Wario Land: Shake It!
|Wario Land: Shake It!
Wario Land: The Shake Dimension
North American box art
|Release date(s)||JP July 24, 2008
NA September 22, 2008
AU September 25, 2008
EU September 26, 2008
Wario Land: Shake It!, known as Wario Land: The Shake Dimension in PAL regions and Wario Land Shake (ワリオランドシェイク?) in Japan, is a 2008 Wario platform video game developed by Good-Feel for the Wii video game console. The game was first released in Japan on July 24, 2008 and then 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.
Wario Land: Shake It is a side-scrolling platform game in which the player controls the protagonist Wario, who explores the "Shake Dimension," a world that exists on the surface of an ancient, magical globe. The Shake Dimension consists of five distinct continents, each of which offers up to six sequential levels. The levels are each designed around a particular theme, such as exploring the interior of a train or inside an underground cavern. Each continent features a boss level in which the player fights a larger, stronger character. The player wins the game by completing all six boss levels.
The player begins each normal level at the starting gate, and must safely transverse through the level and rescue a Merfle character, who is imprisoned inside a cage. Once the Merfle is released, a countdown is initiated and the player must escort the Merfle back to the starting gate before the countdown expires in order to complete the level. Some special levels omit this rule and are finished immediately upon releasing the Merfle. The player can strike enemies to stun and defeat them, but will take damage upon coming into contact with deadly enemies or hazards, which depletes Wario's health. The player collects garlic items to restore lost health; if all health is lost the level must be restarted.
The concept of shaking the motion-sensitive Wii Remote, the primary gamepad used to control Wario, is a major gameplay mechanic. Shaking the Wii Remote causes Wario to either punch the ground with great force and affect all objects on the screen, or violently shake held enemies or objects to make them drop items. Collectable treasure, such as coins and jewels, are abundant in all levels and contribute to each level's high score. Treasure is collected by grabbing them while in plain sight or by finding and shaking sacks of money. All levels, including boss levels, can be replayed following completion and offer optional objectives to complete, such as collecting a minimum quantity of treasure or completing the level without being damaged. Each level also contains three specially unique treasures that are positioned in areas that are hard to reach or are hidden in the level's scenery. Captain Syrup, who appears as a non-playable character, runs a shop where the player can buy items with the money collected, such as potions that increase Wario's maximum health. More expensive items include maps which are used to access previously unexplored continents, and access to the game's opening and closing cutscenes.
Wario Land: 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. Captain Syrup arrives and takes the sack. The Merfle then nervously reveals that he had previously promised Captain Syrup the bag in exchange for sending the globe to Wario and enlisting his help. The story ends with Wario chasing Merfle around his house.
Wario Land: 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.
Wario Land: 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 Kusanagi drew the backgrounds.
Wario Land: Shake It! was first released in Japan on July 24, 2008. The game was released in North America on September 22, 2008, Australia on September 25, and then in Europe on September 26.
Wario Land: 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 four out of five, praising the gameplay, but calling the constant shaking of the Wii Remote tedious and repetitive. GameSpot gave it 7.5/10, praising the beautiful art style and fun gameplay, but criticizing the gimmicky motion controls also stating how the game was a tad too short spanning only fifteen levels but only replay value for the three objects to collect. It was nominated for multiple Wii-specific awards by IGN in its 2008 video game awards, including Best Platform Game and Best Artistic Design.
Wario Land: The Shake Dimension 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.
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