"Anti-heroes" aren't supposed to look like Wario. Anti-heroes aren't really supposed to have preset characteristics at all - the whole point is that they're defined by negation - but in the course of countless Gothic vampire stories and cyberpunk adventures, the role has come to involve certain visual traits. Anti-heroes must be lean, sexy, glowering and little-spoken, with a regulation two days' worth of stubble and a variety of intriguing scars. Their lips must be curling, bleached, sardonic. The eyes? Glowing, slitted, bionic and/or bloodshot. The apparel? Trench coats, mirror shades, knee-high boots, flapping bandages and anything cut from dark leather with sharp angles that smells ever so slightly of S&M.
What a relief. It makes a change to play a 2D platformer these days, rather than a 3D action-adventure set in a post-apocalyptic American city. There are no crumbling skyscrapers and fallen telephone poles here, just pyramids and pirate ships. Everything's pink and yellow, not grey and brown, and when you attack enemies they don't explode, they just get dizzy. The plot isn't about government conspiracies or science experiments gone wrong; it's about the kidnapping of some giggly pixies and a magic bag that never runs out of coins. It's a good, old fashioned run-and-jump-em-up, just like your Miyamoto used to make.
Well, not quite. Wario Land: The Shake Dimension is different from classic Nintendo platformers in several respects, one of them being it isn't as good. Another relates to the control system. As you'd expect Wario can run, jump, disappear down pipes, smash blocks, perform belly flops and crawl through gaps, and all that's done using the D-pad plus buttons 1 and 2. However, some moves can only be performed by shaking or tilting the Wii remote.
That includes emptying the bags full of coins littered around every level. It's highly satisfying to watch the treasure spilling out as you shake away, and this is the best use of the remote's motion sensor in the game. It's also fun to give the remote a short, sharp shake to make Wario punch the ground. This causes the whole environment to shudder, dislodging specially marked and precariously placed blocks, and setting off any bombs lying about.
Trembling in anticipation.
Nintendo has announced that Wario Land: The Shake Dimension will be released for Wii on 26th September in Europe.
Nintendo UK has confirmed release dates for a number of Wii and DS titles in Japan, including upcoming Wii games Wario Land Shake and Project Zero IV, both of which are on their way in the next two months.
Speaking to our pals at videogaming247, a Nintendo UK rep confirmed Japanese dates for seven titles in total - but, in a move sure to shock and surprise you all, revealed that there's "nothing announced for Europe right now."
The four DS titles are Band Bros DX on June 26th, Legendary Stafy on July 10th (that's presumably Legendary Stafy 5, the second DS title in the Kirby-like series), Rhythm Tengoku Gold on July 31st (the at-long-last DS conversion of the GBA and arcade classic) and, last but not least, Fire Emblem: New Shadow Dragons and the Blade of Light, on August 7th.