Revealing the nifty stylus tricks behind Wario: Master of Disguise

Eight 'gesture-controlled' outfits to keep everyone guessing

Revealing the nifty stylus tricks behind Wario: Master of Disguise

The role of the anti-hero can be a lonely one. While Mario has plenty of friends, his arch rival ploughs his own furrow, driven by a fanatical desire for cold, hard cash. Still, over time, Wario has become acceptable, if not quite loveable. At least he's never been as bad as Bowser.

His first proper DS game, Wario: Master of Disguise, seems unlikely to recast Wario as an actual good guy, however. After watching a TV series about a master thief who uses disguises for his criminal purposes, Wario breaks the fourth wall, jumping into his plasma screen and taking control of the thief's magical wand. It's his TV show now.

Of course, such a convoluted background only exists to flesh out a basic game mechanic. The magical wand (that is, your DS stylus) provides the in-game disguise options you'll need to master, together with typical 2D platforming skills such as running, jumping and bashing, as you make your way through the various challenges facing Wario as he attempts to steal his way to happiness.

There are eight disguises in total, which will be made available as you make your way through the game's 10 missions.

The default Thief Wario is transformed by drawing a simple tick of your stylus. Cosmic Wario, who jumps as if in low gravity and attacks with lasers, is created by drawing a circle. The fire-breathing Dragon Wario is triggered by two diagonal lines, while Genius Wario can see invisible objects and use mechanical objects. To get him you'll have to draw a lollipop-shape.

Sparky Wario is an electrical discharge: useful for making light or zapping enemies. He's created with a reversed thunderbolt, while the torpedo-firing Captain Wario is conjured up by sketching a half circle. The final two options are Arty Wario, who can create doors and crates and is made with a square, and the Wicked Flying Wario. You can blow him around with the DS microphone, but you'll have to draw a triangle first.

All these disguises should also provide plenty of replayability, as you explore new areas and gain more treasure with different disguise-based powers. Also bringing variation into play are eight random mini-games, which you'll need to beat to open the scattered treasure chests and find the disguises, extra treasure, moves, and special items. The mini-games will become more difficult the further you get in the game.

Of course, each level will end with a boss battle; presumably the master thief Wario stole the disguises from in the first place isn't going to be very pleased, for starters.

Already out in Japan, Wario: Master of Disguise has yet to be given a UK release date. We wouldn't expect it to make an appearance, even in a disguise, until the summer.