Wario: Master of Disguise (Nintendo DS) Review

By Adam Riley 17.06.2007

Review for Wario: Master of Disguise on Nintendo DS

Nintendo may seem to have been neglecting the platform side of the Wario series since the WarioWare mini-game titles have become so popular, but thankfully the company has at least passed the franchise onto a Third Party to help keep it going. Clearly it makes sense when the new spin-off idea turned into a multi-million selling series as opposed to the middling sales received on the platform side. However, it is pleasing to see the original fan-base is now being catered for once again. But can developer Suzak, previously of F-Zero on GBA fame, provide the same magic touch?

Basically, Nintendo makes Wario out to be a bumbling idiot that simply likes to grab as much money as he can, rather than placing him as a nefarious villain that can cause disaster and mayhem. Whilst this means he will never give Bowser a run for his money in the evil stakes, he makes for a comical and extremely versatile character when it comes to taking the lead role in games such as this. The basis of Master of Disguise is that Wario has stolen the identity of master thief, pinching his magic wand and deciding to call himself the cringe-worthy 'Purple Wind', with the tag line of 'silent, but deadly'. So begins a ridiculous adventure where he thwarts the original thief at every turn and tries to collect as much treasure as possible along the way. Simple, yet effective enough to drive the game along nicely...

Sadly the game is terribly lacking on the presentation front, with graphics that would not even make the SNES break into a sweat. Everything is nice and colourful, but considering this was certainly not a first generation DS game, you have to wonder why Suzak went with extremely basic looking 2D characters and locations. Okay, perhaps the 2.5D of Wario World on the GC would not have worked too well on DS, but even the sickeningly cute Super Princess Peach looks more attractive than this. Anyway, it is not 'ugly' as such, just wonderfully under-whelming. Thankfully the soundtrack is quite decent, though, with bouncy and surprisingly memorable tunes due to most being so quirky that they lodge themselves in your head more often than you may like to admit. Plus there are the usual voice snippets, such as Wario's taunts and grumbling...Unfortunately, though, the opening song from the Japanese edition has been removed for this version, for some reason.

Screenshot for Wario: Master of Disguise on Nintendo DS

Rather than your average, run-of-the-mill platform game, Master of Disguise takes a slightly different approach by putting emphasis on touch-screen controls and use of the D-pad. You run left and right using the appropriate buttons, tap up in order to jump (or 'X' for left-handed players) and all other action movements are activated using the touch-screen. The top screen of the DS is used for the main map, which comes in extremely handy as you can, and most likely will, get lost at some point as you are required to travel around the entire stage in each chapter, collecting various treasure or items, then head back to access other sections and move forward. The good thing, though, is rather than the game feeling too linear or (on the other hand) too open-ended, it feels 'structured', providing a great sense of direction instead of leaving you to mindlessly wander around and grow bored or simply hold your hand all the way through.

Screenshot for Wario: Master of Disguise on Nintendo DS

In order to access various other sections, though, you need to not only collect certain items, but also make use of Wario's seven different disguises (the Japanese name was 'Wario the Seven'), all of which can be levelled up as the game progresses by way of collecting gemstones that enemies drop after being despatched. But, of course, before you can upgrade each move, you need to actually earn the new disguises, which can be done by completing various mini-games accessed via large treasure chests dotted around each stage. These are seriously basic efforts, like sliding puzzles where you must complete a muddled-up image, tracing strange shapes, joining numbers sequentially without lifting the stylus from the screen or dragging objects across the screen to the correct location; but at least they are better than nothing and make good use of the touch-screen. Yet it is indeed a missed opportunity, as some mini-games from WarioWare could have been slipped in here to mix things up a bit. Anyway, once you complete these you either collect another piece of treasure or gain one of the special abilities.

Now, the part where most people are turned off because they believe the technique is too fiddly

Screenshot for Wario: Master of Disguise on Nintendo DS

And what else is there to say about Wario: Master of Disguise? Not much, to be honest. If you are looking for a decent platform adventure and can overlook the presentation weaknesses, plus get used to the unusual control set-up, then you are definitely barking up the right tree with this one. Eager to satiate your platforming fix? Then a shot of Wario could be just what you need...

But you might be thinking that this is another fly-through-in-a-few-hours style game. Amazingly enough, though, it is anything but as there are ten large stages to work your way through and with the seven different guises to play around with that allow you to open up new areas in earlier levels, lots of treasure to collect and the option to beat your previous times on each stage, there is lots of opportunity for replaying the game.

Screenshot for Wario: Master of Disguise on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

So far we have seen Super Princess Peach, New Super Mario Bros. and Yoshi's Island all keep traditional platform fans happy. Now you can add Wario: Master of Disguise to that list as well. It may not be as perfect as the Nintendo-developed WarioLand series, but Suzak sure has done a decent enough job with this latest outing. Be sure to at least give this more than a passing glance...






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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