We’re in the home stretch now. There's only a few weeks left to add Wii Points to your account and buy some sweet, hot WiiWare. As such, this will be my last installment of Worthwhile WiiWare, and I think the best possible way to cap off this series of love letters to Nintendo’s bizarre download service is to focus on the strange. And there’s no shortage of strange stuff on WiiWare.
Muscle March (500 Wii Points)
First, let’s take a look at this gem, Muscle March. Let’s see if I can put this game into words. You play as a muscle-bound bodybuilder-type person (or in some instances, a bear). Your protein shake mix has been stolen by a football player, so you and your other muscle-bound friends chase after him to get it back. As you run through cities and forests and mine shafts, whoever you’re chasing smashes through walls while striking various bodybuilding poses, leaving Looney Tunes-style bodybuilder-shaped holes in said walls. You have to strike those same poses as you run through the walls to maintain your pursuit of the powder thieves. To call this game insane would be like calling the grand canyon a big hole. Muscle March makes Katamari Damacy look normal by comparison. But believe it or not, it’s actually pretty fun, in a very weird sort of way.
Tomena Sanner (500 Wii Points)
Next we have Tomena Sanner. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a Japanese businessman running late for work, I can just about guarantee this game isn’t an accurate depiction of that. This bag of crazy plays like one of those endless runner games, minus the endless. You’re a Japanese businessman who’s running late for work, and it’s up to you to dodge obstacles as quickly as you can so you can get to work on time. And by “get to work” I mean cross a finish line and join a dance party complete with rhythm game mechanics. It’s completely bananas, and hilariously violent at times, but it’s a blast to play and honestly, it’s got a fantastic art style. This one’s also only 500 Wii Points, so it’s hard not to recommend.
Bonsai Barber (1000 Wii Points)
If you’re looking for something a little less fast-paced, why not give a look to Bonsai Barber? You play as the new barber in town. There are a bunch of vegetables with ridiculous, I guess hairstyles is the right word, who are in the market for a new stylist. They come to you for help, and it’s up to you to select the right tools for the job, follow the outline, and make these cartoon vegetables look super-stylish. It’s absurd, but it has a lot of personality, and it’s strangely enjoyable to play. At 1000 Wii Points ($10), it’s pretty steep for the amount of game here, but if you have money to burn and you like weird stuff, you could do worse.
Chick Chick Boom (800 Wii Points)
Need more exploding chicken in your life? Chick Chick BOOM may be for you! In this game you have 2 rival gangs of… bouncing… chicken… balls? Sure. Let’s go with that. The play area is divided in half, and you control a cursor that helps you keep your chickens safe. Periodically, a timer goes off at the bottom of the screen that lets you trace a connect-the-dots line and create a weapon of some sort to attack the rival chicken gang. There’s bird-eating plants, UFOs, falling sofas, all manner of stuff. The goal is to murder all the opposing gang’s chicken balls before they kill all of yours. It’s really a blast to play (pun intended) once you get the hang of it, and it’s even better in multiplayer!
Rock n Roll Climber (800 Wii Points)
Let me start by saying that this is not a good game. But it’s so insane, it has to be mentioned. At first glance, it seems intensely bland, and that’s because it is. You play as a person dressed in “rock” clothes (you know, spiked belts, skinny jeans, etc.) who has decided to climb a mountain for some reason. You then use the Wii Remote and Nunchuck’s motion controls (and the Wii Balance Board if you simply can’t get enough motion controlled inputs) to move your arms and legs to successfully climb a mountain. It’s dumb, it’s frustrating, and it’s not particularly good-looking. So why is it here? What makes this game special? Because when you reach the top of the mountain, YOU PICK UP A GUITAR AND ROCK THE F*&% OUT! Nintendo showed this game off at trade shows. I was baffled by it then, I’m baffled by it now. Muscle March and Tomena Sanner are over the top weird, and they’re amazing for it. Rock n Roll Climber is a different kind of weird. The kind of weird that makes you truly wonder, what the actual heck happened here, and why did Nintendo publish this?
Major League Eating: The Game (1000 Wii Points)
This is an officially licensed Major League Eating game. If you have a weak stomach, I recommend staying the heck away from this one. In fact, I recommend most people stay away from this one. Like Rock n Roll Climber above, I'm only mentioning it because it's so freaking weird. You pick a character and shove food down your mouth as quickly as you can. You shake the controller to make your character “make room’ in his stomach, belch toxic fumes at your opponent, and manage how much food goes in your mouth before you swallow. Nearest I can tell, the objective is to make your opponent barf before you do. There are lots of eating, chewing, burping, and barfing noises all over the place here, and it’s really quite gross. This a real thing that exists, folks.
Mart Racer (800 Wii Points)
Finally, we have Mart Racer, which is honestly a fantastic concept with unfortunately crappy execution. Mart Racer is like a cross between Crazy Taxi and Supermarket Sweep. You pick a character couple (one to push the cart, one to ride inside), grab a shopping cart, and run around a grocery store collecting items to bring to the checkout counter as quickly as you can. I seriously want someone to make a new version of this game that functions properly because if the controls worked (they don’t) and the visuals were cool (they’re not) this game would be fantastic (it’s not). But as a curiosity, and if you’re a fan of interesting games that aren’t necessarily good, AND you have $8 that you simply can’t find anything to spend on, Mart Racer is for you.
And there you have it. In the end, the WiiWare service was a remarkably flawed experiment, but if you take the time to do a little digging, there’s some real gold there. I’m hopeful that some of these games will find their way to modern platforms someday, but in the meantime, you’ve got till January 30th 2017 to pick up some worthwhile WiiWare before it’s gone forever. Enjoy!