North American cover art for the NES
Wario's Woods (ワリオの森 Wario no Mori?) is a puzzle game developed and published by Nintendo, released on both the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) video game consoles. It was first released in Japan on February 19, 1994 and was later released in North America on March 10, 1994 and in Europe in 1995. The SNES version was released exclusively in North America in December 1994. Wario's Woods was the last official licenced game released for the NES, and is also the only game in its library to have an official rating by the ESRB.
Wario's Woods is a falling block game where the objective is to clear the playing field of monsters by using bombs, arranging them into rows of matching colors. Unlike other puzzle games such as Tetris, where the player directly manipulates the game pieces, the player controls Toad, who moves around the playing field and arranges them after they have fallen.
The game was re-released multiple times, first as a broadcast on the Satellaview from April 23, 1995 to June 30, 2000, and as a Virtual Console title for the Wii in 2006 and for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U in 2013.
The objective of Wario's Woods is to clear the playing field of monsters of varying colors by using bombs of matching color, which are dropped into the field from the top of the screen. In order to do so, the monsters and bombs must be rearranged by the player such that three or more objects of the same color are placed adjacent to one another in horizontal, vertical, or diagonal rows, with at least one object being a bomb (such rows are called a "match"). For example, a match may consist of two red monsters and one red bomb, but may also consist of two red bombs and one red monster. When the play field is cleared of all the monsters, the player progresses to the next round, where the initial number of monsters increases.[nb 1] There are different monster types that can only be destroyed in specific ways, such as requiring two matches in quick succession or being placed into a diagonal match.
Unlike other action puzzle games such as Tetris or Puzzle League where the player directly manipulates the game pieces, either as they fall or via a cursor, the player directly controls the character Toad, who moves around inside the playing field atop the fallen objects. Toad can pick up individual objects or lift entire stacks and place them elsewhere in the playing field, but is unable to manipulate objects he cannot immediately reach. However, Toad can perform a variety of additional tricks, such as kicking objects across the play field and scurrying up the sides of stacks to retrieve specific objects.[nb 2] If the player cannot clear the playing field of its objects quickly enough, the play field will eventually fill to the brim and trap Toad, resulting in a Game Over.[nb 1]
During play there is a timer called the "Time Gauge," which switches between Bomb Time and Enemy Time each time it expires, causing the game rules to change. During Bomb Time, Birdo drops bombs into the playing field. During Enemy Time, Wario drops monsters into the playing field and lowers the ceiling, shrinking the available space and making it both harder to arrange objects and easier for the playing field to quickly fill up.[nb 3]
Techniques and Bonuses
The player is awarded special advantages for performing various techniques. A chain reaction, which occurs when one match triggers another match, extends Bomb Time and shortens Enemy Time.[nb 4] If the player clears a row that contains five or more objects, a Diamond appears, which when used in a match, automatically removes all monsters that match its color from the playing field.[nb 5] Upon completion of a level, the player is awarded a certain number of coins that decreases each time the Time Gauge expires, for which a continue is awarded each time the player accumulates 30 coins in the NES version, and 50 for the SNES version.
In addition to the main single-player mode, Wario's Woods offers two play modes: a time attack mode, where single-players complete a number of levels as fast as possible; and a competitive two-player versus mode, where each player races to clear all the monsters from his playing field before the other one does. The players can spawn monsters in their opponent's screen via the techniques mentioned above.[nb 6] The Super NES version gives players the option to play this multiplayer mode against computer-controlled players of increasing difficulty, while the NES version supplies unique boss battles, which are fought in a special variation of its main single-player mode.
According to the NES instruction manual, the events of Wario's Woods were first witnessed in a once peaceful area in the Mushroom Kingdom known appropriately as the "Peaceful Woods" where Wario had cast a spell over the forest's inhabitants and manipulated them in order to make them his minions. In an attempt to take over the Mushroom Kingdom, Wario uses his band of monsters to destroy the peace of the forest and as a result, peaceful creatures were no longer welcome in the woods. Toad, who is introduced as the Mushroom Kingdom hero, makes his way to Wario's Woods in order to quiet the sinister lout and win the woods back for the sprites (fairy like beings who kept the peace in Wario's Woods until Wario gained control).
With the help of a fairy known as Wanda (who could create bombs) and Birdo (who provided encouragement for Toad), Toad had to rescue the Mushroom Kingdom from Wario's greed and power. Toad's job was to take the bombs and line them up with the enemies of the woods so that Wario's monsters would go down in defeat. If Toad clears enough monster-packed sections of the forest (including various mini-bosses), he'll go up against the mighty Wario himself. After defeating Wario the first time, it is then revealed to Toad that the villain that he had just defeated was a "False Wario", and that the real Wario in the meantime had prepared for the final battle by inflating himself to a massive size. Upon defeating the real Wario, the antagonist soon shrinks back to his regular size and is soon chased out of the woods by the victorious Toad; thus, allowing peace to finally be restored to the woods. The ending to the SNES version of Wario's Woods is slightly different as it instead involves Toad destroying Wario's Castle through the use of a large bomb which as a result causes the castle to go crumbling down and puts an end to Wario's rule and spell over the Mushroom Kingdom and its inhabitants.
Two modified versions of the SNES version of Wario's Woods were released for the Satellaview, a satellite modem add-on for the Super Famicom. The first version was copyrighted in 1994 and released under the name Wario's Woods: Bakushou Version (ワリオの森 爆笑バージョン Wario no Mori Bakushō Bājon?) The Bakushou Version featured personalities from the Japanese radio comedy show, Bakushō Mondai (JA).
The second version of Wario's Woods broadcast for Satellaview was released under the name Wario's Woods: Again (ワリオの森 再び Wario no Mori: Futatabi?). It was broadcast from April 23, 1995 to June 30, 2000, throughout the lifespan of the Satellaview. The game was quite popular and it was rebroadcast at least seven times throughout the tenure of St.GIGA's Satellaview-broadcasting period. The game was also broadcast at least once as one of the Satellaview's special event versions.
The NES version of Wario's Woods is available as a collectible item in the 2001 game Animal Crossing for the Nintendo GameCube, obtained through special means. This version was also one of the first titles available for the Wii Virtual Console, released alongside its launch in North America, Australia and Europe, and on December 12, 2006 in Japan. It is currently available for purchase at the Wii Shop Channel for 500 Nintendo Points. It was also available for the eShop in Japan on May 29, 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS and on January 29, 2014 for the Wii U and in Europe for the 3DS on October 24, 2013 and even released for the 3DS and the Wii U eShop in North America on November 7, 2013 making it the first Virtual Console game to be released on both the 3DS eShop and Wii U eShop simultaneously at the same time.
Wario's Woods has received lukewarm to favorable reviews. Allgame rated Wario's Woods 4 stars out of 5 for the NES version, and 3.5 stars out of 5 for the SNES version. Christian Huey, who reviewed the NES version, stated that the controls were "both surprisingly complex and completely intuitive" while the gameplay has a "surprising level of depth," and labeled the two-player versus mode as "an extremely welcome addition to the core game." Scott Alan Marriott, who reviewed the SNES version, felt that the game "doesn't quite measure up to the addictiveness of either Tetris or Dr. Mario," citing the game's "extremely awkward" controls and complicated gameplay. While Marriott appreciated "that the developers were trying something new," he concluded that "Sometimes when you add things to an already proven formula [for action puzzle games], you dilute the ingredients that made it a success." Because Nintendo Power ceased coverage of NES games starting with its March 1994 issue (the NES version was released in December that year), it only reviewed the SNES version of Wario's Woods, awarding it a score of 3.375 out of 5.
The reviews for the Virtual Console release ranged from mixed to positive, applauding the gameplay and depth, but criticizing the choice to release the primitive NES version over the more comprehensive SNES version. Lucas Thomas of IGN awarded the game an 8.0 out of 10, praising the game's unique approach to the puzzle genre and graphics that "took full advantage of the 8-bit hardware [and were] full of character," but recommended "saving [one's] points for the SNES version, if it becomes available." Aaron Thomas of GameSpot gave Wario's Woods a score of 7.0 out of 10, admiring the "fun, addictive game play" and "surprising amount of depth," but criticizing the game's repetitive music and poor sound effects, adding that he also prefers the "ideal" SNES version. Nintendo Life scored the game 6 out of 10, stating that while the game is fun, "enjoyment for most will no doubt be short-lived."
- From the Operations Guide (5. Basic Play)
- From the Operations Guide (2. Controls)
- From the Operations Guide (7. Time Gauge)
- From Lessons Mode: "If Toad triggers a series of two or more matches by dropping a bomb, Bomb Time will be extended."
- From Lessons Mode: "A Diamond will appear if you clear a row of five or more monsters and bombs. Make a match with the diamond and all of the same colored monsters will disappear."
- From the Operations Guide (10. Vs. Mode)
- Nintendo City - NES Games: Wario's Woods
- NES Player - Special Features
- Nintendo (2006-11-19). Wario's Woods. Virtual Console. Nintendo.
- Marriott, Scott Alan. "Wario's Woods (SNES) Review". Allgame. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
- Thomas, Lucas M. (December 6, 2006). "Wario's Woods Virtual Console Review". IGN. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
- Huey, Christian. "Wario's Woods (NES) Review". Allgame. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
- Nintendo (1994-12-10). Wario's Woods. Super NES. Nintendo.
- "Wario's Woods". Nintendo Power (67): 78–81. November 1995.
- Thomas, Aaron (January 10, 2007). "Wario's Woods Review for Wii". GameSpot. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
- Wario's Woods instruction manual. Nintendo. 1994-02-19.
- ワリオの森 爆笑バージョン＆イベントバージョン１ Satellaview Memorial. Retrieved July 23, 2010.
- ワリオの森 爆笑バージョン. SFC Mania. July 27, 2008.
- セント・ギガ衛星データ放送. St.GIGA. Archived 20 June 2000.
- Kameb. スーパーファミコンアワー番組表. The Satellaview History Museum. 12 February 2008.
- Calvert, Darren (November 20, 2006). "Wario's Woods (Virtual Console) review". Nintendo Life. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
- GameRankings.com Wario's Woods
- Wario's Woods at MobyGames
- Wario's Woods at NinDB
- Wario's Woods (NES) at GameFAQs
- Wario's Woods (SNES) at GameFAQs
- Wario's Woods guide at StrategyWiki
- N-sider full game credits (SNES)
- Burst of Laughter Wario's Woods pictures