WarioWare: Smooth Moves
The Nintendo family certainly has its fair share of characters. Among this group of oddities you’ll find a plumber, two Princesses, some kind of turtle/reptile hybrid, and a sword-wielding elf to name but a few. But within this dysfunctional household of peculiar family members, somewhere in the corner of the Nintendo mansion we have Wario; the neglected child who is often forgotten in favour of the above characters, and while Mario has conquered the big screen Wario has sought success elsewhere on the small screen. Yet it comes as no surprise that Wario has taken his bag of mini-game adventures onto the Nintendo Wii where theoretically, the unique controls of the system and the quirky pick up and play style of the series should get along like a house on fire.
One appeal of the Nintendo Wii is its ability to make all who play it look like complete fools yet still have a fun time doing so. WarioWare: Smooth Moves continues this trend and it’s primarily down to the various positions you’ll be asked to make that gives this game such character. It ranges from holding the Wii remote in the standard manner to lifting it in front of your nose akin to an elephant and the mini-games (or more appropriately micro-games considering they’re over before you have time to blink) are even more diverse in their incongruity. These games last roughly 5 seconds each and you’ll be going through them at a nice steady pace to begin with but as you progress further into the level the pace quickens and it soon becomes quite a tense affair as you desperately try and decipher what some of the games want you to do as some can be extremely vague in their description. Failing too many times results in restarting but it won’t bother you because they’re a blast to play through and you will want to try them again. If only because they are so short.
But before you get to push, pull and slash your way through these mini-games you’ll be faced with a short movie sequence that gives the player their reason for completing a particular level but in actuality there really isn’t a reason that can justify picking a banana out of a gentleman’s nose, for example and these cut scenes are merely there there for their comic value. And this wouldn’t be an issue if these cut scenes could be skipped, which is a pointless oversight on the developers part as you will find it hard to care that an American Football player can’t pluck up the courage to talk to his dearly beloved or that an old man refuses to wait in line for some food.
You’ll also experience a blast from the past with some familiar games making an on screen appearance as part of the 9 Volt levels. Some of the most infamous moments found in Nintendo games are given the Wii Remote treatment as you pull out the master sword in Ocarina of Time, catch a fish by the river in Animal Crossing with a flick of the wrist, literally jumping upwards to hit the ‘?’ boxes in Super Mario Bros and most memorably of all, completing a short level of the SNES classic Star Fox. This is a stand out moment in the game and a nostalgic inclusion that will very much please die hard Nintendo fans.
WarioWare: Smooth Moves isn’t the most technically advanced game you’ll come across either. Nonetheless Nintendo has done a decent job with what they’ve got and the art style just like the rest of the game is delightfully upbeat. The crisp outlines of the characters and environments give the game a very clean and cartoon look. The colours are vibrant throughout, which is complemented nicely by the eclectic soundtrack. The songs are up-tempo quickening in pace as the action on screen does too and the funky bass rhythms along with some very catchy melodies will have you singing and nodding your head to the beat. The visuals and sound are characteristic of the game as a whole, they’re never overdone and to denounce WarioWare for its shortcomings in these departments would be to miss the point entirely.
Once the story mode is completed (which shouldn’t take more than a few hours) you’ll want to try out the multiplayer. This is where Smooth Moves shines and it’s probably what the game was destined for. To be brought out at casual social events and enjoyed with a group of friends prepared to slap their backsides repeatedly for the cause, all in the name of entertainment. You don’t even need more than one Wii Remote to enjoy multiplayer as each player takes turns completing a mini game passing the controller along as they try to best each others high score.
Ultimately, when the dust has settled and more titles begin taking advantage of the Wii’s strengths and the console starts to find its feet WarioWare will long be forgotten. It’s a game that instantly endears itself to all who strap on the Wii Remote providing fun in short bursts and while the games main character is on the slightly chunky side, WarioWare: Smooth Moves regrettably doesn’t carry as much weight.
Six out of ten