Mini-games can be fun and the Gameboy Advance title WarioWare Inc. Mega Microgames demonstrated it perfectly with bite sized games that tested your speed and reflexes. It is a title worthy of any collection. With the Nintendo DS packing some new features like a microphone and touch screen I was looking forward to see if Nintendo could recapture the magic while making full use of the new hardware.
The game opens with Wario getting his thieving hands on a Nintendo DS and deciding that two screens equals twice the profit. It seems that the old gang hasn’t learned their lesson from Wario swindling them out of their cut in the last game, as they are all back on board to contribute. There is still not much of a storyline, but the bizarre character intros are back and longer than ever. Some of these are funny and some are not, but they all contribute to the weirdness of the game.
The most important part of the game is the gameplay and for the most part, Nintendo has done a pretty good job. The games are now divided by themes, so for each character’s set of microgames, you’ll be performing specific motions like rubbing, drawing or blowing into the microphone. This prevents confusion, but also takes some of the challenge and unpredictability out of the game. The missions still have a very short time in which they have to be completed and highlights include unrolling toilet paper, poking snails in the eye, petting a dog and waving goodbye to someone. At the end of each character’s level you’ll be presented with a boss stage, but I found these to be way easier than the ones in the GBA title. Once you’ve completed the game (which doesn’t take very long, I’m afraid) you can go back and play for highscores. This comes highly recommended, as you will be missing out on a lot of microgames if you just fly through the main story.
The graphics in Touched isn’t bad, but I didn’t really see anything that the Gameboy Advance couldn’t handle. The 3D map shown at the top of the screen when you move between locations, looks good, but it is pretty pointless. The rest of the visuals are all 2D and very basic. The games themselves are a mixed bag with some looking nice, while others look like really amateur flash games. This is obviously intentional, but I think more could have been done with the power of the DS. The microgames from the character “9 Volt” are all based on Nintendo classics like Mario Bros and Metroid, but all these are taken from the 8-bit games. A few from the SNES classics would have set this title apart from the GBA game. Having said that, this is not a game aimed at players that want the latest in graphics and it doesn’t influence the gameplay, so I’ll let it slide.
Since all buttons have been ditched in favour of the stylus and touchscreen it is a blessing that they work so well. Everything is very accurate and responsive, which is great in games where you have to swat a tiny fly or pluck a hair. NES gun game classics like Hogan’s Alley and Duck Hunt also make welcome appearances. The microphone minigames also work surprisingly well. As a reward for completing the microgames, you’ll unlock a host of touchscreen toys. These small gadgets are just mindless timewasters and don’t really have any purpose beyond the novelty factor. Using a yo-yo on your DS, for example is not something I think would occupy players’ time for long. I was a bit disappointed with the lack of multiplayer mini-games. Mega Microgames had a few memorable ones, but Touched only offers up one very uninspiring ping-pong game.
As is par for the series, Touched has some goofy yet catchy tunes blasting away in the background. The games are all very short so the interlude song snippets can become somewhat annoying. This isn’t too big a gripe however unless you plan on finishing the game in one sitting. One track that stands out, is that of the new character, Ashley. She has her own theme song, complete with vocals that sounds really cool.
If you enjoyed WarioWare Inc on GBA, then Touched will be fun, but not groundbreaking. Newcomers may find the whole experience very fresh, but also a bit on the short side. It is still a good example of the unique gameplay features the DS can provide, but it does feel like a bit of a tech demo at times. Overall, though, I had fun and have no hesitation recommending it.
*Review originally published 2005.