When Wario was first introduced as Mario’s crude nemesis back in 1993, no one knew one of his truest claims to fame would be starring in a series of wacky “microgame” collections. With each successive entry, Warioware continues to prove that wacky and sometimes cheesy minigames can be fun as long as they are executed with style. Warioware Smooth Moves is all about using the Wiimote inventively and opens up a portal to the many applications motion control has to offer.
The basics of Warioware are all here. A 2D world map serves as your hub for selecting different sets of minigames to play. The overall story has to deal with Wario discovering the Form Baton, which looks conspicuously like a Wiimote. As you play through each suite of games, you are treated to short vignettes starring a colorful list of characters as they try to solve everyday problems. These can range from helping a witch perfect a certain potion weapon to trying to force your way to the head of a food line.
Gameplay is almost identical to its predecessors as well, other than the input method of course. There are over a dozen different ways to hold the Wiimote dubbed forms. Before each microgame starts, a short picture exemplifies how to hold the Wiimote, then the prompt details the specific action needed to be performed in order to clear the game. You are first introduced to the standard form, holding the controller like a TV remote. As you progress other forms will be discovered and explained by a humorously soothing disembodied voice. The variety of forms adds a great deal to the experience even just switching between them when things get hectic can bring a smile to your face. Other forms include titling the remote as if it were a staring wheel, holding it flat against your palm like a waiter, or on top of your head like a Mohawk.
The over 200 microgames included are as random and zany as ever. One second you will be grating a cell phone to shreds and the next slapping a crude polygonal rendering of Wario awake. Playing the microgames in sequence, the speed will increase gradually. In addition, you have four lives to reach the extended boss minigame required to clear the set. Bosses range from dancing in sync with onscreen dancers to sword fighting, which feels just as good as you imagined when the Wii’s motion control was first introduced. Some of the microgame sets can be tricky to complete because of how fast everything is thrown at you but the general difficult is maintained at a reasonable level for both veterans and newcomers.
Another great component of Warioware still intact in Smooth Moves is the games that throwback to classic Nintendo titles. These are featured in 9 Volts attempt to buy back a game system he broke belonging to his friend. There are more Gamecube games here with objectives like gliding Link to a safe place with the Deku Leaf, using Samus as a Morph Ball to knock over some barrels, or fishing in Animal Crossing. Older games are included as well such as Punch-out, Ocarina of Time, and Super Mario Bros. The goal is to bring forth a feeling of nostalgia while playing in a uniquely modern way and it works. Miis are likewise put into great use, popping up every so often to bring a more personal feel to the gameplay.
Though they are arguably the best part of the game, there are some faults when it comes to the controls. Some games require you to perform the intended action while pointing directly at the motion sensor. This seems like it would be a non-issue but you are frequently flailing your arms all over the place making it hard to keep the remote focused. Some forms don’t work as well as others and you will often yield better results holding the controller differently. Yes, you could physically hold the remote against your hip and pretend to hula hoop, but it is hard to justify when shaking the remote in your hand works just as well.
Multiplayer for up to twelve players turns this into a truly enjoyable party game. All four of the multiplayer modes use only one controller and require you to pass-and-play. These modes will serve up the microgames in a variety of ways like turning the remote into a bomb that will explode once a game is failed. As fun as playing with others can be, it would have been nice to see a few games designed specifically for multiplayer.
Speaking in terms of pure graphical merit, Warioware’s visuals are crude and sometimes outdated. Of course this is all done in the most purposeful and tasteful way possible. All the Gamecube throwbacks look detailed as do all other retro themed microgames. The 2D used for cut scenes and animation are drawn sharp. You will be more than pleased with this game’s look. The soundtrack is nothing short of greatness. The chaotic melodies all mash together to create something you cannot help but hum in your head long after you turn off the Wii.
The good times don’t last very long though. The story mode can be beaten in almost one sitting. The end of the story isn’t the end of the game though because you won’t have seen all the microgames offered and even the credits here are playable. A suite of microgames using the Wiimote with the Nunchuk attachment is available but doesn’t really compare in quality with the rest of the game. You can go back and play through the levels again this time only to see how long you will survive. Several extended minigames also pop up such as shooting at cans or bouncing a ping pong ball up a seemingly endless tower. Still, you are likely to tire of playing the same games over and over unless you have plenty of friends to keep the multiplayer interesting.
Warioware Smooth Moves isn’t exactly a must own, but every Wii owner should at least play it in order to glimpse at all the imaginative applications the Wiimote still has in store. Fans of the series or party games in general should fall in love the second they insert the disc. There are a few kinks as far as control is concerned and you would think a hefty fellow like Wario would have a bit more game to pass around. Nevertheless, there are good times to be had, laughs to be shared, and noses to be picked.