Games I beat in 2015: #9 -
Wario Land 3
The four Gameboy Wario Land games are weird and 3 may be the weirdest. It's the last one I played of the set and while I can see how they went from 2 to 4, I like both of those games more. Late 90s electronics have a strange feeling with their small LCD screens and custom, generally awful, user interfaces and Wario Land 3's save screen reminds me of that. A small box pops up and says "Now Saving" in a font that screams tiny LCD with an equally small progress bar that is also yelling.
Seeing a save screen in a Gameboy Color game isn't where the weirdness ends. Although WL3 offers a familiar SMB3 world map, the similarities end there[footnote]Well, also excluding the basic jumping and such.[/footnote] as each stage can is playable during day or night and changes based on what other stages have been cleared. Or rather, what part of other stages have been cleared. As each treasure is collected, Wario can either do something new or has altered the world so that he can get more of the treasure.
The starting spot offers hints on where is best to go next, however having to trek back there is a pain, despite there being no penalties for moving around on the world map. Other than your life slipping between your mortal fingers. I didn't feel bad keeping a guide open to know where to go next.
Because the doing was the main struggle of this game. Wario's interactions with the enemies and environments in order to change himself and get past the obstacles. It felt a bit slow overall. "Losing" to a boss did not result in a Game Over or the loss of a "life", but instead sent Wario back to a previous part of the stage and he must make his way back to fight the boss again. This feels slow, even though dying and being warped back a bit in most games might balance things out, time-wise. But there is no "break" in the mind by being sent back in this way and it ends up feeling like more of a punishment than a normal video game "death".
This all said, it offered a lot of interesting puzzles and ways to interact with the world. Had there been an easier way to get clues as to where to go next, or perhaps even in-stage hints on where to go, I might have cleared the game sooner and felt a bit more satisfied than I did.