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Wario's Woods is a kind of falling objects puzzle game, similar to Dr. Mario and Xixit, and more distantly related to Tetris. It was released in 1994, and was the very last game pak released for the Nintendo Entertainment System. (Enthusiasts have later reverse-engineered the NES and created original ROM images for it, but I digress.)

Basically, the falling objects are monsters, which you have to destroy, and bombs which you destroy them with. So far it's very standard, boring puzzle game stuff. But there is a very major and important twist here, which could easily spin off an entire sub- genre (which it, surprisingly, hasn't). In Wario's Woods, you don't control the falling objects, instead you control a little guy that walks around inside the playing field among the fallen objects. He can pick up entire stacks of objects and put them down somewhere else, he can kick them along flat ground, he can push himself up through a column of objects, and there are probably many more special moves that I haven't discovered yet. You don't lose when the playing field fills up, but if you get shut in with nowhere to move. This innovative crossover with platform games, together with the "recursiveness"1 common to all Dr. Mario workalikes, makes for a very complex and fast-paced gameplay.

The backstory is admittedly rather thin, but at least there is one, in contrast to most falling objects puzzle games. Toad (the guy that always told you the princess was in another castle, and also the character with a mushroom head that you could choose as your PC in Super Mario Brothers 2) is on a hiking trip in a forest which unfortunately turns out to be Wario's Wood. Wario is not a very nice guy (he used to bully Mario in his childhood), so he captures Toad. To escape, Toad has to fight his way through all the trees in the forest, by walking around in their trunks and destroy the aforementioned monsters with the bombs that are dropped at him.


1 Meaning that destroying objects makes the objects on top of them fall down, thus possibly destroying other objects, which in turn make other objects fall down, to create large chain reactions. Classic Tetris, in contrast, only keeps track of empty and filled tiles in the playing field, thus apparently leaving pieces to "hover" over holes.

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