Wii Review: Wario Land – The Shake Dimension

Fancy a trip to the Shake Dimension?

Wario receives an antique globe and telescope that allow him to travel to the once-idyllic Shake Dimension, now conquered by the tyrannical pirate, the Shake King. With the assistance of his longtime rival, Captain Syrup, he must rescue the Merfles, denizens of the Shake Dimension imprisoned by the Shake King. Only by defeating the bosses of all five continents of this strange world can Wario find and confront the Shake King, rescue Queen Merelda, queen of the Merfles, and, most importantly, claim the Bottomless Coin Sack, a never-ending supply of gold.

Wario has been doing well over the past few years, his Wario Land games have always been fairly good and the Wario Ware games have been amazingly addictive. Since doing the Ware games, Wario seemed to have vanished from the platforming side of things…other than the recent DS title, it seemed that he was destined to be a mini-game collection character forever. The Shake Dimension (or “Shake It” in the US) isn’t a 3D adventure that you would expect from Nintendo, instead…it’s 2D.

It’s still a platformer at its heart, but it adds in the Wii Remote for some shake-innovation. You only use the remote for the whole game, no nunchuck required. Essentially you hold the controller sideways and shake it at certain points to shake bags of money or enemies for health, it can also be used to make items fall so you can reach higher areas. There are some tilt movements for certain platforms, aiming items to throw and for manoeuvring a submarine in what is perhaps the game’s most annoying level.

The object of each stage is to get from one side of the level to the other, like any other Nintendo platformer. Only difference is that at the end you must rescue a creature called a Merfle and return to the beginning of the level with a time limit. Certain blocked exits will now open as you dash to the finish. There are also many mission objectives during each level that can gain you extra cash to spend on maps and upgrades. The objectives can vary from anything like jump on an enemy 3 times to don’t fall in the water in a level. Some are easy, while some are tricky.

The Shake Dimension also has some pretty sweet boss battles, although they are all very easy and don’t require much thinking to find their weak spot. The whole game is also easy; I don’t think I really struggled with any of it. Having said that, it’s clear that this game is designed for younger gamers…so I can see that they might have some problems in some areas. The only time I was cursing the TV was the Submarine level, but that’s only because the controls don’t work so well there.

Being a 2D platformer, you can’t really compare it to the likes of Mario Galaxy…but the game looks pretty good, even if it does run in a letterbox vision for the levels. Your number of collectables and such fill the sides of the screen, so the game itself doesn’t cover the whole TV. It can be a bit disappointing for us HDTV owners. It’s hard to fault the 2D visuals themselves, although I would have liked to see some 3D effects, maybe make it like New Super Mario Bros. Once you’ve collected every last gem and beaten every boss, you’re more or less done. There’s no real reason to come back, unless you enjoyed it so much you want to do it again. Some might be disappointed at the lack of a real challenge and a short game, while younger players will have a much better time with it.

The Verdict

I had a blast with The Shake Dimension. It’s classic Wario but with a modern twist, it may not win any awards for its visuals or replayability…but at its heart, it’s a gem that most Wii owners should try at least once.