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WarioWare D.I.Y.

As gamers, we’re passionate about play. Though many of us yearn to express our own creative ideas, game-making tools can be intimidating, to say the least. Nintendo has now put together a package that lowers the bar of entry for game creation, whilst simultaneously offering a fun experience many folks are already well familiar with.

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WarioWare D.I.Y. is the latest from Nintendo’s quirky micro-game series, and the focus here is primarily on giving players tools to create their own entertainment. Surprisingly, D.I.Y. manages to offer ample depth and complexity without being unapproachable. Ever wanted to be a game developer? Well, let’s dive on in and see just what’s under the hood of D.I.Y.

D.I.Y. is broken up into three main components: WarioWare, Inc., the D.I.Y. Shop, and the D.I.Y. Studio, along with an Options Garage and various wireless features. Budding game designers will likely want to get their feet wet at WarioWare, Inc., the game’s development university, if you will.

The presentation of the package is, as is typical of the WarioWare series, smartly conceived and enjoyable to navigate. WarioWare, Inc. consists of D.I.Y. 101, a hands-on-tutorials section; the Job Center where you can put your handiwork to good use for Wario; and the Assembly Dojo, a sort of challenge mode that tests your game-developing skills. Each of the different components does an excellent job of not only teaching you the ropes and confirming your knowledge of the basics, but it manages to be fun and interesting while doing so.

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It should also be noted that game-making isn’t the only creative element on offer here. You’re taught and given the opportunity to compose music and design comics as well. The toolsets are fairly basic; you won’t be creating symphonies or entire graphic novels. However, there’s enough here to give folks the ability to come up with plenty of fun, clever ideas.

At the D.I.Y. Shop, you can play, view and listen to your masterpieces or enjoy the many contributions by Diamond Software (the stock micro-games included in the package). This particular area of D.I.Y. is presented as a sort of library where you can sift through creations one by one, or gather a collection of pieces to be put into a blender and played in one, long event similar to past games in the WarioWare series.

The real meat of the package, though, lies within the D.I.Y. Studio where you can take control of your own mad science. What’s on offer here is a fitting collection of devices that will allow players to put together enjoyable showpieces for their own amusement or to share with others. There are also four pages of achievements, as well as virtual forums where you can pick up additional tips and tidbits.

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Everything, from creating backgrounds and animations, to composing music and A.I. instruction, is made easy. Though the A.I. commands are few, the potential is practically limitless. Within just a few, short minutes, you can easily whip up something you’re proud of, and the process of game-making is utterly addictive once you get your creative juices flowing.

My only real complaint with WarioWare D.I.Y. is that every micro-game must be centered around a single action: tap. Unlike WarioWare Touched!, wherein players were tasked with sliding, blowing, tapping and holding, D.I.Y. focuses on just the one input.

Folks who love to tinker are still going to have a great time with WarioWare D.I.Y., regardless. You can exchange creations either locally or online, and already the community has managed to produce some truly inspirational works of gaming art. After perusing the Internet to check out other people’s creations with the software, I know I’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s possible with D.I.Y. In spite of having only the one, main form of input for micro-games, there’s still an amazing amount of power bottled up in this tiny DS package. Many of the included micro-games by Intelligent Systems left me scratching my head in wonder, but an option to go in and dissect their work allowed me to see how I could incorporate their techniques into my own creations.

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The sound and graphics are typical of the series, strictly utilizing the DS’ 2D capabilities. With this particular title, it’s really what you, the player, make of it in terms of the visual experience. All of the stock music and sounds are excellent, and there are plenty of great options available to the player when composing original works; the interface makes sense and is easy to use.

WarioWare D.I.Y. is an inspired piece of software for the now-aging DS hardware. It gives players a taste of the intricacies involved in game making, as well as the tools needed to come up with great original content. It’s limited in many regards, but it’s also a near-perfect fit for the handheld space. As an on-the-go engine that will enable gamers to come up with bit-sized marvels on the fly, there’s simply nothing else out there quite like it.

9 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in August 2008.

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