Wario Land: Shake It!
|Wario Land: Shake It!|
North American box art
Wario Land: Shake It![a] is a Wario platform game developed by Good-Feel for the Wii. The game was released in Japan on July 24, 2008 and in other regions in September 2008. It is the first Wario Land game to be released on a home video game console and succeeds Wario Land 4, which was released in 2001. The game was digitally re-released on the Wii U eShop in PAL regions on April 7, 2016, in Japan on August 24, 2016, and in North America on November 17, 2016.
Shake It is a side-scrolling platform game in which the player controls the protagonist Wario, who must travel through five distinct continents, each of which offers up to 6 sequential levels, defeating the boss in each of them. The game is played by holding the Wii Remote horizontally, and makes use of the controller's motion control features; in addition to Wario's standard moveset, including a forward charge attack and a butt stomp, Wario also possesses several new moves which utilise the Remote's motion-sensitive features. By shaking the controller, Wario can perform a powerful ground punch, which stuns nearby enemies and activates certain mechanisms. He can also pick up stunned enemies and coin bags and shake them using the Wii Remote to make them spit out coins and items, and can throw picked up enemies and objects, aiming by tilting the controller. Various vehicle-based sections, which involve activities such as riding mine carts and piloting a submarine, also make use of the Wii Remote's tilt controls.
The primary goal of each level is to rescue creatures known as Merfles, who are imprisoned inside a cage located at the end of each level. With the exception of submarine levels, breaking open a Merfle cage triggers a countdown, with the player required to return to the start of the level before time runs out. Wario can make use of special machines to put him into a speedy dash which can break blocks in his path, with players encouraged to maintain their dash in order to return to the start quickly, as well as reach treasures and coins that are otherwise inaccessible. Players can replay stages in order to attempt optional objectives. The player's secondary objective is to collect as much money as possible, either from collecting coins scattered across the level or obtained from coin bags, or by finding the 3 hidden treasures found in each level. Players can use any earned money at Captain Syrup's shop to purchase items, such as health upgrades and maps to new continents.
Shake It opens with Captain Syrup breaking into a museum and observing the surface of an ancient globe, which houses the Shake Dimension. She witnesses a crisis occurring in the Shake Dimension, in which the Shake King has imprisoned Queen Merelda and her Merfle subjects and claiming the legendary "Bottomless Coin Sack," which releases an endless supply of coins when shaken. Captain Syrup steals the globe and mails it to Wario, claiming that the real treasure is inside. Before Wario is able to break the globe open, one of the escaped Merfles emerges and asks for help. Wario becomes interested in the affair only after learning of the Bottomless Coin Sack and follows the Merfle back into the Shake Dimension.
Wario eventually confronts and defeats the Shake King. Queen Merelda crowns Wario a hero though he instead nonchalantly claims the Bottomless Coin Sack and takes it home. Much to Wario's dismay, however, Captain Syrup takes the sack for herself as payment for agreeing to help Merfle save the Shake Dimension. Outraged, Wario chases Merfle around the garage.
Shake It was developed by Japanese video game developer Good-Feel. Madoka Yamauchi was the game's director, while Takahiro Harada and Etsunobu Ebisu were the producers. Development began after Harada approached Ebisu and suggested that a new Wario platform game be made. Harada wanted to extend a gameplay dynamic prevalent in previous Wario Land games, which is Wario's "use of strength to overcome opposition", and had the developers at Good-Feel play those games to understand that dynamic. Design director Tadanori Tsukawaki asked Wario's animators "to strongly emphasize his manly characteristics" to help re-create this feel. Composer Tomoya Tomita used Wario Land 4 for inspiration when writing the game's music.
Shake It was designed to be played by holding the Wii Remote sideways to emulate holding a NES or SNES gamepad. Yamauchi suggested shaking the Wii Remote as a key method of control after hearing Harada say that "when he sees something placed high up, he wants to knock it down." In early development, the player would shake the Wii Remote in either horizontal or vertical directions to perform distinct actions, but this idea was dropped when tests indicated that the controller could not differentiate shaking in one direction versus another. The limited number of buttons easily accessible by the player when holding the Wii Remote sideways also presented difficulties; having the player tilt the Wii Remote at different angles to perform different actions was chosen to overcome this obstacle. Yamauchi stated that this simple control scheme would potentially benefit newer video game players.
Yamauchi proposed the hand-drawn art style seen in the final game, though Tsukawaki was initially opposed to the idea since future changes to a character's design meant changes to all of its individual animation frames. Over 2,000 frames were drawn to animate over 200 actions for Wario alone; over 6,000 frames were drawn for all enemy characters, including those that were removed from the final game. All the game's backgrounds and scenery were also hand-drawn. Program director Koichi Yagi stated that clever programming techniques were required to efficiently store and handle both the non-repeating backgrounds and the thousands of character frames in the Wii console RAM during gameplay. Japanese anime studio Production I.G assisted with character animations and both the opening and closing cutscenes, while studio Kusanagi drew the backgrounds.
Wario Land: Shake It! was released in Japan on July 24, 2008, in North America on September 22, 2008, in Australia on September 25, 2008, and in Europe on September 26, 2008. The release on Wii U is in PAL regions on April 7, 2016, in Japan on August 24, 2016, and in North America on November 17, 2016.
A trailer was released on YouTube for Wario Land: Shake It! where various actions in the trailer cause the YouTube screen to begin to fall apart. Its creative directors were Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein of marketing company Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. YouTube was initially skeptical about an ad that destroyed their website. YouTube changed its mind eventually due to its creative and marketing merit. The ad was removed from YouTube upon the release of YouTube ads for Punch-Out!! for the Wii. The campaign was created to appeal to teenagers and had a budget of $80,000. Nintendo also held a competition at Six Flags near Los Angeles and St. Louis, where competitors competed for a "bottomless coin sack." Participants received fake Wario mustaches, and the winner won both the sack and an all-expense paid trip to Nintendo World in New York. Another marketing campaign had Nintendo giving away gasoline at a Los Angeles Mobile Gas area to market Wario Land: Shake It!, in reference to Wario's flatulence.
The campaign was successful with this demographic, hitting 24 percent awareness with an initial goal of 12–15 percent. The ad got a lot of attention, accumulating 4 million views in its first month. It was the first ad of its kind, leading to similar ads in the following months. A YouTube representative told the team behind the ad that it caused them to receive a number of calls from advertisers questioning why this function was not known to them. Authors Damian Ryan and Calvin Jones discussed the YouTube ad as a case study in marketing, while praising it for its innovation. Art director Robert Lindstrom gave praise to the YouTube ad for bringing attention to Wario Land: Shake It! in a unique way. It was given a silver award in the 88th annual edition of "The Art Directors". Wired writer Chris Kohler praised it for being clever. Kotaku writer Mike Fahey praised the YouTube ad's "genius" while comparing it positively to Nintendo's gasoline giveaway campaign. A GameZone writer expressed sadness that the only way that the YouTube ad would be seen is through non-interactive YouTube videos.
Shake It received a score of 8.4 out of 10 from IGN and a score of 31 out of 40 from Famitsu. Nintendo Power gave a score of 8.0. X-Play gave the game a 4 out of 5, praising the gameplay, but calling the constant shaking of the Wii Remote tedious and repetitive. GameSpot gave it 7.5 out of 10, praising the beautiful art style and fun gameplay, but criticizing the gimmicky motion controls and short game length. It was nominated for multiple Wii-specific awards by IGN in its 2008 video game awards, including Best Platform Game and Best Artistic Design. Author Roger Pederson listed it as one of the best Wii games of 2008.
Wario Land: Shake It entered Japanese sales charts as the eighth best-selling game of the release week at 25,000 copies. The game eventually slipped several places on the charts, but climbed back to tenth place for the week ending August 21, 2008. Japanese sales of the game reached approximately 114,263 units by the end of 2008, according to Media Create. As of December 2008, Wario Land: Shake It sold about 150,000 copies in the United States. This figure fell short of the game's 350,000 sales goal, which the marketing team attributes to a weak economy and lower video game sales overall.
- Known in Japan as Wario Land Shake (ワリオランドシェイク Wario Rando Sheiku) and known in PAL regions as Wario Land: The Shake Dimension
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