The tragedy of WarioWare Touched! is that, at least here in America, it undermined the brilliance and impact of a much better entry in the same series: WarioWare Twisted!, which arrived about two months later (despite having debuted in Japan well before the DS’s launch). It’s not that Touched! was bad, merely that Twisted! was just… better.
The game also offered early proof, or least early evidence, that touch controls don’t work for everything.
Though, for some ideas they work just fine.
WarioWare Touched! was perfectly entertaining, but unlike the original WarioWare I’ve never felt compelled to revisit it. It felt a bit like (yet another) proof-of-concept for stylus-control gameplay, and while it offered considerably more substance than the tragically lightweight Yoshi Touch & Go, it never quite clicked. The problem here was twofold:
1. Touched!, like its demisequel Rhythm Heaven (the one for DS), committed wholly to its touch-control conceit. A big part of what made the first game so entertaining had to do with the unpredictability of its control schemes and tasks, whereas Touched! really dug in to the idea of interacting with the stylus. I don’t know if this was a commitment to purity of design by the team or else some manager at Nintendo saying, “No! You must show off the wonders of the DS!” But whatever the case, it had the unfortunate side effect of limiting the game concepts and design ideas available. Touched! felt unfortunately light on invention — a problem that Twisted! didn’t suffer, perhaps because its interface gimmick existed at the game level rather than the system level, if that makes sense.
2. Much of WarioWare‘s initial appeal had to do with its anarchic spirit and brash anything-goes attitude — so unlike what we expected from Nintendo. Touched! demonstrated, unfortunately, that even this zany chaos could be reduced to an interative formula. By simply existing, Touched! betrayed a crucial element of the series’ essence… something I feel even the creators realized, given that they switched their efforts over to the Rhythm Heaven series shortly after this launched.
It also pioneered the tragic art of virtual controls, so as much as I enjoyed it at the time, I now have to regard it as one of history’s greatest monsters.