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WarioWare: Smooth Moves (Wii) artwork

WarioWare: Smooth Moves (Wii) review


"Some time during the evening it strikes me that - at least when seen through the foam in the bottom of the glass - Smooth Moves is a brilliant game. It is also a brilliant production, in terms of economical and efficient development - the simplistic graphics and the somewhat cheap meting out of new mini-games makes that much obvious. But the game is also directed and paced well quite often, so it is difficult not to complement the developers for making a good motion-based game. Even if they, too..."



Some time during the evening it strikes me that - at least when seen through the foam in the bottom of the glass - Smooth Moves is a brilliant game. It is also a brilliant production, in terms of economical and efficient development - the simplistic graphics and the somewhat cheap meting out of new mini-games makes that much obvious. But the game is also directed and paced well quite often, so it is difficult not to complement the developers for making a good motion-based game. Even if they, too, probably were a bit tipsy during production.

Smooth Moves is a series of imperative-driven mini-games strung together in a number of different animated scenarios. You pick one of these scenarios. Get treated to one of the double layer animation shorts that functions as a repeating wrapper for the mini-games. And then use the wii-mote to complete the sometimes not entirely random mini-games.

My favourite so far is the one where you rotate the wii-mote to roll a gigantic space-worm over a bunch of aliens. (That, and the pencil-sharpener). Not because the graphics are good - they are horrible, and would cross right down into “charming”, if they were drawn by a six-year old. And not because the controls are accurate - they’re not, the rotation and the angles trigger at random, while the infrared pointer drops out very easily. But because it is engaging - beating the mini-game will typically make sure the player will end up rolling around as frantically as the worm on the screen.

The brilliant part is that you don’t actually need to roll all the way around (when playing, the game prompts you to “Roll! Crush!”). You just need to wiggle the controller a bit. But it’s easy to get tricked into having a lot of fun with this game. The time between the end of the mini-game and to the beginning of the next, was measured with a stop-watch to last exactly as long as an average Japanese tv-laughter.

In between every couple of the mini-games the game changes tack, slows down, and introduces you to new starting positions for easily solving the mini-games. This is probably the high point of the game. Most of the positions are fairly intuitive, and mimic the average skill-set of a modern pizza-eating human. Such as “The Remote Control”, or “The Janitor”.

Others are more circumspect, like “The Mohawk”, or “The Diner”. Which would have all been a tremendous waste of time for everyone - if it wasn’t for how all of the positions are initially presented by a detached and despondent news-reader voice; the pointless low-key proceeding explaining to you the philosophical relevance of the “form”. Example:

“The Umbrella:

Hold the form baton vertically,
thumb resting lightly on the button.

Through this stance, you channel
the quiet dignity of a circus clown
in the midst of a thunderstorm”.


It is these things, and the sudden change of pace, that trick you into actually imagining something with the Wii-mote when you play the game.

You then return to the series of mostly pointless mini-games, until you reach the boss-stage (another slightly longer mini-game). And if you succeed, the scenario you’re currently playing will end with another animation sequence, at least as silly as the opening short.

Once you beat the game - which can be difficult if you are enjoying yourself while playing - you can then open up the game for multiplayer. It think this is probably the problem with the game-design. Instead of creating vs. modes for the living room table early on, or perhaps allow you to co-operate to beat the scenarios, and unlock new games - it means you have to spend a long time with the game alone, replaying and replaying the mini-games, until you are sick of them. To make matters worse, the multiplayer-game scenarios are actually pretty good. Such as “lifeline”, where you complete mini-games to earn points - which are translated to number of ropes. You then cut the ropes, one at a time, until the next to last player’s terminally leering Mii-avatar is dumped into a crocodile pit.

But the game itself doesn’t have unlimited replayability. So by the time you unlock the last of the events, the game will not be as hilariously fresh as it was in the beginning. Or maybe even fun. This is the feeling I get after the fifth animation scenario, at least. I would probably not have finished the game, which took me about three hours, if I hadn’t decided to on beforehand.

Smooth Moves is one of the several party-games for children of all ages Intelligent Systems created for Nintendo. It has two strengths, that are also it’s weaknesses - the graphics are simplistic and easy to look at, with animation states that usually do not require long thought before you understand the abstraction. Like many other Wii-games, it alternates between embarrassing and instant canned fun, both parsed into the view-screen with exaggerated emotion - but there will be several genuinely funny moments in the game, shared between the writing, the game-design, and the unwilling comedy by the one holding the Wii-mote.

Rating: 7/10

fleinn's avatar
Community review by fleinn (December 04, 2010)

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