23. Course No. 12

This level builds on some mechanics introduced earlier, weakens on others: its combination o’ conveyor belts & bridges in the 2nd room are mo’ interesting than in levels 5 & 11, but the climb up the mountain cliffs @ the end is far weaker than the many times you’ve done that in this mountain world, e’en with the introduction o’ a new enemy, the boomerang-throwing duck, D. D., whom players will see many times later, & who is so slow to throw its boomerang that you can just jump past them with no delay.

In fact, this level introduces 3 new enemies. In addition to D. D. we have 1 Pirate Goom Ghost in the conveyor belt room, who doesn’t do anything & can be bonked out o’ the way e’en mo’ easily than a regular Pirate Goom, & Chicken Ducks, who just exist as an inefficient & obtuse way to collect extra coins by throwing enemies into their baskets. O’ all mechanics to introduce @ the end o’ a level, Chicken Ducks would’ve been a great 1, as taking the time to collect coins early on is a risk, given you lose them all if you die, so it’s unfortunate that they chose to make the 1st room focus on them.

All o’ this is to say this level feels like just a jumble o’ mid mechanics which aren’t given the opportunity to be developed & makes this level unmemorable & seem to lack any real identity. This level ends not with the usual goal, but with a giant switch that causes Mt. Teapot’s lid to fall & replace level 10 with level 13. You’d think a level that has such an impact on the game would be mo’ than what it is. As it is, this single event o’ershadows e’erything else in this level.

22. Course No. 40

I have very mixed feelings ’bout Wario Land’s final level. On 1 side o’ the scale, I think having to time bounces from bouncy block — which, for some reason, show smiley faces instead o’ anything that indicates that it should make you bounce — to bouncy block is a fitting final level for a platformer: it’s a relatively memorable theme in a game that has trouble giving its levels focuses that are worth paying attention & gets to the heart o’ platforming challenge… but this is Wario Land, & something I keep bringing up, ¿what game is this s’posed to be? It seems like it’s s’posed to be a subversion o’ Mario platformers, but this level’s focus on basic bouncy blocks makes it feel less subversive that the final level o’ Super Mario Bros., which had twists like jumping fish out o’ lava & firebars underwater. It doesn’t help that this level has 1 section where you can just walk ’cross a ceiling o’ blocks & skip the bouncy blocks, instead o’ having to make tight jumps ’neath, as the developers surely intended.

& to top it off, the 2nd half o’ this level is filler, including yet ’nother climb while dodging fireballs that’s actually much easier than the 1s in course no. 38. The final room just before the final boss is just a small room with 2 spike-throwing moles & a Pirate Goom under blades. I’m not e’en sure why the felt the need to have all this: you have a boss, ¿doesn’t that merit having a smaller level for balance? The midway point is e’en placed in the middle o’ the bouncy-block section, making it ridiculously imbalanced toward the beginning o’ the level & making it not really worth getting. ¿Why not just have this level be the 1st 2 levels & cut out all the rest?

The 2nd room is the most notable section, tho not the best. There you encounter a unique enemy who is something o’ a miniboss: a knight who slowly walks back & forth with its spear extended, only to start charging wildly when attacked from the back. While kind o’ cool compared to the birds & Pirate Gooms still e’er-present thru this game, it just amounts to a lot o’ back-&-forth, attack & wait, attack & wait. Mo’ cool in concept than execution.

The same could be said for the final boss. While having to throw the genie’s lamp around to sprout clouds that you can ride up to jump on the genie’s head is clever, I don’t think we needed the mechanic where the lamp has to land upright, forcing you to keep throwing the lamp around & hoping you’re lucky. I also don’t think this boss needed 6 whole hits. Despite all this, this boss might be 1 o’ the easiest bosses in this game, as its attacks are basic & easy to dodge. You’re mo’ likely to struggle to avoid a stalemate than defeat yourself, which isn’t a great experience.

21. Course No. 03

The falling sand does a better job o’ meshing with this world’s theme than most o’ the other levels, but only amounts to slowing the player down & making movement feel worse. There is 1 part where it becomes something o’ a challenge due to uncertain hit box o’ whether your fat sprite is considered in the sand or not that could cause delay you ’nough to get hit by Pirate Goom, but I wouldn’t call this a good challenge.

There is 1 cool but basic puzzle where you’re jumping from pole to pole o’er sinking sand beds where careful-eyed players can notice 1 o’ them doesn’t end @ a floor, but goes beyond the screen to a secret area. E’en better, if players don’t notice this, this level later hammers into players’ head e’en mo’ ’bout this sinking sand mechanic by outright showing many places where sand sinks down into a lower area & then has stairs that lead down to that area, where you can see the sand spilling in from ’bove.

Having said that, all this sand stuff — both the cool puzzle elements & the boring slow movement — goes ’way when this level floods & is filled with water.

Inexplicably, flooding this level also makes a lock appear in where the 1st sand area. Said lock is perfectly positioned ’tween colonies o’ “piranha plants” — as Nintendo Power called them, uncapitalized1, tho they act mo’ like Super Mario World Munchers — so that it’s a major pain trying to get the key into the lock without throwing it into the muchers, where it’s impossible to get it without getting hit, specially since the game won’t let you throw the key if there’s blocks ’bove you & there’s blocks all round the sides o’ the lock. The best part: if you do get hit & the unlock the keyhole, the chest in the next room can’t be opened if you’re small. ¿Why did they make the 1st treasure o’ the game in the 3rd level so ridiculously finicky? It is genuinely the hardest treasure to get in the whole game.

20. Course No. 06

This is just a bonus level: you ground pound the beach sand to make the crabs lurking below pop out holding their 10 coins & then you have to chase them down & attack them before they get ’way. It’s a fun idea that meshes perfectly with this world’s theme — better than any other level, in fact. Still, it’s kind o’ cheap how sometimes multiple crabs will pop out, in which case there’s no way you’ll be able to attack both without 1 getting ’way, screwing you out o’ money. Also, you’d think a bonus level that exists purely for giving you tons o’ money would be less stingy: if you manage to hit all the crabs, you get 91 coins ( minus the 10 you have to pay for the end goal ). That’s hardly mo’ than most levels in this game.

19. Course No. 07

This level has multiple layers, but there’s not much to them. For most o’ the level you can just jump ’long the upper surface o’ the water & dodge the few birds that swoop down. Otherwise you can swim round the underwater area, collect a few coins, & dodge the erratic Pinwheels & slowly-igniting bombs, but there’s no reason to, as it’s slow & there aren’t that many coins down there, specially as there’s plenty o’ gotcha invisible coin blocks that get in your way & make you take long ways back round. The same can be said ’bout hopping on a bird to reach higher cliffs for some coins later in the level. & if you haven’t gotten your fill o’ birds, the final room is a cave with 2 o’ them, but the twist is that there’s also weird water that makes it easier to stick to the surface.

Later this level introduces the mechanic o’ breaking open walls by igniting bombs, which is cool the 1st time & then gets boring, specially since they ne’er bother to evolve this mechanic in any way.

The midway point room is interesting: it has 2 entrances, 1 high up & the 2nd low down & you can go up & down this room with a ladder. You need the dragon or jet abilities to break open the entrance underwater surrounded by blocks & need to jump off a bird to reach the top entrance. You can also use jet from the top entrance to reach the aforementioned coin cliffs, which is a better idea, since it also skips most o’ this level.

But the best part o’ this level is the way it tutorializes the bombs @ the very beginning: there’s a bomb you automatically pick up if you touch it, & soon after it starts blinking with ticking noises. ¿Who wouldn’t react by immediately throwing that? These few, rare bits o’ humor are what best foreshadow what would make later Wario games so great.

18. Course No. 30

This level a’least deserves credit for its aesthetics, a’least for its largest, penultimate room before the boss: a giant scaffolding o’ sails. Granted, there’s not much to the layout itself, whose coins & enemy arrangements just feel throw around & whose treasure key is hidden in just some random item block off in the corner.

The same could be said for the final room, which is a straight climb up the inside o’ a mast, whose wooden tileset foreshadows the next world; but the only “challenge” you could say this room presents is if the player makes the mistake o’ hitting the item block @ the beginning & making the bull garlic get in their way if they have the dragon powerup, since players will want to keep that dragon powerup for the boss.

That being said, the 1st half o’ this level is weak. The 1st room is yet ’nother straight path full o’ D. D.s, with the only twist being that players with the bull powerup can ground pound past some blocks to skip the 2nd room. This is the devs being merciful, as that 2nd room is e’en worse, being full o’ spike throwing moles under ceilings too low to allow jumping o’er them, so you have no choice but to just wait for them to slowly walk o’er to the left side & then turn around before you can stealth dispatch them from behind & proceed.

The boss is a joke if you have the dragon powerup, as you can just keep torching it — & good thing, too, as the hitboxes on jumping on the birds it sends out are flaky.


1 Nintendo Power, issue 58, page 78. Note that the Super Mario Wiki makes a minor mistake in the enemies section o’ their article for Wario Land: they attribute this name to the brighter Munchers that appear in the forest levels, but Nintendo Power applies this name to the black Munchers in course no. 04, which the Mario Wiki ironically just call Munchers. Essentially, they get it backward. I will proceed to call both varieties “Munchers”, as that would be less confusing to most readers familiar with Super Mario World, & I think Nintendo Power & KC Deluxe, whom the Mario Wiki cite as official authorities, were confused when they used these names, as clearly neither o’ these are anything like what Piranha Plants are in pretty much any other Mario game.