(Nintendo, 1994)

Before Tetris Attack there was this game!

If there is one game that keeps me coming back for more and more it's Nintendo's strange Action/Puzzle game Wario's Woods for the 8-bit NES and Super Nintendo. This is a unique platform/puzzle game released in early 1994 season, features Toad and Wario as the main characters with no other popular characters like Mario or Luigi to be found at all but don't let that stop you from playing one very addictive game (or games) here. Wario's Woods was also the last official game released for the NES by Nintendo way back in 1994.
It's also the only NES game I know to receive a Video Game Rating (it was rated KA) so the NES game has quite the history behind it.

Stop Wario from arriving by making Combos

The story centers around Princess Peach's top guard Toad and his mission to rid the Mushroom Kingdom forest of all the invading monsters hiding out in the trees of the once peaceful woodland, but the evil Wario, who is behind the whole invasion, will stop at nothing to crush him in his tracks. Not much of a story, eh? But that's not really important in a puzzle game like this. "It the type of game play that matters here and Wario's Woods is not like any other puzzle game out there!"

Just like in the game Super Mario Bros. 2 from 1988, Toad can pick up an enemy or a item and lift it up over his head and he can even lift a huge column of enemies if he wants to, making Wario's Woods more of a Puzzle/Action title. You have to decide where your enemies go when you pick them up so that a bomb is near by or vice versa. Clear the tree of monsters to beat the level and then move on, but your game ends when the screen gets filled with enemies.

The controls are simple enough to learn, Toad can walk and scale enemies to go pretty much where ever he wants but he can't scale enemies while he's holding something. The buttons are used to grab a single item, or you have the option to grab large columns of whatever to clear the area if needed. It takes a while to master these skills to measure the pros and cons but after a few plays in the first few easy rounds you know what to do. The Super Nintendo version has the better controls because Toad can lift a diamond unlike in the NES game, and the kick feature can use by pressing another button on the SNES controller while on the NES controller you have to press down and the button to kick.

Wario's Woods was the last official game released for the NES by Nintendo.
It's also the only NES game to receive a video game rating (it was rated KA).

Toad will get help fighting Wario's monsters thanks to a fairy that drops you bombs from the top of the screen. Find a group of 2 or greater row of the same coloured monsters and use a bomb of the same colour to destroy them. But Wario will try to crush you with a giant brick if you take too long to finish a level so you have to be careful. Wario's Woods plays similar to the acclaimed Tetris Attack in many ways, like if you score a combo, you can stop the game clock to prevent Wario from coming to attack, and buy you more time to get rid of monsters. Plus if you destroy a row of 4 or greater monsters you'll earn a crystal power up, if the crystal is destroyed then you'll eliminate all of the same coloured monsters on the screen.........a very cool and useful item.

Not every monster is the same though, some creatures can survive a single bomb attack and then you have to act fast because you can only finish them off while they're flashing. Some other enemies will either change colours after being attacked or can only be killed from an angle just to throw you off guard.

The Super Nintendo version of Wario's Woods features all new modes not found in the NES game like Vs. Com, and Round Table. Vs Com is a battle of Wario's evil minions in one on one fights, the winner is decided in two out of three matches and the Vs. rules are in effect, so you can send a pile of enemies to your opponents and vice versa. If you're good enough then you can fight Wario himself one on one to finish this mode. The Round Table game is a 100 level mission that starts out really easy but then it gets more and more difficult as the game goes on. You get to save your game after every 5 levels and the game even continues after the 100 missions are completed......... if you're good enough of course.

The best parts about the Wario’s Woods games in my opinion are the engaging 12 stage Time Trial modes. Both games grade you (you can earn a Bronze, Silver, and Gold) on your performance on three difficulty levels, and these games are a great way to test your skills for the other one player modes. I find myself coming back again and again just to beat my old records even if I have already gotten the Gold in all three skill levels.

Don't forget the awesome two players’ modes, that really sky rockets the replay value of Wario's Woods into the stratosphere. If you do well on your side of the screen then you can do all kinds of crazy things to your opponent like changing their bombs into enemies, or just surprise them with a large column of monsters after doing some crazy combos. "Mean, but very funny!"

The in game graphics of the NES show off the late powers of the system's colour palettes. The colours are fairly bright and easy to see making all the different types of bombs and enemies noticeable to the player. It's also cool how the screen could be filled with monsters and there is no slowdown. Sure, the same old tree background does get a little stale but Nintendo was kind enough to include some intermissions where Wario threatens Toad and with each 10 stages Wario gets bigger and bigger! The graphics in the Super NES version of Wario's Woods are sure a step up from the ol' 8-bit NES thanks to the improved backgrounds and character designs but when compared to other great SNES games like Super Metroid or Donkey Kong Country then this game doesn't quite look so great. Like in most puzzle games, the graphics are not the biggest draw here but at least it looks bright and colourful.

The sound and sound effect were nothing special in the NES and I don't think anybody will be humming this stuff any time soon. The explosion sounds are fairly good I guess as sound effects go but there are no voices unlike the Super Nintendo version. The Super Nintendo system is well known for its excellent audio and for the most part Wario's Woods delivers. Sure the music is not very memorable and I bet many will find it annoying as well but the various taunting voices were a cool surprise after a few fights. The game has fairly average sounds so get that mute button ready just encase.

Overall, I felt the Super NES version is slightly better than the NES game because of the easier controls and better graphics but the NES game is still awesome regardless and both games are different enough to justify a purchase like in the NES game you can fight in game bosses and a different set of time trial games too. The Super Nintendo game looks and sounds better plus there are even more modes to try out. It should also be noted that both games include a save feature to record your process or best times which is rare for 8-bit and 16-bit Puzzle games. Just see my reviews on both of these great games plus they're also on my top ten lists for their systems. If you love puzzle games, then this is for you! Both are uncommon in the discounts bins so if you find a copy then it's well worth picking one up. You get lots of modes to try out, colourful cute graphics, and a new spin on puzzle games too. "WARNING! Wario's Woods is easily one of the most addictive video game I ever played!"



Super Nintendo rating: 100/100

Find this game on eBay here!

For 1 or 2 players
Rated (KA) for Kids to Adults

graphics: 5/10
sound: 5/10
gameplay: 9/10
replay: 10/10

(Ryan Genno) 2001