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WarioWare: Smooth Moves (Wii) artwork

WarioWare: Smooth Moves (Wii) review

"Another Nintendo console, another WarioWare collection of silly, crazy, zany, madcap, way out, off the wall and wild microgames. This time, Wario and his gang of silly, crazy, zany, madcap, way out, off the wall and wild characters have a new toy to play with: the wii-mote. What does this new-fangled device have in store for us? Are the microgames as charmingly addictive as they were in the four prequels that came before? Does Wario finally wii-n? "

Another Nintendo console, another WarioWare collection of silly, crazy, zany, madcap, way out, off the wall and wild microgames. This time, Wario and his gang of silly, crazy, zany, madcap, way out, off the wall and wild characters have a new toy to play with: the wii-mote. What does this new-fangled device have in store for us? Are the microgames as charmingly addictive as they were in the four prequels that came before? Does Wario finally wii-n?

Wario, you still have a loooong way to go to catch up to the stardom that your bright and bubbly twin basks in. (No, not Luigi; you've already knocked his underpants off more than enough times.)

Like in all WarioWare games, there are over 200 different, reaction-based microgames to discover here in WarioWare: Smooth Moves. Likewise, there's also an uninteresting, goofy backstory that doesn't make the slightest amount of sense. Nothing wrong with that, seeing as this clearly ain't an RPG, but not being able to skip the scenes and get straight into the action, which I'm sure that 100% of EVERYONE would like to do, makes the prologue to each chapter (and hence each batch of microgames) dampen the mood for fun. It doesn't help that all new profiles created have to sit through all of this waiting as well.

But, is it worth the wait?

Initially, no. Each chapter/batch of microgames is themed after the corresponding character's style. Wario will start you off with some basic wii-mote manipulation exercises, Jimmy T will have you grooving to his funky beats, and all-time favourite 9-Volt will see you reliving some fond memories of past Nintendo classics with a Wii twist to things. But just like how you can't skip the introduction segments, you'll also need to endure a monotone announcer telling you how to perform each new action as you come across it. His sleep-inducing voice ruins the otherwise frenetic pacing of continuous microgames thrown at you one immediately after the other. Needless to say, you'll be extremely happy once you've sat through all 19 of the posing tutorials so that you can enjoy unadulterated WarioWare as it is meant to be played.

Without any curt snooze sessions, the microgames start to make their intentions clear. As I said, there are 19 poses or ways with which you hold and use the wii-mote. A brief diagram and title is shown to indicate which one is needed and then the next microgame is right upon you. There's the 'remote control' where you hold the wii-mote as (you guessed it) a remote. Tasks here include waving a smelly stick to ward people of the screen, shaving some excess facial hair from under someone's chin, or shooting targets to take down a big bad monster. This is just the tip of the iceberg as you can imagine. As you get a feel for each pose, more and more complex ones will be added.

Soon you'll have to place your hands on your hips, and do the hula with a donut, or jump about like a chicken. Then you'll be told to place your hands behind your head, where you'll be instructed to slice downwards with a big fork to nab your meat when it's in front of you, or to perform a specific number of those dreaded squats. Once you've completed one activity, there's a few seconds interval to regain your composure and catch your breath before the next pose and unpredictable microgame is thrusted upon you. With sixteen other poses to go -- from holding the wii-mote as an umbrella to shade a rolling sun-bather, or in a samurai sheathed-sword position ready to strike a villain at a moment's notice, and even in front of your nose to use your elephant's trunk to place apples into a basket -- you can be sure that there's plenty of variety to satisfy you for quite some time.

9-Volt and his retro-goodness deserves an entire paragraph. Any fan of WarioWare will always look forward to these microgames with an authentic Nintendo flavour, and Smooth Moves is as good as you know it's going to be. Super Mario needs to collect some coins by jumping and hitting blocks, so you do the exact same thing now with wii-mote held high above your head. Ching-ching! In the land of Animal Crossing a fish needs to be caught for dinner. As soon as it bites onto your lure, fling the wii-mote up high and hold up your catch for the whole world to see. Ahhh! The boss level is even a perfect conversion of the original Star Fox, well just three chunks of it anyway, but with Wii tilt controls! Fan-service ahoy! Best of all, you can re-enact that legendary scene when young Link of Hyrule wrenches the Master Sword out of its ancient pedestal and transforms (somewhat instantly here) into adult Link, the Hero of Time! (Or on subsequent difficulty levels, into elderly Link and then a cucco!) There are lots of classic mock-ups here to bring about lots of warm, fuzzy feelings. Just beautiful.

But alas, the novelty will wear off much sooner than you'd like to think, and even though you have 200+ microgames, getting through the bulk of them all won't take more than a few good hours. Luckily, as always, there are myriad bonus unlockables to tinker with that can be quite entertaining. The buddy race, Bungee Buddies, where one person holds the wii-mote and the another holds the nunchuk, is a lot of fun both for the participants and anyone watching this WarioWare'd rendition of the three-legged race. Two buddies will run vertically up a scrolling track and along the way many pitfalls will need to be jumped across in order to keep going at full speed. What this translates to in real life is two people connected by Wii peripherals jumping around like Mr. and Mrs. cactus-up-your-butt. Seriously good fun.

Other bonus minigames include a 3D Balloon Trip that will drop many old- *ahem* veteran gamers to the floor with how well the virtual-reality nature has been carried out; you shake your wii-mote and nunchuk wielding hands to soar across the skies, dodging floating spikes and stomping upon rival balloon travellers. There's also a relatively slow-paced, precision-based game where you have to catch some Tetris-shaped blocks (and a whole host of other weird shapes) on top of a plank of wood and balance them without any slips until the buzzer rings. It's challenging, makes good use of wii-mote interactivity and there are stacks of levels to play through. The other bonus minigames don't fare as well, generally due to lack of creativity; target practice with cans and darts throwing play as tech-demo-ish as they sound.

The most disappointing unlockable by far is the multiplayer. (Yes, you have to unlock all multiplayer modes!) Apart from the minigames, playing with two or more people involves everyone taking turns; you never play simultaneously. How is this different from taking turns in the solo story mode? Put simply, it's not. They all entail completing a few rounds of a random selection of microgames, with the victor being the person who has amassed the most points (randomly allocated too) over a given number of events or after a premature end when someone drops the ball. All the modes are pretty much a variation on the same thing, and all are much too uninvolving for any sort of party you may be having. Again, you have to take turns in multiplayer? WTF?!

If you didn't enjoy Wario's ridiculous set-up with his wares before, nothing will change here, even with the (as of 2007) innovative, new control scheme. When you see someone curling an imaginary dumbbell, or leaving the wii-mote on the floor only to swipe it up as fast as humanly possible upon the sound of a phone ringing, curiosity will make you want to see what all the fuss is about. The fuss is good, it's mad-cap Wario, and there are plenty of microgames and a decent selection of minigames up his arsenal. But as with all fusses, once the dust settles, once the novelty has dissipated, once you feel like playing a 'proper' game, what's left is just a faint passing memory. But it's a good one.

arkrex's avatar
Community review by arkrex (July 24, 2007)

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