Game Design Companion: A Critical Analysis of Wario Land 4 – Online Reference

September 21st, 2013



What is Wario Land 4?

How to Read This Book

Online Reference Guide

A Few Words on Style

Need To Know

Getting Started

Game Elements



Transformations and Navigation

Level Elements

Essential Elements

Regular Elements

Exclusive Elements




Coins, Crystals, Diamonds, and Treasures

Game Structure

Level, Hub, and System Structure


User Interface

Digging Deeper

Mechanics Analysis

Why Jump, Attack, and Traversal?

Mechanics, Function, and Minimum Difference

The Dominant Mechanics

Attack and Dash Attack Comparison

Dash Attack – Accessibility Diminishing Power

Attack – Power Flavouring Play

Fake Momentum and Step Acceleration

Controller Input~Mechanical Output

Nuance and the Hierarchy of Power

Game Dynamics

Game Dynamics Introduction

Enemies and Interplay

Interplay Analysis

Enemies as Static Game Elements

Psychology and Engagement

Principles of Engagement

Selectable and Scalable Difficulty

Health and Hearts Introduction

Rewards, Punishment, and Psychology


Premise and Interaction Set in Context

Game Ideas


Conveying Information Through Form

The 2D Perspective and The Illusion of Depth

Bounding Boxes, Camera, ACTION!

Music Observations

Design Philosophies

Game as Teacher

The Game Design Style Guide

Additional Essays

Through the Lens of Interaction + Association + Cognition and Application

Designing for Freedom Within Linearity

Level Analysis

Essays on Levels

Room Suspension

Folded Level Design

Skills and Challenge Types

Restricted-to-Freer Practice

Transformations and the Level Design Tool Box

Rooms, Doors, and Considerations


Levels Introduction

Entry Passage: Hall of Hieroglyphs

Emerald Passage: Palm Tree Paradise

Emerald Passage: Wildflower Fields

Emerald Passage: Mystic Lake

Emerald Passage: Monsoon Jungle

Ruby Passage: The Curious Factory

Ruby Passage: The Toxic Landfill

Ruby Passage: 40 Below Fridge

Ruby Passage: Pinball Zone

Topaz Passage: Toy Block Tower

Topaz Passage: The Big Board

Topaz Passage: Doodle Woods

Topaz Passage: Domino Row

Sapphire Passage: Crescent Moon Village

Sapphire Passage: Arabian Night

Sapphire Passage: Fiery Cavern

Sapphire Passage: Hotel Horror

Golden Passage

Purple Pipe Puzzle Rooms


Passage Themes


Topical Essays

Wario Land – An Evolutionary History

From 8 to 16 bits in a Year and a Half – Wario Land 3 to 4

From Odd to Off-Kilter – The Transition into WarioWare

The Cutting Room Floor – Beta Vs. Final Game

Wario – A Personality Profile

Mario and Wario – A Character Comparison

Loose Ends