The follow-up to Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 on the Game Boy is this 1998 release for the Game Boy and Game Boy Color.
Wario Land II was initially released for the black and white Game Boy, but was re-released for the Game Boy Color six months after its initial release and it is the Game Boy Color version that I’m focusing on here (because it looks much better in colour than in monochrome).
As you might expect, Wario Land II is another fun platform game from Nintendo, with the onus on breaking down obstacles, collecting coins, finding secrets, and defeating bosses.
You of course play as Wario – the ‘bad’ caricature of Mario – and must explore various levels without getting squashed or killed. Thankfully there’s no time limit in the game, so you can explore levels at your leisure. Wario‘s main weapon is a shoulder barge, which allows him to knock enemies out, break walls, and also jump higher than he’d normally be able to. He can also pick up and throw enemies (if you first stun them by jumping on them), and also crouch, and do a crouch pound (which is useful for bashing through breakable floors and also damaging some enemies and bosses). Later in the game Wario can also transform into a flame (by purposefully setting himself on fire and waiting for the change to take effect), which allows him to destroy enemies on contact, and also break through special ‘flame’ blocks.
Each level has a hidden minigame that is behind a certain door (where you must find the right card among eight possibilities), and in-between each level there’s also a number-guessing minigame where you have to identify the right number as it is revealed piece by piece (get it right and a small section of a hidden image is revealed; complete this image and you will unlock another minigame).
As is often the case in Nintendo platform games, Wario Land II‘s gameplay is constantly introducing new elements to keep it fresh and interesting. There are underwater/swimming sections; riding inside bubbles while underwater; owl-riding sections (where you can control the direction of the owl as you hang onto its feet); fetch and place missions (return the bird to its nest, for example); secret treasures to find in each level, and a wide variety of humorous boss battles.
Wario Land II is varied, involving, and colourful. The delayed scrolling is a little weird (the screen will scroll when you reach the edge of the screen, rather than continuously), but otherwise it’s a top-quality platform game for Nintendo‘s Game Boy Color handheld console.