat up. Picking up and moving the monsters can be a bit tricky (because you either grab the enemy in front of Toad, or the one to the lower diagonal) but it serves its purpose fine most of the time.

The biggest problem is that you played this type of game before (Dr. Mario, Yoshi's Cookie, etc.). This game will remind you of that fact a lot. However, it's still fun to play, and a decent last hurrah from Nintendo.