I would like to have first tackled Wario Land and Wario Land 2 before this one. But 3 is at the time of writing the only one available on the Game Boy Player on the Switch so that’s all I’ve got.
The game starts the moment you turn it on, and is unskippable. Wario’s plane crashes in the forest, stumbling on a cave he finds a music box, then is suddenly pulled inside the world within. A hidden figure tells Wario that if he collects the music boxes in this world the figure will regain its power and free him, also Wario gets to keep all the treasure he finds, which is what actually interests him.
And so the game starts, you have a world to explore with several levels each with 4 treasures to find. It’s not that easy though (even though Wario is unkillable) Wario only has a base set of abilities to begin with and you only have 1 level at first. As you start playing and grabbing the treasures new levels will open up and some old levels will have new features unlocked. Also, some treasure contains new powers for Wario allowing further exploration.
Fortunately, rather than you just having to go into a level hoping it contains the next treasure to progress the game, if you go to the temple at the start of the game, the hidden figure will tell you what level to go to. This is helpful if you forget the sparkle shown when you get a treasure that unlocks a feature in that level.
Now as I said, Wario is unkillable in this game, but he can still take damage. This turns completing a level as more of a puzzle than a platforming challenge. Some of these puzzles require Wario to get transformed. Some attacks you see will change Wario like turning him into a snowman or a vampire. Some of these are just a nuisance but some of them are required to find more treasure.
The game has bosses, each of them if you mess up will cause a transformation that will throw Wario out of the arena resulting in the fight starting from the beginning again. Yeah, this can get annoying and if you’re on the Game Boy Player you should just use the rewind feature, just saves you the time of trekking back to the boss room.
The game is very much an explorer puzzle game. There are optional rewards as each level has several large coins that when you get all of them on that level it fills part of a picture, getting them on all levels unlocks a mini game. Also, worth noting that not all treasures are needed to complete the game.
Honestly, I find the first two Wario games better than this one and hope they appear on the player soon. But it’s a decent time sink. The game play is decent for a GBC game but by this point the whole Wario can’t be killed feature is a bit boring. It was there for the second game and this just feels like more of that.