Genre: Platformer Developer: Kaneko Publisher: Kaneko Players: 1-2 Released: 1992
Imagine taking Bub and Bob, those two cuddly little dinosaurs from Taito’s classic Bubble Bobble and removing them of their bright eyes and their generally cutesy look. Then, take the remaining leftovers, inject them with a bad attitude and give them sneakers. Now, take away their ability to puke out an endless amount of bubbles and replace that with a rather large hammer. Add a dash of the ancient NES game Lode Runner and voila! You get Wani Wani World!!
Kaneko (the genius’s behind those 16-bit Cheeto games) didn’t really need to do much thinking when they brought this game together. In fact, the majority of the game takes various ideas from other titles and meshes them together into one fun romp that is quite worthy of consuming some of your free time. As a frequent gamer, I usually hate games that bluntly rip off great titles to create a rather substandard one that cowers in the shadow of the original game but with Wani Wani World, I just can’t get enough of its charm and cuteness.
You start off in a rather Lego-like world, surrounded by a bunch of docile looking robots. The level is constructed with blocks and ladders and with a few seconds of experimentation, you realize that the hammer that you have been graciously equipped with doesn’t affect enemies in any way. In fact, you’re probably really mad because you tried to konk one of the robots on the head with your hammer and ended up dying because of it. Silly! The hammer is actually used to break away blocks on the floor, creating a gap in the path. Since the enemies are rather dumb, they will stumble down the gap and get trapped in between. Now, use your hammer and THWACK, the enemy will fall to the platform below and explode into a bunch of little stars, which also take out any other enemies nearby.
The majority of the game follows this style but the levels, items and enemies show a degree of variance throughout. Some enemies will divide into two after they have been thwacked and others may need three thwacks to go down. Blocks that are smashed by your hammer can be re-filled up with a tail slap, which is performed similarly to the hammer attack. Our reptilian hero will use teleporters, springs, and ladders to reach higher and previously inaccessible points in levels to fight more enemies and collect more items. Only after some serious thwacking and after every hostile creature on the level has been destroyed can you progress to the next.
When an enemy has been run into the ground with your hammer, he will drop an item of food. Collecting these only contribute to your score but occasionally you’ll pick up coins and additional weaponry. New weapons include the bomb, which will unleash a pack of stars across the map, which destroy every foe they touch or the bowling ball that rolls swiftly along the ground, crushing anything in its sight. If released at the top, it would smash through all of the breakable bricks, hit the bottom, and roll off the screen, making roadkill out of any enemy it touches. Another awesome addition is the slot machine that sits proudly at the top of the screen. When this is in action, it will create a combination, which will release a certain prize for you. Sometimes it showers you with new weapons or lots of food for you. However, its far more impressive function actually turns all of the remaining enemies on the screen into food, which automatically clears the level for you.
Although, the basic premise of the game is rather simple, the bosses are on a completely different level. Bosses have to be killed in the same way as enemies but they require a much bigger gap in the floor. So, you have to set the trap quickly and get the hell out of the way before the boss comes over and kills you. You have no means to defend yourself, so you’ll have no choice but to run away. Some bosses push the pinnacle of difficulty off the scale. The giant porcupine fires quills at you in all directions at breakneck speed while a giant happy ball bounces towards you, taking up huge gaps and spawning smaller clones of itself while it goes. Luckily, if you obtain the hammer power up from the previous level (which enables you to break three blocks in one hit instead of one) then hitting a boss becomes a less thorny task. However, even with this addition you still can fall victim to his projectile attacks and with no way of defending against it, you have to be two steps ahead of yourself on all occasions.
Wani Wani World is jam packed with 45 levels of hard-hitting, explosive, and thwacking action. Every level is uniquely crafted with superb additions which notch up the difficulty a ton and, thanks to this and the inclusion of additional weaponry and tough enemies, you never get bored. Plus, you can even bring a friend in to aid you thwack more and more monsters. It’s amazing how Kaneko basically ripped off Taito and Lode Runner to create something that is so enjoyable and charming, and actually surpassed both of its original progenitors. Wani Wani World is an importers gem and something worth emulating on a rainy day. It offers some brilliant arcade style play that can’t even compete with half of its similar cousins, which is rather impressive for a blatant rip off.
SCORE: 8 out of 10